Travis #394, 2010

Today’s portfolio choice is of Travis standing in the window, completely exposed. This is the natural spring morning light. My studio is designed in such a way that there is no direct light in to my shooting room, but I have built in a bank of windows to the east that are slightly shaded by the trees. During the spring before the leafs fill the trees I have a couple of weeks of the most beautiful light that fills the studio for about an hour or so each morning. I take full advantage of this sort of opportunity and call in everyone I can to explore the range of body, form and light with a different subject. When I first began photography all I had was natural light because I could not afford any kind of lighting equipment. I really learned to work with it and pay attention to the shift in color throughout the day. But having worked in theater for so many years I was always drawn to how I could control and refine the light; so using an artificial source allowed me to effect how I wanted it to look. But to me this was perfection to see the natural light and be able to work with it and still maintain my artistic vision.

I began printing the portfolio the past couple of days and have forgotten how complicated the printing process has become. I did most of the black and whites yesterday and they are much easier because you are only dealing with the curve of the tone and it’s easy to place them where you want, but color is a whole other matter. You are dealing with the curves of the tone now on many different levels because each one is affected by a different layer of color. I have all my equipment color calibrated to get close to what I see on the screen in the printing process. But a print is a completely different medium than the screen. It is viewed in two completely separate ways. One has to be translated to the other. With paper you are dealing with the reflectance of light off the surface of the medium, where as on the monitor you are looking through the light. I know this may sound silly, but it really takes a lot of tweaking to make the transfer possible. There is no specific setting that you can just set it to and it will automatically print; each print must be adjusted individually. I did not shoot all my images the same, therefore I cannot expect them to all print the same. So it really begins with a test print and then gets tweaked through a series of printings that eventually get me to the final point of satisfaction.

Printing in the darkroom was much the same, but seeming longer; upward of 20 minutes per print. I am using a very fine paper that runs about $1.50 sheet, and often times it take about 3 to 4 prints to get me in the range, so you can very quickly eat up a lot of expense on images that will merely get tossed away before I even get to the final artist proofs, much less the final prints. So the blog is late today because I am absorbed in this arduous task of creating final prints for the portfolio. I actually love this part of the process, as much as I become absorbed in it and forget to take breaks. When you are doing a large series, like I am for this portfolio, it really begins to break you down after a couple of hours and I really just need to step away and take a break. Now you all see my obsessive nature coming to light.

Today’s image is dedicated to my dear friend Greg Lane. He is a neighbor and has been a buddy for a very long time now. He used to come and help me on various photo shoots and has many of my images hanging around his house. Thanks for your constant support and your contribution to this project.