Film + Flash

Sunday, June 13th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

Image courtesy of Mus-Mus

I received a new call for submissions from mus-mus, which I’m happy to pass on:

Team mus-mus is looking for your help with an archive that will let us all see film and flash products that we’re bidding au revoir, leaving behind, or perhaps still clinging desperately to. Since George Eastman first invented an emulsion coating machine to mass-produce photographic dry plates in 1879, commercially available photography technology has been a sustaining feature of the photographer’s practice. As old technologies are increasingly falling away and sometimes re-emerging in new ‘skins’, it will be interesting to take a collective worldwide snapshot of what’s on hand in studios (and maybe flea markets) now that are gone from stores or will be tomorrow.

See details and submit here.  I have too many things to submit…

Seeing colors

Monday, June 7th, 2010 - Nicholas Calcott

From the phenomenal site Information is Beautiful.  Click for full size.

Reading the gem of a text that Photography Prison dug up from a Lester Morrison interview on 5b4 that I somehow missed…

In my sophomore year I started doing psychedelics in a rather serious way. Some friends got hold of a bunch of Sandoz tabs. Sandoz was the only pharmaceutical outfit ever to produce pure lysergic acid diethylamide-25 and ergotamine in a form that looked like Pop-Rocks. Ergotamine comes from a fungal rust that grows on certain cereal grains. In high doses can cause vascular stasis, thrombosis and gangrene. That’s how my buddy Ben lost his foot and resulted in me having extreme panic attacks that forced me to drop out of school. Well, that and the foul cholera episode. When it isn’t turning you into a leper, the ergotamine slots so perfectly into the complex serotonin metabolism of the primate cortex. Brings about some random stochastic happenstance, some entropic slippage where – although you have the taste of cat piss in your mouth – you also find yourself trying to poke out the eyes of god. The morning after my first trip, I finally understood colors.

… Brings to mind the color wheel you see above and also Albert Kahn.

In other news, I’m currently engaged in a book project with a photographer who learned to shoot in the 60s – It’s in b+w, but it really gives me a tremendous idea of how printing preferences have shifted over the years.  That is to say that, to a certain extent, you can judge when an image was printed by the particular balance of contrast and density that seems to shift through the decades as printing fashions (!) ebb and flow…