Archive for photography

Photographs by Jim Hair : The 1970’s

Posted in Books and Publications with tags , , , , , , , , on 2017/12/05 by jimhairphotos

Hippies to Hells Angels, San Diego to Santa Cruz; the photographs in this modest book were made primarily with a Canon F1 or Rolleiflex camera, on Ilford HP4 and FP4 film.  60 pages, paper bound, black and white.  10 copies available. $20 each, free shipping within the USA.

Photographs by Jim Hair : The 1970’s

6x6 60 page, paper bound book of photographs made by Jim Hair in the 1970's

$20.00

 

 

 

Film or Digital?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on 2013/02/23 by jimhairphotos

It is a strange thing to live through changes that affect the way everything works.  When I was ten I believe my grandmother guided me to becoming a photographer, after the death of her favorite brother Jack.  He had been a photographer since high school and went on to become the Asian Bureau Chief for Life magazine in World War Two.  I was taken to the Naval Training Center Hobby Shop evenings and weekends, where I learned how to process film and make prints while my grandmother painted cast ceramic frogs that would end up in my grandfather’s garden, peering up from the dichondra that surrounded the goldfish pond.  My grandfather had created a fountain out of black painted cinder blocks that had a cement cast Thai Buddha sitting on top.  I never had the chance to ask my grandfather, a Pearl Harbor survivor and officer aboard the USS Enterprise throughout the war, why he had created a Japanese style garden in his backyard after the war, complete with koi, the Buddha, and a Torii Gate?

Generally we pass through life without asking questions about what we experience as it seems natural and just the way things are.  Photography is different.

 

Forty years I made photographs with a series of cameras and film, and the only question was color or black and white, or 35mm or large format?  It seemed like I shared this with generations with relatively few variations, until the end of the 1980’s and computers became a tool we used to change the way we did things.  Gradually film has been displaced by digital to the point where I am now wondering how much longer it will be possible to continue making photographs as I have for decades, or will I also have to accede to a new limit with the loss of even the possibility of using film?

 

Does it matter?  I have recently received a package containing twenty rolls of processed film from Blue Moon Camera and Machine in Portland, Oregon.  A decade ago, if I photographed an event in San Francisco I might have shot twenty rolls in a single day, but now these twenty represent the film I have used in the last six months, everything else having been documented digitally.  The act of making a photograph has changed as people used to have the patience to stand still while I adjusted focus and f-stop; now the meeting of a stranger, the exchange of a few words of introduction and granting permission, then making a photograph, are over in seconds.  Maybe there was the illusion of making a connection with someone in the past, of sharing a story and hearing about someone else’s life, if even for only a few minutes; now the limited exchange allows only for the sharing of superficial details.  It is now easier to make thousands of photographs in the time it took to make a few dozen just a few years ago, are the images we make now as significant as when our collecting was constrained?

 

If we are making superficial images of what we see and experience, what have we sacrificed in a deeper understanding of our world and the people we meet?  As the technology has improved, is there any difference in the quality of a film and a digital image?Image

Making Photographs

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 2012/03/02 by jimhairphotos

The introduction of a new image capturing device has again initiated discussion on what photography is? The thoughts below are in response to a story broadcast on NPR on March 1, 2012 reporting on the new image capturing device “Lytro” that creates digital photographic images that can be selectively focused after they have been captured. In the story the question was raised about how this would change the process of photography.

Conflict always creates interest, so positioning a new invention as the potential end to photography as we know it gets some attention, and inspired me to review some of what I know and enjoy about being a photographer this morning over a cup of coffee.

Just as the creation of paintings have evolved over time, so has the way we create a two dimensional representation of our world that we refer to as a photograph. The Impressionists are no less painters for their choice of method than the Fauves or Cubists or Realists. Leonardo and Picasso chose two very different ways to depict a woman in a portrait, but they are still artists and primarily painters as they create the illusion of a person by pushing pigments into a particular configuration on a two dimensional surface. Mary Cassatt and Georgia O’Keefe
chose different subjects, methods and materials, but they are still painters.

Choice has always been the primary variable in how an artist communicates a vision to the world, and it was the same for an Australian Aborgine who sought to describe the Dreamtime in pigments as the people who drew the bison on the caves at Lascaux. It is just the same for photographers and the way they choose their tools and communicate their view of reality. The image they create are photographs whether they use a large format film camera and create a dramatic portrait in light as Karsh has, or in multiple linked images as those of Chuck Close. The arrangement of a view of people in a photograph has ranged from the multiple layers created in printing in the 1850’s by Oscar Reijlander, to the “decisive moment” of Cartier-Bresson and Robert Capa from the 1930’s to 1960’s. A layering or collage of images has been used by photographers from the beginning, and the complex darkroom technique of Jerry Uelsmann has in recent decades been made possible for anyone by the popular use of Photoshop software in a digital darkroom. Post-processing of images is a term that is now used for dodging and burning and the effects that were once darkroom related, to the manipulations and enhancement of images by computer. Unique effects of film processing and darkroom technique that required alternate film development chemicals to create “cross-processing” is now accomplished by effects within the layers of an image by adjusting digital sliders for hue and saturation and tonality.

The creation of photographs is primarily a way for individuals to extend our vision of reality by manipulations of time and space. The introduction of the “Lytro” continues the ability of creators of photographs to choose another way to view the world; a new tool for expressing what they have seen that is worth documenting.