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Mitch Alland
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Re: Leica M8/M9/X1 Picture Thread


Thanks, Adam.

jojomon11 wrote:
BTW Mitch love that last one! awesome beauty, nice . Also thanks for the write up on pushing the iso


Thanks Phil. She wanted to see the shot on the M9 LCD, but since I was using the "Shoot at ISO 640 and push in post technique", I had to explain that it was too dark to see; but today I'm having lunch at a Danish restaurant near where she works, so I'll bring my computer to show her the shot.

Whod'da thunk that a small Thai seaside resort town two hours drive south of Bangkok would have three Danish restaurants and two Swedish ones, as well as one Norwegian one? As far as I know, Washington, DC has no Scandinavian restaurants of note, and Paris has two Danish restaurants. I'm looking forward to sildebord (herring smörgasbård) with Carlsberg beer (I'd prefer Tuborg) and a small glass of Aalborg Jubilæums Akvavit. Skål!




Shooting in Series or Projects

I mentioned earlier in this thread that I like to shoot in series or projects. Not only do I find it interesting, but once I've formulated a concept for a project, usually after some desultory shooting, I begin to see shots that I might have not seen. I've just put together a new series called Surabaya-Johnny, on which I'd be interested seeing comments (both positive and negative) from anyone willing to take the trouble of looking. All shot in color with the M9, any of the images have appeared earlier in this thread.

Even after you have a well-elaborated concept, finding a title for the series can be difficult. I like a few of Ralph Gibson's earlier B&W books, which he published through Lustrum Press, a small publishing company that he started for that purpose. His titles and sequencing of images has a poetic logic rather than a narrative one, such as The Somnambulist, Déjà-Vu and Days at Sea.

"Days at Sea" would have been a good title for my Surabaya-Johnny series but, hey, it's already taken. The title Surabaya-Johnny comes from the 1929 song by Kurt Weil/Bertold Brecht, whose classic rendition by Lotte Lenya you can see and hear here, if you are so inclined. And the text of the lyrics are here, first in German and then in English at the bottom of the page: there are some errors in the translations, but the other ones that I found were not as good.

The song comes from a Weil/Brecht play called Happy End, from which, according to a Wikipedia article, comes the phrase robbing a bank's no crime compared to owning one, and Brecht subsequently added it to publication revisions of the earlier Threepenny Opera, although it did not originally appear in the first production. In 1929, the play ran only seven days in Berlin, after an uproar among conservative critics, but then had long runs in Hamburg (1957), London (1965), Hamburg (1983) and on Broadway (1977) — and there was a German film version in 1979. If you like Lotte Lenya's rendition of the song, you might also want to hear her sign The Bilbao Song from the same play, as well as German versions of Mack the Knife, sung by Ute Lemper and others, including a famous, old German singer whose trilling of the letter R has to be heard to be believed. Incidentally, the German lyrics of Mack the Knife are much more powerful than that of the English translation, whose Oh, the shark has pearly teeth, dear softens and trivializes the message by the inclusion of the words "pearly" and "dear", both absent in the German text.

Now, coming back the the Surabaya-Johnny title: it's good from the point of view that people who know the song can view the pictures within the context of a narrative thread that they can themselves create, which will be different for different people; some may form a view of the title without knowing the song, but that could be rather random; and some can extract a meaning without the aid of the title; but when all is said and done, a title like Days ay Sea is better because it doesn't require much prior knowledge.


Presentation: What to Do with Projects/Series? — Portfolio Approach
Once you have a series like Surabaya-Johnny how can you present it. One way is an online portfolio, like the one I linked. Another, I suppose would be a Blurb book, but 32 pages seems short for a book, and I'm not sure that I want to take this series to the 40–60 images that I would consider the minimum for a book.

Another way would be to make a portfolio of prints. One issue here is size. I would like the prints to be at least 15x10 inches (38.1x25.4 cm); but as I would like to have, say, 4 inch (10.2 cm) mats, there are issus with the availability of standard size portfolio boxes, and the weight and thickness of 32 matted photographs that will require several portfolio boxes.

A better way, it seems to me would be to make 18x12 inch prints on 13x19 inch paper so that there would be a ½ inch margin all around (45.7x30.5 cm prints with 1.3 cm margins). But to keep the prints from curling, it would be necessary to mount them on some sort of backing (is that what it's called?) This back should be thin enough not to be heavy or to require too many portfolio boxes for 32 prints; nor should the backing scotch the photo below it when stacked in the box.

Can anyone recommend what backing to use for mounting the prints?

BTW, I've had good experience with waxing large inkjet prints with Renaissance Wax (or Museum Wax).


—Mitch/Hua Hin
Paris au rhythme de Basquiat and Other Poems [download link for book project]



Aug 03, 2013 at 04:31 AM



  Previous versions of Mitch Alland's message #11719788 « Leica M8/M9/X1 Picture Thread »