Monday, January 25, 2010

MWLFA Portfolio Review

The Midwest Large Format Asylum held the annual portfolio review this weekend. The third year it has been put on, it is the first time I took some of my work to show. Rather than go for the whole weekend, which in retrospect I should have done, I just attended Saturday. While it was relatively close, it was still almost a two hour drive. It made for a long day.

Eighteen photographers presented work, a lot of it made on the monthly outings of the group. Very little of it was repititious though. Primarily the prints were silver gelatin, made in a darkroom. A few of us showed inkjet prints, and a few prints were in alternative processes. What color prints that were shown were made on an inkjet printer. Mostly the prints were black and white.

Of course people brought cameras. Some of the folks came to the area on Friday and spent the afternoon photographing the Indiana Dunes beach. There were also plans to go to the abandoned church in Gary on Sunday morning. Evan brought his new Chamonix 11x14 camera, he had just received it and hadn't even shot any film in it yet. I've heard good things about this brand, but this was the first time I've seen one. The camera is made of carbon fiber and walnut. It looks very nice and is a lot lighter than I would have thought. While it is a little pricy, it is cheaper than other new cameras that size and not out of line considering what a medium to high end digital SLR costs.

A couple of the photographers shoot panoramic formats. The camera on the right is a 7x17 format. The person who brought it uses it to photograph landscapes and architecture. He mentioned that it takes him an hour to set up his camera and to take the first photograph. He set it up a lot quicker than that at the review though. That is the 11x14 camera on the left.

This group has a more artistic eye than other camera clubs I belong to. The photographs were all of a high quality and it would be interesting to see a display of the members works hung side by side. Overall it was a great day, with lots of interesting talk about cameras and how photos are taken. The only down side was a somewhat upturned nose at digital printing. Everyone who displayed prints made on a inkjet was asked if they had ever done darkroom work and why they used an inkjet. While I like darkroom work and hope to start doing some, I think inkjet prints can compete against silver prints. They can have a different look, but that is not all bad.

Some of the other members do alternative processes. There were a few platinum prints and a couple carbon prints. This was the first time I had seen a carbon print identified as such. I did like the deep blacks and the overall look of the print, I may have to look into that process a little bit.

A good day looking at photographs, and I'm looking forward to next year.

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