Developing my own film and a new series

For the past three weeks I have been taking a class at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Oregon. Those of us who live here are so lucky to have this great resource. Newspace offers many classes in both digital and analogue photography. I’m learning darkroom and having a lot of fun doing it although i have to admit it also makes me really appreciate the people at Blue Moon Camera who usually process my film. Then there is the printing…..I still haven’t achieved the ‘perfect’ print, but I’m going to have to be patient and keep trying.

A month ago I was driving down the Newberg-Wilsonville Rd and was stopped in my tracks by what I saw: clear cutting on both sides of the road. Where there was once a forest is now piles of cut down trees and bare land. Scenes like this have struck me before and I often stop and take photos. This one surprised me more than most and I’m not sure why, but I just can’t believe the county allowed this to happen. Maybe the fines involved are cheaper to pay for what the person doing this is to gain. I don’t know.  I thought this would make a good series for practicing my black and white film photography and then make my own prints.

So I started recording the cutting of the forest, in dense fog, processed my film and started making prints.  also started taking photos of how we use our land. Then I went to an exhibit at the Portland Art Museum. The feature artist is Robert Adams, a photographer who now lives in Astoria, Oregon. I was so surprised to see that his series is on clear cutting. The photos are shown with a series of the Oregon Coast so one side of the room is calm and serene and the other shows conflict in the woods. I will never be as famous as Adams and I only do this as a hobby but it got me thinking how difficult it is to have original work. As much as I like to think I’ve come up with an idea that no one else has done then ‘WHAM’ there it is. But I am going to push on with my own series and keep printing it in the darkroom. The photos might only ever see my walls at home, but I don’t care. I do it for myself and I think that is what we should all do. Just enjoy making photos.

clearing the land

clearing the land

stark contrast

stark contrast

trees and piles

trees and piles

what's left

what’s left

stumps

stumps

Good use of land:

plowing a new field

plowing a new field

planting an orchard

planting an orchard

A use of land that we never saw 20 years ago:

cell towers

cell towers

And what we see all too often:

dumping

dumping

All of these photos were taken on my Hasselblad 500 CM and Holga PAN cameras with Kodak T-Max film at 400 ISO.

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About gretchen

I love living in the Pacific Northwest being close to the mountains and the ocean. My hobbies include photography, travel, reading, biking, walking and gardening. I am an Anglophile at heart and try to visit the UK often. My camera goes everywhere with me.
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3 Responses to Developing my own film and a new series

  1. Walt says:

    It is such a shame! We saw that just the other day. And if you could just see the Fanno Creek Trail in the old neighborhood, it’s now adorned with another effluence pumping station, courtesy of the City of Portland. How could the County allow it to happen, against the protests of the neighbors?

    WD

    • gretchen says:

      Walt, I did see the new pump station when I walked the trail with Sue Breuner and Lori Howe a few weeks ago. I was shocked. I loved the house that used to be there and the woman used to be a really wonderful gardener. What an eyesore now. I can imagine the neighbors are not too happy.
      Have you gone to see the Robert Adams exhibit at the Portland Art Museum? I was already taking photos of areas with clear cutting and then I find Adams does the same thing….only he’s famous. Anyway, that exhibit plus the one upstairs are well-worth seeing.
      Thanks for looking at my blog.

  2. It broke my heart to see all those beautiful, living, stately trees just torn asunder. I’d love to find out the purpose behind the rape of all that land.

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