Slow Photography at the Aegean Center
20, November 2012 § 1 Comment
Sunday’s large format class. In Lisa Nam’s photo above, Emily Eberhart is adjusting to f 22 on our sweet and plumbed 1958 Deardorff with Piera Bochner assisting; soon to be loaded with Ilford FP4 for a carefully pre-visualized and crafted Zone Exposure.
The students very quickly grasp the concept that working with a view camera is indeed slow photography and very much a practice of meditation compared to the click-whirr hand-held reality, especially when using a tripod mounted 8 x 10.
The Aegean Center continues to value and teach the gelatin silver process. Of course part of an in-depth understanding of silver based film photography is knowledge of its history, process, tools and equipment. I believe the experience with Slow Photography is enormously important and crucial to teaching the craft, more so now than ever in this digital age of 32+ gig memory cards and hyper-active digital capture.
I am not intending this to be a negative assessment of digital photography, (those of you who are familiar with the Aegean Center know we have an excellent digital course and state-of the-art digital lab) . I do, however, want to make the point that experience with Slow Photography is important to the true understanding of the aesthetics of photography in general.
A snap by, Anvitha Pillai, of John adjusting for the challenging backlit portrait of our faithful and smiling Hygou as John chants, “Place and fall…Place and fall…!”
The Craft of Fine Digital Photography
15, July 2010 § 4 Comments
I attended the The Craft of Fine Digital Photography, a two week seminar in June led by John Pack, the digital photography professor and director of the Aegean Center. As I have only studied darkroom photography in the past (under Elizabeth Carson, the Aegean Center darkroom photography professor) I was very excited and curious to learn about the methodology and approach to making a digital print. John stated that his course was a poetry class — we were to discover how to become eloquent in the language of digital photography. Personally, I was just hopeful to string together a coherent sentence.
The workshop encompassed all attributes of the digital photo workflow. With the creation of an image every various aspect of its development was considered. From taking a photograph and setting up the proper work conditions in the digital lab, to working on the image in Camera RAW and Photoshop in order to make adjustments to the image. Then there are the test strips, followed by the test prints of the image. Finally, after much contemplation and consultation with John and the fellow workshop members, we get a result: the final print. The students were left with an understanding of how to deal with taking an image from the camera, to the computer screen and to the final print while maintaining the most control over the different conditions. Every day we worked in the digital lab, and in the evenings we took photographs and visited areas around the Paros.
When you’re working hard, enjoying what you’re doing in the company of good people in a beautiful place like Paros, time flies by at warp speed. Yet though it felt so quick, the amount of information, experience and growth which occurred in those two weeks was worthy of months of learning, perhaps more. We had plenty to show from the space of time: great memories, new friendships, fresh ideas and most importantly, finished works. Our prints showed that in two weeks time we were able to be articulate and express ourselves in the new and vibrant language of fine digital photography.
The Art of the Digital Photograph
2, August 2009 § Leave a comment
Intensive Digital Studies / The Art of the Digital Print
July is usually a quiet month at the Center. This year was an exception. John Pack lead a two week intensive course in The Art of the Digital Photograph.
Many photographers share the idea that the print is the final rendering of the artist’s intent, and this demands an extensive and deep working knowledge of the tools and process of the medium. Using digital tools to produce that important manifestation of the idea in a print has become too dependent on the tricks of the equipment rather than the skill and judgment of the photographer. In two weeks of exciting and intensive learning John guided a small group – eight participants – through the intricacies of the entire digital workflow with specific attention to Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS4 as photographic tools to an understanding of how to bring the image to the concluding expressive print that emerges from the printer.
John’s extensive knowledge gave us a broad understanding of the possibilities, which he then attempted to scale down to workable tools we could master in the time given. Time was a major factor. We worked 6, 8 and even 12 hours a day for 13 days. Yes, we did take one Sunday holiday.
After the first few days of deluge, the group rose to the challenge of learning myriad details while constantly reassessing its understanding of what the results would be. A list of the Photoshop and Printer techniques we studied would include extensive colour management, monitor calibration, tools, layers, masks, ICC colour profiling (building our own profiles), and much more; this would be only an outline of the wide scope of knowledge we acquired on how to see and feel the images as they progressed.
John’s enthusiasm for the digital medium, coupled with his deep respect for every detail, carried us through to a collection of photographic prints which were a great satisfaction to each of us. We all shared knowledge and ideas. The group, working together, became an important part of our learning, as John had intended. We concluded with a very stimulating sense of new knowledge and the ability to carry this forward to create the quality of photograph that was our goal.
The Greater Journey
23, July 2008 § Leave a comment
13 September 2008
A collaboration between Poet, Peter Abbs and Artist, John Pack
Aegean Center director John Pack’s most recent exhibition will open at the Sidney Cooper Gallery, Canterbury, England as part of the multidisciplinary symposium “DIMENSIONS OF PILGRIMAGE: Journey, Meaning and Place” taking place at Canterbury Christ Church University. The exhibition will be in Canterbury for five weeks before touring.
The formal debut of the publication “The Greater Journey: a special artist edition” will take place the evening of the opening along with a reading by Peter Abbs of his poetry that is part of the publication.