Monday, February 06, 2012

where does a week go?

Oh, blog friends...where does a week go? I am so looking forward to graduating in a few months (also simultaneously dreading it, for other reasons). The plus side of things: I am learning so, so much, and always moving forward. Downside: I rarely have time to relax, and must do work for school seven days a week! Yikes!

On Saturday, I learned the historic photographic process of wet plate collodion! It was really awesome to learn. At my school, every year the art department awards two post-MFA fellowships to selected artists who have completed their MFA in the past few years. The post-MFA fellows get to teach a few classes and make their work in our facilities for one year. This year one of the post-MFA fellows, Heather, is in the photo area! She specializes in historic processes such as wet plate collodion, and is doing a wet plate collodion workshop in two weeks. I volunteered to help at the workshop, so I got trained on the process a little early with the other volunteers (three fellow grad students).

It's difficult to explain in a few sentences what wet plate collodion is, especially with a wide audience of readers with varying photo knowledge, so if you are interested to know, take a look at the Wikipedia article here. We learned how to mix the chemistry, coat the plates, take and develop the image, and varnish the plate! All in one day. It was a magical, mad science photo time. I took some snapshots of us working but I used a 35 mm camera and haven't developed them yet...sorry! I'm a little behind on everything at the moment, so snapshot development gets pushed to the bottom of my list. I'll post them soon. Also, the whole day was spent mostly just learning the process, and I only made images on two plates, which I then ruined while learning to varnish them. So I'll also post my wet plate collodion images after the workshop. I have some awesome ideas!

Yesterday, I spent half the day cleaning my apartment and half the day doing a take-home essay test. I feel relieved to have both of those things done! My apartment was definitely suffering since I've been telling myself not to worry about it and just to focus on school. It feels so nice and clean now! I am thinking of painting a few rooms new colors soon and I may post pictures here and ask for your opinions. I'm ready for a new look! To anyone else going through a stressful time...if your living space isn't as clean as you usually keep it, do not blame yourself! It will be okay. Just avoid having people over for a few weeks, and focus on your work! I don't feel like we get this permission from many people/places, so I just want to throw that out there for those of you who need it. I felt really guilty that my apartment was so messy when I was so busy, and I think I should have just cut myself some slack! Yes, I function better when my home is clean...but everyone has limits!

Take home essay test...took me a little over 5 hours, and ended up being 7 pages of writing (6-10 was the required length)! Oh my goodness. Did I mention how I can't wait to graduate!? Let me clarify here...I love learning. LOVE IT. I wouldn't still be in school if I didn't. I would just like to have a little more free time on my hands. The class I was writing for is an art history course on the history of video's very interesting! lately we have been learning about guerilla television, which I find very intriguing because I am interested in learning about counter-cultural movements. Check out some footage from this video we watched from this group from the 1970s called the Videofreex:

The Videofreex were an artist collective based out of a small town called Lanesville, New York, where they ran the first pirate television station (for six years!), since Lanesville couldn't pick up any regular channels. Pretty ingenious!

Okay, that's all I have for today...I'm currently dreaming of summer when I'll have time to sew and garden and make things and sit outside in the will be so wonderful! Until then, school school school! Going out with a bang. That's how it should be.

p.s. Welcome new readers from the Comment Love Challenge!!! Leave me a comment and I will check out your blog!

p.p.s. Millie-cat says, "Get off the computer and play with me, already!"

...and she follows that up with an I-mean-it look!


Remy Hadley said...

Sounds like a stressful week! I did like the small lesson in the wet plate collodion! Got my new thing learned for the day. :D

Also your cat? ADORABLE!

Maeg said...

Hi Kristen!

You sound so, so busy--but the end is in sight!

Amen to cleaning, I always feel so much better when I get my house in order. Although with 2 adults and 2 kids it always feels like nanoseconds before it's crazy again!


It's Me, Tamara! said...

I cannot wait to see your photos! I love different film/digital processes. By the way, I love your pictures of your cat. I feel like they're so crisp I can touch her fur. What camera did you use for them?

Kristen said...

Remy, yay new things! And yes she is!!! Thank you :)

Maeg, thanks so much for your sympathies! I feel so much better with a clean house too. It was probably not smart to spend half a day on it at this point, but I can't say I regret it! I feel things get dirtier much faster just having a cat now...I can't imagine with kids! Hats off to you!

Tamara, Thank you so much! You can see on the top photo of her here that she was moving a little fast for the settings I was using, but when she holds still she is easy to photograph! I use a Canon 7D, and since she is white and I usually am photographing her in a room with white walls, I set the exposure up around +1 stop or so to be sure the camera records her as white instead of dingy gray. I used natural light coming in from a south facing window, which I find to be really great for lighting photos!

Sarah O'Holla said...

Here's to summer and learning things! Keep up the good hard work Kristen, you can do it!