Bassin De Saturne, Versailles
Bassin de Saturne, Versailles

Photography

Bassin du Dragon #2, Versailles

 

Since my packing post, I’ve fallen off the map again—but for a good reason.  Photography has been given obsessive attention.

It feels wonderful to be this excited by photographs and photographic printing after a long, long hiatus.  What was the hold up?  It was a confluence of things, but I know allergies played a pivotal role.  Suddenly the equipment and the processes I honed for over a decade were unavailable to me.  Sure, the rest of the world has been going digital for over a decade (I started there, with digital, way back in 2002), but for me, that wasn’t an option. How do you go from a Hasselblad medium format to even full-frame Canon/Nikon?  I couldn’t (and I tried).  How do you go from final prints hand-printed using heavy metals like gold and palladium to giclée prints using pigment inks?  Again, I couldn’t (and don’t regret the resultant toxicity when I look at the prints made).

But now, photography is fully available to me again.  It began with the discovery of digital cameras and lenses whose images could hold up against Hasselblad and Mamiya, and were even and amazingly replete with their own aesthetic signature.  Then came the two weeks in Paris, where I fell gleefully down the rabbit hole of understanding that lens signature and, even more important, returning to and beginning to discover what my own aesthetic is and could be.  The last piece of the puzzle fell into place over the past two weeks: the creation of beautiful prints.  Not simply good prints, but photographic prints with the gravitas, or weight, of mid-20th-century silver gelatin—yet without putting my skin in contact with chemicals.

As I write, I have at my fingertips these luscious prints.  A couple feet away sit my cameras.  For the first time in the years since setting aside old-old-school photographic practices, I have the means by which to create photographs worthy of being called photographs.  It’s time to thank publicly the muses—I seemed to have let go of the past at just the right moment, when all the mechanical advancements and innovations come together.

So I’ve been spending all my time working images and refining and refining them further.  I have a small set of large prints, and I re-designed my photographic website.  I wanted to make sure this new beginning was secure before heading off to the next trip at the end of this week.  In the midst of this photographic journey, I feel so alive.

Bassin de Saturne, Versailles

 

If you enjoy this new photography, I encourage you to join me on Instagram.  My handle is @aestheticalt.  I post a photograph from Paris or Versailles (and soon, another place!) every few days.  At the moment I am working on a small photographic book, as well as continuing to flesh out the new website.  If you would like to see the larger collection all in one go, drop me a note and I’ll send the link.  Because of changes in photography, travel and life, I’m edging toward dropping the quasi-anonymity I have on Aesthetic Alterations, but I’m not quite there yet.

Grand Trianon, Versailles

Parterre du Nord, Versailles

 

I think this will be my last post before I return from the next trip (where Internet is not really an option), but before I go, I aim to reply to the beautiful comments you’ve been leaving.  Thank you so much for continuing to be part of this journey through life and art and style.  Your kindness means a lot to me.

xoxoxo

This Post Has 20 Comments

  1. I am so happy for you that you have been able to return to photography! The new pictures seem to have the same beautiful feel as your older series, and I never tire of your black and white garden pictures. Versailles in the winter is drab and dreary in a color picture, but it is magical in your photos!

    Enjoy your next trip!

  2. Wow…your pictures are awesome! I can understand how hard it is to make changes in your photography. You surely have made a seemlessly transition. Enjoy your trip and safe travels. We will be heading to the south of France to capture all of that turquoise….J xoxo

    1. Thank you, Jeanne. xo. I hope you have an amazing trip to the south of France. Turquoise…the mere sound of the word evokes magic, which I am sure you and your beloved will find during these days in that lush landscape.

  3. You have an incredible eye for beauty and the remarkable ability to capture images that speak to people. If this is just a sampling, I expect the larger collection would be breathtaking and look forward to seeing it.

  4. Fabulous, fabulous images. So glad you have found a process you can work with chemically. May I ask which process you are using – is it one of the new “digital silver” processes? I am about to experiment with some of these and would love your thoughts.

    all the best,
    Elizabeth

      1. Dear señorita, your question evokes pure joy. Yes, they are/will be for sale. I need only to figure out the boxes for shipping, and then they will be made available. Please don’t hesitate to send me a private message/email for more information in the meantime.

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. As far as the process goes, it’s not chemical-based but with archival pigment inks. While the digital silver processes have intrigued me, the ones I’ve looked into use papers that I wouldn’t use in the darkroom (were I able). Silver gelatin paper has become rather “silver-poor” in the past decade, and that’s one reason I dove into alt-process printing, as I could then put as much silver nitrate as I wanted into the formula. So for me, the definitive change has been the quality of the pigment inks and the sheer beauty of newly developed papers. Professional archival pigment printing has dramatically and beautifully changed in the past year.

  5. I am amazed by these photos. They are so beautiful, captivating and have such crisp contrast. How do you feel about the depth? Is it comparable? It is wonderful that you are happily engrossed with photography again. Have a great trip!

    1. Thank you, my dear Tanja.

      How do I feel about the depth? It depends on what the word means. Small format simply will not treat depth-of-field the same as medium format, so there will never be the same articulation of space. But small format actually makes it easier to create a sense of “depth” in a very normative sense, so the pictures “go back” in a shockingly vivid way. That’s partly the lenses, which are incredible. They really are, and the amount of detail they bring out stuns me. What’s most stunning is what happens when the lenses are stopped down—the architectural and landscape details are “etched,” while the sky is like liquid. I’ve never seen that quality in photographs, so I consider it a unique signature of these lenses. I have so much to learn about them!

  6. I’m thrilled to see you back at work in this medium and that you have found a process that allows you to ‘speak’ in a way that has less negative impact on your health; there’s a limit to the ‘sacrificing for one’s art’ business. Your earlier Versailles photos haunt me (in a good way!) and I look forward to the fruits of this renewed labor. And, bon voyage!

  7. Your talent (and your eye) astounds me. These photographs are stunning, even seen on my small scale iPad. Can only imagine how breathtaking they must be up on a wall. Bravo!
    Your comments about letting go of the past struck a chord with me — I am in the process of doing that in my personal life and i think it’s never too late to let go of the past and open ourselves up to what life has to offer. You are an inspiration dear C xx

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