Re: F295 symposium long synopsis
Chris, what a feast and as usual, your sharing your joy with others
multiplies it by that much. Thanks! Rajul
On 2-Jun-09, at 2:41 PM, Christina Z. Anderson wrote:
Back from the F295 symposium in Pittsburgh (http://www.f295.org/
symposium2009/ and I have to say I was very impressed. First of
all, I was unaware that F295 has about 2000 (!) members. That's
triple this list serve....Second, Tom Persinger runs a tight ship--
aside from a technical glitch or two (when does that not happen)
the speakers spoke on schedule and all were excellent lecturers--
not always the case at symposiums, conferences, seminars. Being an
excellent artist does not always correlate with being an excellent
speaker....but these speakers were. There were 9 of them as you can
see on the website.
Third, it is so energizing to be in a group of like-minded,
somewhat anachronistic people as we are. When you get right down
to it, there aren't many of us and so many times it is a VERY small
world, with so and so knowing so and so invariably.
I mean, how many of us out there wax poetic about pinhole or alt
process? Not many. How many of us go out to dinner and set up a
pinhole camera to take pix of the meal out? Apparently Nancy
Breslin is doing this every restaurant meal she eats for a year.
How many people think to plop a wet plate collodion teeny plate in
a Holga like Gayle Stevens does? They were adorable. How many
people think to take the Lumenprint/Jerry Burchfield process/POP
photograms and apply it to the salt print, exposing salt prints
outside for hours upon hours to get gorgeous, velvety prints like
James Hajicek and his partner Carol Panero-Smith? They were really
beautiful in person--their work as well as themselves. And Joe
Babcock with his pinhole suitcase camera took the group portrait,
We got to see Robb Kendricks' Cowboy project, and when I saw it in
National Geographic I had no idea the extent of his project on the
North American Cowboy--and the fact that he has a full custom
trailer that he tows behind his vehicle that has a stainless steel
darkroom in it. I think that is what I especially enjoyed is each
speaker's (and most conference-goers') intense commitment to her/
his process of choice.
Which reminds me that in the bestseller book on Outliers it says to
become an expert at something takes something like 10,000 hr---
don't know the particulars of how that figure was derived but I can
We got to hear Dan Estabrook talk about his work--I've always loved
it, and had just showed the video on him to my alt students, but
his lecture was way better than his video (BTW a DVD I really like
as well is What Remains about Sally Mann--doing her large wet
plates. She went way up in my estimation after seeing that DVD).
It was so neat to see people in person I only had read about/seen
work in books--Martha Casanave was in my gum class and I have
always loved her evocative pinholes. Finally got to meet Jill
Enfield in person as well as Jesseca Ferguson. Elizabeth Opalenik
gave a really great lecture about mordancage and her journey with
the process all these years. Jerry Spagnoli, Mark Osterman and
France Scully-Osterman...Mark who had just had the pleasure of
meeting Judy Siegel at none other than the TruthBeauty show...like
I say it is a small world. Michelle Bates showed her great body of
Holga work, and she has this little teeny weeny rolliflex digicam
that she hangs from her neck that must be about...1x1x2"??? Martha
Madigan shared her work so extensively and from the heart, it is
just so much better to hear an artist talk about their work over
the whole of it like she did and Mark did because you get a much
clearer picture of the whole person and not just an image or two.
Oh, I could continue on and on but you get the picture.
I loved the city of Pittsburgh--very photogenic. Wish I would have
scheduled a day for photographing :(
And the food is EXCELLENT there and quite reasonably priced!
Zarra's Italian restaurant was so good I had to drag a group back
there the next night. Driest red wine there I have ever had
(Moltepiciano??? might be the name).
The Carnegie-Mellon University is also a great site for a
conference, and a mile or so from the hotel so it forced us to
exercise twice a day. Lots of great little places to eat
surrounding the hotel so a car wasn't necessary, especially since
the hotel shuttled us all over if we needed it.
Pittsburgh Filmmakers where we all did our workshops was glorious,
even with a vegan chef in a little cafe in-house there who makes
great hummus wraps and couscous. It's always scary to enter a
facility to teach gum because you just never know how the rooms are
set up, especially when you need a computer lab, classroom space
AND darkroom/dimroom with running water, but this place had all and
then even an assigned assistant each day!! I'm not used to that
kind of luxury.
Our world, and such as this list is, is such a fascinating slice of
Tom apparently is taking next year off but I think it is a must-do
in 2011...it'd be like an APIS of the northeast if APIS is too far
for some to travel.
If I had any criticism it would be that I forgot to take an
umbrella and had to buy one for one of the days. And I should have
brought better walking shoes.
Christina Z. Anderson