By the time you read this I will be stuffed in an SUV in need of a strong cup of coffee with three wired children and a husband determined to reach our destination in record time. Yes, it is time for the annual family vacation up north, which means there will be no post next week but this week, I leave you with a hodge-podge of information to ponder.
If you haven’t discovered the Indonesian on-line magazine Crazy Toy Camera you should check out their latest issue. Put together by some Indonesian toy camera lovers, this bi-monthly features great articles and photos from not only South East Asia, but around the world. The current Issue #8 features my thoughts on light leaks as well as a really nice article of Andrew Kua, my internet buddy from fuzzyeyeballs.com. Even cooler than his interview is the comprehensive shot of his toy camera collection—impressive! Klastic, the Indonesian Toy Camera Resources Group of which Crazy Toy Camera is a part of, ran a really nice interview of me a few weeks ago. I love groups like Klastic that reach out across the oceans. It really makes the world feel a little cozier and nicer.
I couldn’t take it. The hype and the glossy pictures were too much. I finally broke down and got myself a La Sardina Marathon last week and it’s gorgeous!
I’m just finishing the first roll and will be bringing a few more with me on vacation. I’m hoping to publish a proper review of this little beauty in the next few weeks. I really like the weight and feel of it….not too cheap or flimsy….and LOVE that it has a bulb setting and the ability to create multiple exposures without rewinding the film. The proof will be in the pictures.
Finally, I had to share a couple of bizarre sign photos with you. I was in the pet supply store yesterday when I rounded the corner on what must have been the animal-parts-turned-chew-toy aisle. This is what I saw…
WTF? Does that mean you can bend your knee alllll the way around and complete a 360?
What makes these knuckles so special that they get their own proper name and jewelry?
The whole thing is really kind of gross—dead animal bits as dog toys—but I suppose it’s eco-friendly and better than one more plastic squeaky toy clogging up the environment.
See you in two weeks!
Katie King is a very busy woman. Not only does she run a successful photography business called A Sense of Place with her husband, she’s also a very active member in the Female Photographers of Etsy (fOE) community AND decided to start-up a magazine this year. And all this activity takes place on a little tropical island in the middle of the ocean.
I met Katie through the very active and creative fPOE group. Her idea for a magazine featuring works from the fPOE ladies was tossed out in December 2010 and by April 2011, the first issue of Method Press hit the stands (so to speak) and was offered for sale on magcloud.com. The theme of that issue was “A Blank Stare” and it featured a collection of photos related to the theme as well as interviews with some unconventional artists, poetry and essays. Instead of just a photography magazine, Katie and her fabulous team have put together a very well-rounded lo-fi centered publication.
The ladies are hard at work on issue two, but Katie was generous enough with her time to answer a few questions for me:
For those unfamiliar with Method Press, explain a little about the magazine
Method Press is an art filled idea-magazine celebrating low-fi thinkers. It was made by me and some very rad fPOE ladies last spring.
Just got my first issue of Method Press in the mail and I must say bravo! Very well done from the layout to the artwork to the choice of paper. My impression is that it’s not only a visual arts magazine but also a literary one. Was that the original intent?
Grazie! Yes it was. I wanted it to be a literary journal / idea book hybrid, but more accessible than an academic publication. I had such a great pool of talent to pull from with the fPOE individuals willing to help that it seemed both obvious & resourceful to include a visual arts emphasis.
You’re a very busy woman, no doubt and creating a magazine is a time-consuming and ambitious endeavor. What inspired you to create a magazine in this day and age when book and periodical sales are slumping?
I don’t know-I’m insane. I just get these ideas and run with them. In 2009 it was to self publish a poetry book, in 2010 it was to create a one woman show. This year it was to start a magazine.
I LOVE that I can get a physical copy of the magazine in my hands. There’s nothing like flipping through the pages, smelling the paper and (as your first magazine suggests) creating new things from its pages. Was it always the intent to offer it for print? It seems to go along with the lo-fi way of thinking.
Yes that was the original intent. I’ve always liked feeling things in print. Its easier on the eye. I also enjoy making notes-circling underlining, making shapes as I read along. It makes me feel more connected to the material.
How do you see Method Press riding the current wave of nostalgia for things analogue into the future, when retro may not be so cool?
I’m not too into nostalgia, myself. It gets sticky. I’m not sure how MP will do in the future or how it will be received because we’re just getting started, but we’re into talking about what kind of art is being made right now. What I mean to say is that Method Press isn’t aiming to ride any waves at the moment that I’m conscious of. We just want to creatively present the methods of how people work, what makes them tick, and what helps them do what they do.
Now, let’s learn about you. How did you get started in photography?
I’ve tried answering this question 4 times so far and nothing feels right. The most decent answer I can give you is “I don’t remember.” Somewhere a long the line my sister told me I had a talent.
I was a little put off, actually. I had been studying theater & music my whole life but people just kept talking about what good photos I took when I hadn’t studied a single thing about it.
Since Method Press is about lo-fidelity thinking, I’m curious, do you like to use lo-fi/analogue cameras? If so, which ones? If not, what’s in your camera bag?
Not as much as I used to. I have a Minolta SR-T303, a Polaroid Land Camera, several other Polaroids & a Diana but I use my Canon Rebel T1i most often (thanks, Kickstarter backers!)
Could you share with us a few of your favorite photos and give us a little info about each one?
Usually I love other people’s photos more than mine but, since you asked…
These photographs were both taken as a part of a film swap in 2010. There is something about that first one that just gets me. Who knew sheep could embody such purpose. The second one has a theatrically powerful quality. Most people think it’s a horse; it’s a donkey.
This one just cracks me up. It was all his idea.
Now for some delightfully unconventional questions….
1. What do you use as a camera bag and what do you absolutely have to have inside it (besides film and a camera)?
I’m lucky if I can find the camera on time. I’ve never really had a fully functioning camera bag.
2. You’ve suddenly been declared King of the World…what are the first three things you would do?
Call my mom, tweet about it, then call my psychologist
3. Not only are you King of the World but you’ve suddenly acquired a time machine. Where would you go and what would you do?
I’d charge admission but not use it for myself. I think now is important.
4. The ubiquitous desert island question with a twist…what kind of an island would you like to be deserted on and which five things must you have with you?
A cold one. A windy island with snow-capped peaks.
1. excedrin migraine
2. a ballpoint pen
3. a blank notebook
4. a really comfy blanket. Maybe electric.
5. Look around and give us the title of the book that’s closest to your hands
How to trust God even when life hurts.
6. Name four people, living or dead, that you’d like to hang by the grill, BBQ and drink beer with
Gosh. Someone that could cook really well because I sure can’t cook but I love to eat. I love kabobs. Maybe a famous kabob chef. But then I would feel so awkward. Just me and this random chef, you know? Add Casey Abrams. Yeah. Plus Meatwad. And….Jesus. Totally.
Now for some ‘this or that’ questions…
Color or black and white
Yikes…that’s really tough. Elvis.
Broccoli or Brussel Sprouts
Liquor. Although I’m not much of a drinker.
See ya later
“A Funny Story” is the theme for the magazine’s next issue and the crew is still accepting submissions so all you lo-fi writers, photographers and artists, pop on over to the Method Press
blog and get all the details.
Here’s a list of links where you can find information on the magazine…..
I was never much for flash even before I started playing with toy cameras.
I think there is a time and place for flash and supplemental lighting, really I do. I have seen some marvelous pictures done with some crazy lighting set- ups. Just this month in Popular Photography there is an article about how to take pictures of very dark/black objects. Their phenomenal picture was of a black and chrome motorcycle against a black background. A TON of work went into a seemingly simple picture. Their biggest tip was to light the dark object with a source that is at least as big as the subject, in the case of the motorcycle a box light that was a bit longer than the bike mounted above the subject with some soft side lighting. It’s a great shot and really emphasizes the chrome and shiny aspects of the subject rather than illuminating the entire bike, a concept that is very interesting and that I can dig. But, DAMN! There is no way I could pull that off! My ‘studio light kit’ includes 4 clip on lights with the silver cones that I purchased from Home Depot about 5 years ago. I got them when a friend asked me to shoot her wedding pictures and (thank GOD) didn’t end up using them. Instead I found it physically easier to use the ambient light. At the time I was shooting with my Nikon D60 on color and black & white film and had it set to fully automatic mode. I love the shots that I got and so did my friend. I really think natural light gives a glow to your subjects that can be attained using flash, but not without a LOT of prep time and accoutrements.
Since shooting with lo-fi instruments my light meter has become my best friend. It is an absolute essential for lo-fi stuff and once again, I can thank my friend Harry for that recommendation. When I first got it I took it with me everywhere to see if I could guess the correct exposure time in a given situation. I was sooooo off in the beginning and way underestimated exposure times but my little game proved quite useful and I’m starting to feel confident shooting without my light meter, but only some of the time.
One thing about crappy cams is that most of them love bright sunlight and film with iso of 100-400. That means no good indoor shots can be had unless you can control the shutter speed, at least in a rudimentary fashion. My Holga is a great example. When I want to use it in low light situations I bust out the light meter, set the camera to it’s bulb setting and try to hold open the shutter for the appropriate time. I’d rather have a little too much light coming in than not enough so I tend to err on the side of a longer exposure. This has proved very useful. I’ve had my greatest success with my Fed 2, which being a lomographic camera actually has f 2.8 to 22 and shutter speeds from 1/500th to bulb setting (almost too much control for someone used to controlling only the speed of the film she puts in the camera)! Between the light meter and the knowledge I’ve gleaned playing my little guess-the-exposure-time game I’m starting to get the hang of things. It is truly more of an art than a science, something that can’t be said about the flash. Once you set up all those light sources you know exactly what you’re going to get and it’s usually something fantastic. For me, ambient light is part of the charm and joy of shooting lo-fi. I can use the light meter all I want and think I’m exposing the film enough, but if my plastic lens bends the light the wrong way or I aim the camera too close to the sun or the film is expired and can’t stand bright light….well, you get the picture (hee-hee, pun intended). I love the unpredictability of it all and the naturalness that I get without flash. Another bonus? No red eyes!