Since 1999, I have had the opportunity to travel frequently to Asia, mostly to Japan. I had traveled to Singapore, Indonesia, and Japan prior to 1999, but the frequency really started picking up from 1999. The first time I went to Japan I really didn't like it. I was working strange hours, and couldn't understand anything. Plus, I was traveling around with someone who spoke fluent Japanese, so I just followed. It was all very Lost in Translation. In 1999 when I started a project in Japan, I determined I would have a better time. I was able to explore on my own time and terms and fell in love with Japan.
During my various trips to Japan, I was able to make friends with local Japanese and foreigners. Through them I discovered even more of Japan. Jin taught me the ins and outs of Shinjuku. Kevin showed me around Tokyo and took me to Kamakura, Nikko, Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara. If you look at these photos, you see that the places he took me were very inspiring. I'm am indebted to both of them for all they have shown me over the years and for their hospitality. I also owe a big thanks to my colleagues in Japan who have showed me different areas and recommended places to visit.
In 2002, I had the opportunity to travel to China with some friends and their families. While I am not usually a fan of organized tours, it was great to have our own dedicated tour. Everybody had a connection to the group and it made the tour go very smoothly. We visited Beijing, Xian, Chongching, Wuhan, and Shanghai. I found it very difficult to photograph in China, but I do have a few photos from that trip.
In 2003 I attended the International Space University Summer Session Program in Strasbourg, France (you can visit the ISU experience here). There I met Yuki, Ken, Uchi, and Kuni. By 2003, point and shoot digital cameras entered my life and the number of black and white film shots dropped dramatically. In 2004 I lived in Mito, Japan for about 4 months for work. After my time there, I traveled around Asia. I went to Hong Kong and stayed with Ken, I went to Singapore and stayed with Christian, and went to India and met Yuki for the International Lunar Conference in Udaipur. I got out the trusty film camera and started shooting black and white again. For a short while.
In 2007 I started traveling to Japan again when Tomo moved back to Japan for work. When I was in Tokyo around Thanksgiving, I grew a little frustrated because the sun set so early. I decided to experiment with black and white photographs at night. I was pleasantly surprised by the results. I didn't have a tripod available, so most of these shots are braced. Or I was incredibly still. Probably braced in some way!
It should be noted that EVERY photo is from a negative. I'm not sure how much longer I will be able to say that. I anticipate a digital SLR will soon join my camera collection. It makes me a little sad. I love film, especially black and white film. For this exhibition, every negative was scanned using a Nikon Coolscan V. I then worked the image in Photoshop using techniques based on methods I learned printing in the darkroom. I printed on Museo Silver Rag paper using an Epson R2400. The paper and printer technology advances convinced me that it was time to abandon the chemicals and go to digital printing. I must say that it has removed a lot of the obstacles that had kept me out of the darkroom for a while. When you go into the darkroom, it is a serious time commitment. With digital "processing" you can work on an image, step away from it, rethink it, have some food, and your chemicals won't go bad! Things do get complex with profiles, calibration, and some odd ink performance at times, but in the end it inspired me enough to put together this exhibition.
The studio exhibit is a more much edited collections of photos than the virtual exhibition. Some of the photos in the virtual exhibition are similar to each other. Those were edited for the studio exhibition. Think of this on-line exhibition as the book version of the studio show.
After this exhibition, we are giving up the lease on our studio. It has been a fun 10 years, but the studio became a very expensive storage unit. The website will stay open however, and I hope that I will stay inspired. I am working on my next exhibition already. Thanks for visiting.
This exhibition was first shown in El Segundo, California in 2008.