Workshop Fun!

Posted in Photography, Uncategorized at 12:40 pm by Michelle

This is a year for branching out and trying new teaching formats.

Last summer, I did a two-week long workshop at the Penland School of Crafts, which was loads of fun, and let me have enough time with the students for them to actually get used to the cameras, play with subjects and techniques, and really create some work.

Trying to bring that experience to more students, I taught a four-week class at Photographic Center Northwest last month; 4 Tuesday evenings to play with Holgas and lots of time to review the work. In the end, even 4 weeks wasn’t enough, but it was a great start for the students to really learn what the cameras do, try out different ways of shooting in a variety of circumstances, and even experiment with different films.

PCNW student
Students at the Photographic Center NW class put up their images for critique

In January I did my intro toy camera class at Newspace Photo in Portland once again, and we’re introducing an Advanced Toy Camera class in May. This will be a great opportunity to dive into camera modifications, play with other cameras (including the instant backs!), and really get into the advanced darkroom techniques that toy camera negatives often call for.

At the Society for Photographic Education National Conference in Philadelphia, I had over 150 people at my presentation, showing off the work of many fabulous photographers working with plastic cameras, including several who will be in the second edition of my book! It was a great time and I heard from people the rest of the weekend who were inspired by all the great work! A video of the talk will hopefully be available at some point.

SPE national talk
Part of the huge crowd at the SPE talk, which was sponsored by Freestyle Photographic Supply

I’m in discussions with PCNW to try even more new formats, and the new Workshops West in Pismo Beach, CA, and Project Basho in Philadelphia, about bringing the toy camera love to even more places around the country!

PCNW student
Students at the Photographic Center NW class put up their images for critique



Shows, shows & more shows!

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:04 pm by Michelle

This has been a really fun run of having my work out and about for people to see.

At the beginning of 2009, I dusted off one of my favorite series, “After the Fire,” and hung them at Office Nomads, where they looked great hung against the funky brick walls. They were last shown many years ago, perhaps 2001, and I would love to get them out again.

Thanks to the fabulous work of Christine So, with Holga Limited (the company in Hong Kong that makes the Holga, also know as Tokina), I, as part of a group of 10 Holga photographers, known as Holga Inspire, have been able to show photos in several places over the past year, starting in Bangkok last March, then Longview Texas at TCC Photo Gallery over the summer, and finally in New York at Umbrella Arts in December & January. Next stop is the Hallmark Institute Gallery in Western Massachusetts in May!

In September, for the first time, I made prints of a group of my digital images to show at a benefit for the Circus Project in Portland, OR. I printed up 15 images of aerialists, mostly taken at the Moisture Festival, but some other shows as well. It’s quite amazing to start looking at masses of photos that I have and realize that there are cohesive bodies of work there (this happened dramatically for me when my friend Mik Kuhlman pointed out that I had more than enough images of fire performers and fire art to do a show in 2001, which became “Celebration of Fire“).

A little later in September, I was back in Portland for a solo show at Camerawork Gallery. This was very exciting, as I combined an older series of images with a brand new exhibition, printed just for this show. “Exquisite Decay” is a group of photos taken all together one hot afternoon in July 2008 in Israel. The setting was a field outside a small village, where a local artist was storing parade floats he had created, which were in varying states of decay. See the blog entry for that show here.

A great surprise in November was the opportunity to hang the “Exquisite Decay” series at Benham Gallery, to be up for the SPE NW conference, and as part of the last show before the gallery closed its doors to morph into Benham Fine Art.

November also brought another new opportunity, this time to print more digital photos, of many of the images I’ve taken over the past 5 years for the Moisture Festival. John Cornicello, Mark Gardiner and I made up prints, and created a display in the lobby of Hale’s Brewery, our home base. It was celebrating the release of the Moisture Festival Book we created with the help of Corey Scheerer and Ron Bailey.

My photos of the Flaming Idiots graced 42nd Street in Times Square, NY for December, with one photo a mind-bogglingly 12 feet high, and a series of live photos from the Moisture Festival were featured as well! Their show at the New Victory Theater was a hit!

Starting out 2010 I had a photo at Newspace Photo in Portland, as part of their Carnival show, and currently have one in the Krappy Kamera Competition in NY and another at Rayko Photo‘s Plastic Camera show.

What’s next? We’ll just have to see…


B&H Photo & f295 – NY Photo Fun

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:28 am by Michelle

My latest trip to NY was colder than usual, but still fantastic.

On January 18th, a fantastic group of photographers gave presentations at B&H Photo’s Event Space. We are all part of f295, a group based out of Pittsburgh, whose hallmark event is a symposium, coming up this May. The Event Space is newish, in the middle of the second floor of B&H’s massive NY store (the Holgas are hidden in the farthest corner from the door…), and the room was packed. Details and links to the presenters’ bios here.

Michelle & Tom Persinger at CCNY show
Michelle with Tom Persinger, organizer of f295 – all 3 images taken with a Rollei MiniDigi

To celebrate the seminar, and give everyone a chance to see the prints in person, we put up at 4-day show at the Camera Club of New York. This was a fantastic opportunity to study the prints, and see the subtle and not-so-subtle differences between artistic visions and techniques. With a range spanning the history of photography, this was quite a collection!

CCNY f295 show Photos at CCNY f295 show
The f295 exhibition at the Camera Club of New York

Later in the week, I had my very own day at B&H! In the morning, I gave a free talk to a room full of toy camera lovers (an edited version of this will be up on B&H’s web site soon). And for the afternoon, a smaller group gathered to learn the ins and outs of playing with Holgas. Everyone got their Holgas taped and loaded up, we went out to shoot in the frigid weather, and even got instant gratification with Fuji Instant Film on a Holga Polaroid back!
B&H workshop January 2009

Thanks to f295, B&H, CCNY and all the presenters, I think everyone had a fabulous few days!


More exposure

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:08 am by Michelle

I got a lovely review by Ctein, a photographer I met last spring through my housemate, and also an author for Focal Press, on The Online Photographer blog site. Ctein’s new book, “Digital Restoration” is just hitting stores.

Freestyle Photographic Supply, a wonderful photography dealer, which is also the US distributor for the Holga, has put me on the cover of their new Educator’s Resource catalog. It’s perhaps little more exposure than I was thinking, but pretty fun. I’m on Freestyle’s Advisory Board of Photographic Professionals, and will be having an exhibition at their gallery in Los Angeles in February (opening on the 22nd, with a lecture on the 24th). More details here as I get them.

Freestyle catalog
Cover photograph by Jennifer Loomis, who I also photograph for, and is a brand-new member of the Freestyle Advisory Board herself!


Gone to press from the desert

Posted in Photography, Uncategorized at 6:41 am by Michelle

I find myself in the glorious position of just having given final approval for the cover, and hence the entirety, of my book, which will now sail off to the printer for immortalization. Not only that, but I’m at the Burning Man festival in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, the sun has just come up , I have cameras in my bag, and three more days to revel in this glorious festival of art and community, without a care in the world…
It’s actually done!!!
See the final cover on my website homepage, and I’ll post a bigger version here when I get home.
Thanks for everyone’s support – I can’t wait to show it all to you!
love and art,


Next steps

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:07 pm by Michelle

So, as I try to catch up with other photo projects, the process of booking continues. The manuscript and images are at the compositor, and we’ve been haggling over the text for the back cover.

Now is when the marketing gears get turning ever faster. We’re working on magazine contacts, distribution possibilities, and details like how to get the contributors’ copies of the book signed and sent to them. I’m party planning for Seattle and New York, and generally having a blast filling people in on the project.

And the energy is starting to spread. Ted Orland, my biggest contributor, connected me with a fabulous website, Luminous Lint, that is well on its way to its goal of being a comprehensive survey of historical and contenporary photography. I’ll be writing a blurb about plastic cameras and curating an exhibit of images culled from the book.

Meanwhile, time to get back to editing digital images from Moisture Festival, Chautauqua Jambablaya Tour, and the Fremont Summer Solstice Parade. Links to images coming soon!


Magic & Matzoh in Mississippi

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:46 pm by Michelle

Well, we did it. 50-some people from all over the US converged on the battered little town of Bay St Louis, Mississippi to call a corner of a baseball field home base for a week. We were stunned by the devastation all around, awed by the grace and openness of the people, and honored to be able to bring them some fun and entertainment.

The New Old Time Chauatauqua brought 25 years of experience and a range of members from the founders to their performing adult children together for a new experience of taking the show outside the Northwest and into an area that truly had need of distraction and joyous energy.

The group performed for the local community, at several relief centers in Mississippi and New Orleans, at a senior center and a school. In some areas where there are truly no other forms of entertainment to be had, we brought a little bit of light, and hopefully inspired a few kids and grown-ups alike.

I was there documenting the tour, and have around 2500 digital images (and some film) to sort through. I’ll let you know when they’re available!

There were some strange and wonderful experiences, like having the group come together for a Passover seder in our home field, complete with matzoh and specialties straight from Zabar’s in New York (via the Karamazov bus), and a few days later going to church to hear the local gospel choir rise up in song. In between, the band (with everyone else flitting around) had its own religious experience marching and playing through the French Quarter in New Orleans.

Heather Weihl has published a journal following the tour through the week, complete with several of my photos, so check out the Jambalaya Journal for the details!

More on my trip soon!
The Fighting Instruments of Karma Marching Chamber Band/Orchestra  does the French Quarter!


Book update

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:49 am by Michelle

So Focal Press has started running ahead with their part of the work on the book. They’ve copy-edited the whole shebang (the copy editor really liked it – that’s a good sign, right?), and sorted out some aspects of the layout, and now it looks like the ball’s back in my court. But, of course, I have a whole slew of other fun things on my agenda, so timing is getting tricky. That’s one of the many lessons I’m learning in this process; what the jobs to do are after the writing is done. It’s the scheduling part that’s hard to plan.
According to Focal’s schedule, the book will be out on September 21st, and it’s already on their website and in the 2006 catalog! Very exciting!

Society for Photographic Education

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:42 am by Michelle

It’s a little hard to catch up from one trip when another’s in the works, but here’s a short report on the SPE conference in Chicago.
SPE is a great organization for photography educators and students. This makes most of the members somewhat more communicative than your average photographer, which is fun for me! I went to last year’s national in Portland, and did my plastic camera presentation at the NW regional conference last October.

My publisher was part of the trade show at the conference, as was Freestyle Photographic (I’m on their advisory board), and Focal brought along their big stack of postcards to introduce the book. I gave the cards to old and new aquaintances, and everyone seems excited to see the book, and all I could say is, “So am I!”
I love conferences for bringing people together to geek out about their particular obsession, and this one was no exception!