Monday, April 26, 2010

Try Triptych

No that is not what you ate at your older sister’s wedding.  The concept of triptych (pronounced "tree- eep-tick”) may have been originated by Greek speaking artists during the medieval period.  The artists used the triptych as a writing tablet.  Very likely, it has three panels in which the middle panel is flanked by two folding outer panels.  Kind of like your grandmother’s purse. 

Art triptychs have been around.  They can be found in the early Christian churches.  Modern artists Max Beckmann and Francis Bacon have used triptychs in their artworks.  Photographer Annie Leibovitz has used it to portray her father’s death.  But why did these artists depict their artwork in triptychs.  Let me offer a theory.  I think they wanted to be efficient.  Triptychs offer three images in a single viewing.  Dramatic images are shown like a comic book.  Although each image may tell a separate story, the combination of the images allows the artist to unify and clarify the intended message in the triptypch.

You may ask, “why should I present my lomos in triptych?”  For one thing, it looks cool.  Secondly, if you scan your own negatives, you get to scan them faster and more efficiently.  And thirdly, it can provide a story that you never intended.  How cool can that be?

Article appeared on Tipster of

Monday, April 12, 2010

Juznobsrvr Interviews Juznobsrvr: It calls me on and on...

... across the universe

Juznobsrvr the Interviewer (JI): I see that you’ve been using the Pinhole Blender Mini 35mm. What inspired you to try it?
Juznobsrvr the Lomographer (JL): Thanks to Ky lewis. After seeing her pinhole images here using the mini blender, I was inspired to try it. I’ve been looking to buy the blender but wasn’t sure what the results would be. Ky’s images were what made me buy it, which is available in the Lomography store. Also, it was one of the cheapest I could find.
JI: Is it hard to use?
JL: On my firs roll, I only produced about a handful of images. The rest of the film was unexposed because I wasn’t winding the blender correctly. It took a while for me to figure how far to wind the film. Initially, I was loosening the roll too much that there was a slack of film that never got exposed. When done correctly, the blender does what a blender is supposed to do – it fuses or blends several images. The direction suggests a quarter turn. I was also able to produce unblended images by advancing the film to about half to three quarters turn.
JI: What about exposing the film?
JL: The direction comes with an exposure guide and a look-up table. At first I was diligently following the recommended exposure time but I was getting a lot of overexposed images. Maybe my light meter was not calibrated.
JI: What kind of light meter did you use?
JL: I just used my old point and shoot camera that has a built-in light meter. I set it with the same ISO as the film in my pinhole. Then I matched the aperture and speed readings from the camera with the ones on the look-up table. Later on, I dump the table and merely guesstimated my exposures. My rule of thumb for a ISO 400 is 5-10 seconds for lighted indoors and 1-2 seconds for outdoors.
JI: Do you have a film preference?
JL: Some people suggest using a slower film. I played around with an ISO 200 with disappointing results. Because the blender’s aperture (f/200) is smaller than other pinhole cameras (f/135 for Holga WPC), I think faster films work better. One just have to experiment.
JI: The blender is small enough to be unnoticed. Have you tried using it as a spy camera?
JL: (Laughs) I have taken it to restaurants, and placed it on table to shoot pictures of people.
JI: Has a waiter moved the blender while your taking a picture?
JL: No, not yet. But to be sure he won’t be getting any tips if he did.
JI: Speaking of tips, do you have any tips in using the blender?
JL: The blender uses a 35mm roll of film. It comes with a receiving cartridge, which can be taken apart to introduce the film leader from your fresh roll. If you lose it, you can always use any empty 35mm cartridge. One can just tape the remaining exposed film from the empty cartridge to the film leader of your fresh roll. In fact, any spool without the cartridge can also be used but there is a high risk of light leaking on the already exposed film. I prefer to use the receiving cartridge that came with the blender.
JI: What do you think is the most common mistake people make while using the blender?
JL: Putting the film backwards. We’re used to seeing the darker side of the film whenever we load it on a regular camera. The lighter side of the film should face the pinhole.
JI: What hack have you done with the blender?
JL: Not much really. I prefer to tape the cap on the blender to prevent accidental opening. Also, the blender comes with two popsicle sticks for advancing and rewinding the film. Really lo-tech. After a couple of rolls, my sticks snapped. One way to prevent this is to loosen the fresh roll before advancing the receiving cartridge. I now use the lever of a small cheap nail clipper to wind the film. The size of this lever is ideal for the mini blender. Now I could also cut my nails while taking a picture.
JI: Anything else I should know?
JL: Yea, I just took your picture.
image appeared in Flicker and DA
see also across the universe album in

Sunday, April 11, 2010

shes's leaving home

my early attempt with the holga... i just luv this camera... i always go back to it...

Monday, April 05, 2010

My Mother the Car

Taken with Kodak Jiffy... film 620 roll 125px
Thanks to Phyllis, for giving me this vintage camera...

see album for more images

A good friend of mine gave this camera to me. She originally bought it from an antique shop with the intent of displaying it along with her other vintage cameras. Fortunately for me, that intention never materialized as all the cameras ended in the hands of yours truly. I’ve taken special interest on this camera because of the age. Based on my research, some sources confirmed that this model was from 1933 to 1937. I think that’s pretty old even for your grandpa.
Basically, the Jiffy is a folding camera. In the shooting position, the camera folds out its bellows. The camera I’ve acquired is in good condition. I tested the bellows for light leaks by firing my flash inside the body of the camera. Done inside a relatively dark bathroom, I was pleasantly surprised to find no light leaking out from the bellows. Fold the camera back and it could easily fit on one’s coat pocket. The engineers from Kodak probably designed this as a travel camera.
Unlike most folders, there is no protective covering for the lens. The lens has only two position markers, mainly 5 to 10 feet and beyond 10 feet. Anything in between, one must guesstimate to focus. Lomographers who have been shooting with Holgas or Dianas would be at home operating the Jiffy.
The Jiffy is equipped with two viewfinders, one for taking horizontal shots and the other for vertical shots. On my camera, the viewfinders were badly scratched that I could only see a silhouette at best. They were still useful for composing a shot.
The camera uses a 620 roll film. For practical purpose, the manufacturing of this film has been discontinued. However, one can still get them through mail-order. Basically, these are re-spooled 120 roll that are sold to work as a 620 roll. Some information in the internet provides useful instruction on how to re-spool the 120 roll.
Shooting with this camera is a delight. One gets a bit wider or taller with the resulting images sized at 6 x 9. The sharpness of the positive images depends on how one set the focus. I was pleasantly surprised with the results from this camera. For a 70-year old camera, this Jiffy still delivers. When used with today’s films, it is like your grandpa running on steroids.

alone (reprise)

It’s about being alone or more accurately the emotion associated with being alone, which is common to all of us. The original image was not like that. I changed it to black and white and darkened the background to give an impression of despair and despondency. I gave her a conscience and an emotion. She is well aware of herself and her predicament. She is helpless, and all she can do is hope. Yes, even amidst the pain and loneliness of being alone, she hopes. Just like many of us, we at times feel so alone, and yet somewhere somehow we tell ourselves that there is always hope. This is the paradox of humanity. Our existence may seem meaningless, but by nature… because of our mannishness we find comfort in hoping.