On the cover of a chocolate box…

One of my winter pictures of the beguinage of Bruges has made it to the cover of a chocolate box, and although it is small (you can see it between the “Cachet” text and the chocolates) I am still very happy of course. The picture was taken after a snowstorm in 2009, which covered the whole of Belgium (including the coast area which seldom happens) in a beautiful white blanket of snow. A panoramic image of the white houses in the beguinage covered in snow and contrasting with the black trees was already lingering longer in my head, and that day i took my chance. The fact that i had to risk life and limb to get to Bruges that day is another story… More info on the chocolates and where to buy them on www.kimchoc.be. Image data: Fotoman 617 panoramic camera, lens 90mm FujinonSW with center filter, Fuji Provia 100F medium format slide film, exposure unrecorded. Follow me on Twitter (www.twitter.com/frankdeluyck) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/FrankDeLuyckPhotography)!

Cover Cachet Chocolate box

Mois de la Photo Paris 2012

Also this year we joined Aalst’s “Academy for Imaging Arts” for a weekend of indulgement in the photo exhibitions on show during “Mois de la Photo Paris 2012” – still having good memories of the beautiful images on display in 2010 we left with high hopes on a cold Friday night from Belgium. In the morning we were greeted with the familair sight of an Eiffel tower hiding in fog:

Eiffel tower in fog

Eiffel tower in fog

As tradition wants (it seems, we also started here in 2010), first exhibition of the day visited was at the “Bibliothèque nationale de France” hosting “100 Masterpieces of Photography”. It’s poster was straightaway my favorite picture:

100 Masterpieces of Photography

From there on we moved towards the “Ēcole nationale Supérieure d’architecture” where i found my favorite images of the whole weekend: the large format images of modern cities contrasting with their older remains, by Peter Bialobrzeski. I knew the work of this photographer already longer time (also went to a lecture by him at the photomuseum in Antwerp), and here in Paris my admiration for the works by this photographer only became stronger:

Peter Bialobrzeski

At the same location, black & white images by Gerard Rondeau were on show, below some impressions:

Gerard Rondeau

From here onwards, we travelled back to the 3eme arrondissement and made a brief stop at Galerie Baudoin Lebon showing images of Chrystèle Lerisse and Patrick Bailly-Maître-Grand:

Chrystele Lerisse

After this we moved to Hôtel de Sauroy, showing an exhibition called “Thanks to Luigi Ghirri and Italian Emerging Photography”. Nice image from Marco Barbon:

Marco Barbon

Final visit of the day was to Galerie les Filles du Calvaire showing “Corinne Mercadier, devant un champ obscur”:

Corinne Mercadier

This concluded our first day of exhibition visits in Paris, quite tired from all the walking the next challenge in Paris was waiting us: finding a decent, reasonably priced restaurant at this time of the evening (moreover Saturday). This took us quite a while, until we found a Thai (our favorite food)/ Chinese restaurant. We should have known better of course, the Chinese don’t have a clue how to cook Thai, other then putting some chili in an otherwise normal Chinese dish… Anyway we were so hungry that it didn’t really matter what they served us, we ate it anyway 😉
After a good night’s rest and nice breakfast at the hotel, day 2 of our “tour of Paris” could start, commencing with a visit to Maison européene de la Photographie. Nice images seen here:

Also a Helmut Newton (another one of my favourite photographers),

Helmut Newton

an amazing shot by Jean-Paul Goude of Grace Jones:

Grace Jones by Jean-Paul Goude

and beautiful black&white photograph by Bettina Rheims:

Bettina Rheims

Next visit planned was to the Centre culturel suisse, where I found this image by Annelies Ŝtrba very nice:

Annelie Strba

Further some images by Richard Avedon, Nobuyoshi Araki and Nan Goldin (this last one not really my taste, therefore no images, sorry) were on show:

Richard Avedon

From this exhibition we moved on to the Galerie des bibliotheques, where the exhibition “L’ Enfant & la Photographie” was showing. Here i didn’t find too many images nice to my taste, therefore no favourites here ;-). Since it was already getting late, we split up here from the rest of the group since the majority was returning by bus the same evening. We (my wife and I) treated ourselves to an additional night in Paris, and therefore could still visit the Jeu de Paume where images by Manuel Alvarez Bravo where on show: also very nice black & white photographs by this Mexican artist:

Manuel Alvarez Bravo

So, that was it – quite a long post about our adventures in Paris… Generally, I found this edition of Mois de la Photo a bit weaker then the 2010 version: this year there were much more “conceptual art” photographs, which sometimes (euh most of the times) I fail to understand hence do not really like, while during the 2010 edition more of the old masters were on show – for instance, I still vividly remember the amazing shots by André Kertész that I saw… I dont think this will be the case for this edition. But hey, every excuse is good to pay a visit to the City of Light! To finalize this long post (to make up for the long silence on this blog ;-)), some general views of Paris:

And a parting shot of our group:

Photo Fair Bievres 2012

For all enthusiasts of the (photo)film era, a nice venue to be present and wonder around (and maybe buy that long-looked for vintage camera/lens/print) is the International Photo Fair Bievres. It goes through on 2nd and 3rd of June:

Photo Fair Bievres 2012

 On the first day of the fair weekend, emphasis will be laid on the sale of vintage cameras and lenses, whilst the second day more focus will go to photo art. An event not to be missed, and to mark in red in your agendas! More info on website www.foirephoto-bievre.com.

Exhibition at Netwerk Aalst: Fat Birds don’t Fly

We went yesterday with the Art Academy to an exhibition hosted by Netwerk Aalst. Although I was a bit sceptical at first seen earlier (dissapointing) visits at the Netwerk (we are regularly requested to visit as part of our courses on art history), I was pleasantly surprised. The main theme of the (group) exhibition is basically about people and their (de)constructed identities. Further, in the context of the Louis Paul Boon year, the exhibition is intertwined with audio clips and quotes from Boon’s “90 People” and “The Paradise Bird”.
My favorites at the exhibition? As first a video from Finnish artist Pilv Takala called “Real Snow White” where the absurd logic of the “real character” and the extreme discipline of Disneyland become apparent when a real fan of Disney’s Snow White is banned from entering the park in a Snow White costume, and as close second the photography series on the “Furries” by Belgian photographer Charlotte Lybeer: “The Furtastic Adventures of the Cabbit and the Folf” : in this series people who like to dress up as furry animals, (and organise gatherings where the animal behaviour is re-enacted (inclusive sounds they make – talking is prohibited at these meetings)), are photographed as their “alter-ego” in their own living room resulting in weird (sorry don’t find another word) pictures…
Definitely an exhibition worth a visit!

Koyaanisqatsi – Life Out of Balance

We went yesterday to Docville 2012 (International documentary festival) in Leuven, to watch one of my favourite movies on the big screen: Koyaanisqatsi. Even after 30 years this movie never fails to impress… in the language of the Hopi, Koyaanisqatsi means “unbalanced life” – this unbalance is ilustrated in the movie (which is in fact the first part of a trilogy) by slow-motion and time-lapse footage of cities and many natural landscapes across the United States. The music by Philip Glass helps to make the movie an extraordinary experience. Here is the trailer of the movie:

Masterclass by Luther Gerlach

Continuing my interest in the “wet plate collodion process”, I enrolled for a masterclass by the master of the process himself: Luther Gerlach. He’s a true master on wet plate photography and his work is currently hanging in the White House as part of President and Mrs. Obama’s art collection. Gerlach’s work has appeared in Architectural Digest, American Photographer, People and View Camera Magazine, and exhibited at over two-hundred art festivals. He has won major awards at Cherry Creek, Coconut Grove, Tampa Bay and Salt Lake City. 
Celebrity clientele include also Cameron Diaz, Kate Hudson, Nick Nolte, Bruce Willis, Michael Wilson, Oprah Winfrey. The class was given 14th and 15th April, during the 1st European Collodion Weekend, at the FotoAcademie Eindhoven.
Amazing to see how Gerlach’s experience managed to get such a beautiful image on the first try… and even more amazing where the images taken with a mobile darkroom in the forests around Eindhoven. A short movie of the class can be found below:

Masterclass “Wet plate collodion process” by Luther Gerlach from Frank De Luyck on Vimeo.
For more information on the process you can as well check out Alex Timmermans’s blog: http://collodion-art.blogspot.com/

Wet Plate Collodion process

For some time now I have been interested in the wet plate collodion process, checking out websites from photographers using the technique (one of the more famous photographers using this process is Sally Mann), and reading blogs / watching movies on Youtube trying to find out the details involved. It seemed however so complicated I almost gave up… until I saw a workshop for this process organised by the Antwerp Fotomuseum: of course the same day i enrolled.
And finally the moment was there: 2 days of pure photographic joy employing this technique. I love workshops like this: they make something that looks impossible well… not easy but at least do-able. The most complicated about the process is the chemistry (with some quite dangerous chemicals such as cadmiumbromide, kaliumcyanide, etc…), but once the products are ready the technique is (more or less) a breeze (for the ones used to large format photography). What amazed me most is the remarkable sharpness (due to the fluid emulsion) that can be achieved with this 19th century process. Agreed, although some dare doing it, it does not look like a technique to use in the field, since plates have to be made lightsensitive in darkroom and then photographed/developed within approximately 10 minutes – hence the term wet plate. For studio work however it looks like a very nice process, yielding fantastic results. Below some pictures taken during the workshop (last 2 pictures show collodion plates photographed and developed by myself, and quite proud of it!): 

 I took as well a small documentary video of the workshop, to allow me to remember the required steps during the photography and development process:

Wet plate collodion process from Frank De Luyck on Vimeo.

First Time-Lapse Movie

Finally after a long silence another post on my blog. One of my New Year resolutions is to update the blog more often (besides renewing my website), so we will see… Fingers crossed!
Below you can find my first timelapse movie, made from pictures taken from Tienen’s water tower during a cold winterday from 10:44am until 18:10pm on 15th January 2012. The timelapse forms part of a project for the “Vlaamse Maatschappij voor Watervoorziening” (VMW) for which they requested me to supply them with pictures for each of their (87) water towers. Although the principal idea was to photograph the towers on a large format technical camera (4X5, both colour slide and B&W negative), i found it a good idea to as well have a go at a timelapse of one of the more modern water towers, ie. the one located at Tienen, Belgium. Since it was the first time I was trying out a timelapse, some trial and error was involved: arriving on site already before sunrise (around 07:00am or so) I was hopefull to be able to capture the period from sunrise upto sunset. However, some problems along the way resulted in only being able to use images as from 10:44am:
1) Setting up in pitch dark proved challenging, since focusing in manual focus mode (too dark for autofocus) was not as easy as it looked (Large format lenses have clear distance scales marked, digital lenses have this much less so). End result was that for the first 3 hours focusing was off (i saw only later), and the tower was actually unsharp…
2) during the course of the first few hours, the lens started fogging/freezing up (it was quite cold that morning) which necessitated me to clean the lens every 2 shots. This would have eventually not been a problem would the tower have been sharp at the first place.
Anyways around 10:40 I decided to check the shots on the Eos5DII’s screen (earlier I was scared to touch the camera for stability issues) and noticed the unsharpness… which I then corrected (in a way I am happy I noticed it at a certain point, imagine sitting there whole day with as end result all unsharp pictures (aaarghh)).
The shots were taken with a Canon Eos5DII, a 16-35mm lens zoomed in at 35mm, aperture at f5.6, ISO100, Av-priority, Autofocus off, Wb fixed on Sunny, JPEG – frequency was programmed for 1 shot every 32 seconds (to cover for maximum exposure time of 30 seconds). One 1 battery camera lasted (with camera review screen switched off) from 07:30am until 18:10pm. The camera was mounted on a Gitzo carbon tripod.
Conclusions from the trial: 
1) Ideally camera should be tethered to laptop/Ipad: pictures can as such more easily be checked for sharpness/composition;
2) Batterygrip (allowing camera to use 2 batteries) is mandatory for longer (summer days);
3) Eventual lens fogging to be checked on a regular basis during the shoot;
4) If anyways possible try to include the sun/moon rising/setting since this will make for more spectacular effects. 
Enough talked, here is the movie:

Timelapse Water Tower Tienen from Frank De Luyck on Vimeo.

Paris – Mois de la Photo (Day 2)

The following day after a (too) short night’s sleep we had quick breakfast (as an evening person coffee is more then enough for me to get me comfortable in the morning (or in other words: to get the grumpiness going haha) and then checked-out from our (for Paris standards: nice) hotel ,

Lobby Paris Hotel

and placed the luggage in the minibus before embarking on our ongoing museum stampede… For the ones wondering, we travelled Paris by metro:

Paris Metro

First in row today was “Musée national de la Marine” where some pictures from Rineke Dijkstra were exhibited (Dijkstra’s pictures are (for me) immediately recognizable: teens on the brink of becoming adults, and not sure knowing where they belong – they are clearly feeling awkward when photographed, and this recognizable feeling is what makes these pictures so fantastic):

Rineke Dijkstra

Rineke Dijkstra

When leaving the museum had to take the obligatory picture from Eiffel tower:

Eiffel Tower, Paris

and went on to the next exhibition in “Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris” where the idea was to visit the “scandalous” exhibition of Larry Clark – but hey, the fact it was so scandalous made for waiting rows until the next block. So we skipped this one, and instead went to the (probable evenly) shocking Gaza pictures showing the results of a war-torn country by Kai Wiedenhöfer: mutilated people, destroyed buildings,… quite confronting to watch (not my favourite of the day to be honest, I still like to think we are living in an ideal world – clearly not). Whilst the rest of the group opted to take lunch, a fellow student and me decided to make use of this idle (hehe) time to quickly visit the exhibition of André Kertész, which became quickly my overall favourite of the Paris exhibitions: his very graphical black and whites (“Dancer”, “Distortions”, “The Fork”, “Underwater”, “Chimneys” but even his color SX-70 polaroids) are for me the result of sheer photography genius. Happy not to have missed this one (rest of the group seemed not to have enjoyed themselves: so-so soup, arrogant waiter and expensive – while we had a massive pita for 5Euros only hahaha – sorry guys). After having joined up again together we found the “Maison Européenne de la Photographie”, another highlight for me with pictures from Raymond Depardon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bettina Reims, Helmut Newton, Irving Penn, Richard Avedon – so many great names, and what a collection of fantastic photographs – below one of my favorites (i forgot to note the photographer’s name, though – sorry):

Maison Europeene de la Photographie, Paris

There was as well a fantastic print by black and white master Ansel Adams, “Moonrise” – I stood in awe, not only for the photography technique, but as well for the printing quality:

Moonrise by Ansel Adams

In conclusion of this visit we had a stop-over for drinks in (another friendly hmm hmm) Paris bar, before embarking on a visit to the “Institut Suédois” – also here magnificent black and white pictures, I let them speak for themselves:

Institut Suedois


Institut Suedois


And finally, we concluded our visit to “Mois de la Photo Paris 2010” by entering the “Photos femmes féminisme” in the “Bibliothèque Marguerite-Durand”, an exhibition concentrating on the women who have been on the forefront of the feminism. Nice “classic” pics here, e.g. the Mata Hari one here below:

Mata Hari at the “Photos Femmes Feminisme”

We left this final exhibition tired, with sore feet, but contented having been submerged in such incredibly talented photography – in 2 years time we will be back!