14497_10151617731483009_438214526_n

Debbie – Tintype (4.25″ x 5.5″)

This selection contains whole plate (6.5″ x 8.5″) tintypes and ambrotypes.  Each image may be shown as an object without reproduction, or may be presented as archival pigment print at a larger scale.  I have limited edition prints available in sizes up to 23″ x 30″.

Two of my submissions were selected for the upcoming  Alternative Processes exhibition at the SE Center for Photography in Greenville, SC.  The opening will be May 5th (6:00-8:00 p.m.).  The juror for this exhibition is Jill Enfield, an internationally known alternative process artist and educator, who teaches at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City.

Jill has written and lectured extensively on photography.  She recently published, Jill Enfield’s Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes:  Popular Historical and Contemporary Techniques.  She will attend the opening reception and is scheduled to give an albumen printing workshop at the SE Center for Photography on May 6-7.

For this exhibition, Jill selected “Tintype Portrait of Vanessa,” and “Tintype Abstraction #2.”

Tintype Portrait of Vanessa. 19th century wet plate collodion process.

 

Tintype Abstraction #2: archival pigment print from a tintype.

I have two limited edition 20″ x 30″ archival pigment prints at Mary Praytor Gallery in Greenville, SC.  These are from high resolution scans of my 6.5″ x 8.5″ wet plate collodion tintypes.  Portrait of Julie (first below) won the Award of Excellence at the 2016 Artisphere Juried Artists of the Upstate Exhibition.  Each print is from an edition of five. For availability and prices, contact the gallery directly.

Portrait of Julie – 20″ x 30″ Archival Pigment Print (2016).

 

Portrait of Ann – 20″ x 30″ Archival Pigment Print (2016)

Screen Shot 2017-02-04 at 1.16.38 PM.png

As part of Alternative Processes:  A Group Photography Show, I gave a visiting artist talk, along with  photographers Kim Sholly and Blake Smith, in the Vandiver Gallery of the Thrift Library at Anderson University on February 2, 2017. We had great attendance for the opening event of the spring semester.  The gallery was packed with students from the Department of Art and Design at Anderson, as well as a large number of interested students other departments.

Screen Shot 2017-02-04 at 1.17.11 PM.png

Alternative Processes is concerned with non-digital photographic processes, and most of the work in the exhibition was made using the historic 19th century wet plate collodion process, along with traditional black and white darkroom processes.

13263741_10209888725244062_1143877184500517198_n

Got to meet Sally Mann at a book signing at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC

Yesterday, I was so pleased to meet Sally Mann, one of my favorite artists.  She was at Malaprop’s Bookstore in Asheville, NC to read from her recent memoir Hold Still, and she signed copies of it afterwards.  For over a decade, two of her beautiful photography books, Deep South and What Remains, have been in my collection as points of reference, and I got Hold Still as a gift last year.  It is superbly written.  Most people don’t know that Mann’s first love was writing.  She has an MFA in creative writing from Hollins University.

I have admired Mann’s photography since first seeing it in books, and then seeing it exhibited in New York City galleries.  In a time when most photographers have abandoned film and fully embraced digital image making, Mann remains staunchly analogue in her approach to the medium.  In fact, for much of the last 20 years, she has used the 19th century wet plate collodion process to create her images.  It is a labor-intensive, chemical process that is subject to accidents and contamination that Mann refers to as “serendiptious.”  Each emulsion on glass or metal must be hand-poured.  It is often the accidents of the process that, to use her words, “miraculously transform” an ordinary scene into something incredible.

13230333_10209888172350240_4379838354526435055_n

The line outside Malaprop’s to see Sally Mann.

Mann has a passionate following among artists and those interested in photography, and this was on full display yesterday.  Her reading at Malaprop’s was standing room only, and many people (myself included) had to wait outside for the book signing.  The line to see her was out the door, stretching down the block and around the corner.  It got longer as the evening progressed.  Driving up from Greenville, SC, my wife and I had been delayed by a traffic accident on I-26, not arriving in Asheville until twenty minutes before the event was to begin.  It was clear from the long line that we had little hope of gaining admission.  Through Malaprop’s window, I caught glimpses of Mann as she read, and could hear parts of what she was saying.

After an hour online, when the Q&A session ended, we were allowed to move inside and form behind those already in the store to have books signed.  I’d brought Hold Still, as well as What Remains and Deep South.  When my turn came to speak with Mann, I told her that I thought I’d overdone it with my enthusiasm.  Mann was gracious enough to sign all three books, and we talked a bit about the wet plate process.  We also talked about a few of the people we know in common  through this archaic process.  It was the sort of thing I wish could have been done over coffee with her for an afternoon!  But as long as the line was and with as many people as there were still behind me, I moved on.

Sally_Mann

As an MFA student in photography at Parsons School of Design, I did my thesis work at Gettysburg.  I had been studying the images of the Civil War and was haunted by their tonal quality.  The optics of 19th century lenses, especially Petzval designs, and the time-based aspect of long exposures also interested me, the way a sudden movement would render someone ghostly, or the rush of wind would move tree limbs to change a scene entirely.  It was through seeing both the 19th century wet plate images as well as Mann’s exquisite and emotionally powerful contemporary work with that process that I became interested in learning to do it myself.  I took  a wet plate workshop with Eric Tubman through the Center for Alternative Photography (now called Penumbra Foundation), and later took a workshop with wet plate master John Coffer.

sally_mann_last_measure_01_0

Image by Sally Mann from Battlefields.  Wet Plate Collodion Glass Plate Negative.

The idea of working very close to home has always been important to Mann, as well as working with the land to which, being Southern, she has always had a very strong connection.  In What Remains, the 2005 documentary about her life and work, she says, “I’ve nothing be respect for people who travel the world to make art, who put exotic indians in front of linen backdrops.  But it’s always been my philosophy to try and make art out of the everyday and ordinary.”  It is no wonder that one of my other favorite artists, photographer William Eggleston, shares this view.  I also agree wholeheartedly with another of Sally Mann’s philosophical points:  that if you cannot photograph the things you love, then you cannot make good art.  This is something I’ve thought about a lot and put into practice in my own art since returning to South Carolina after a sixteen year sojourn in Brooklyn and the Bronx.

I am very pleased that I had two works accepted into the Artisphere 2016 Artists of the Upstate Juried Exhibition.  One of those works, Portrait of Juile, won the Award of Excellence, and was announced at the opening reception on the first day of Artisphere, Friday May 13th.  My work was a 32″ x 40″ archival pigment print on Epson cold press paper.  The image is from one of my original wet plate collodion tintypes.

13173917_10209863140604462_8823284495470356500_n

The award was presented by Alan Ethridge, Director of the Greenville Metropolitan Arts Council.

10620553_10209711662894929_5654811190454916556_n

Julie’s parents, Rev. Bob Chiles and Christine Zimmerman Chiles, were at the reception along with my wife, Debbie Rice.  Julie posed for my tintype on location at Tigg’s Pond in Zirconia, NC.  Julie is a very talented musician in The Buck Stops Here, a bluegrass band that just released their first album.  She had her fiddle with her in the shot and was wearing her mom’s wedding dress.

 

photo-18

Ambrotype by Bryan Hiott.  Photo:  Madge McKeithen

A few years ago, New School writing professor Madge McKeithen gave a workshop for my wife’s Blueridge Writer’s Workshop at Lake Summit, NC.  She posted about her experience there on her blog  New York + Points South.  These are some of my favorite excerpts from that post.

Who expects surprise when a creative couple leaves New York for up-country South Carolina? Debbie Rice and Bryan Hiott made the leap in 2012, friends’ admonitions trailing them — “when you move to a rural place, your mind slows down.” A year later, Debbie has produced two successful rounds of the Blue Ridge Writers Workshop, one at Lake Lure, NC, and this year’s at Lake Summit, near Saluda, NC; she is volunteering at Hub City Press and Bookshop, is writing poetry, and has a treasured routine visiting her 90-year-old father’s nearby home every evening. Bryan Hiott is up to his elbows in the ambrotype photography he loves in a spacious studio north of Greenville, SC, and is teaching photography and art history at three area colleges this fall (two more than last year).

The week-long workshop emphasized interdisciplinary work in the arts and combined writing with music and the visual arts.  As part of the workshop, I made ambrotype portraits of the participants as well as landscape images.

Wonderfully meshed with the week’s creative experience was Bryan Hiott’s photography. To watch him work, to hear him speak about it is to take in a history lesson, an artistic passion, a skilled craftsman’s meticulous attention to detail, and a content practitioner’s deep pleasure. Friday and Saturday, he set up his camera and developer’s materials, made ambrotypes of landscapes and then turned more directly to his current fascination with portraits and photographed each of us at the lake house. To sit for Bryan’s photography is an experience like none I’ve had. First there is the photographer — in this case an engagingly intelligent, serious, and yet very funny man. Then there is the process which he calmly, ably narrates, all the while attending to his materials — the box of a camera with its heavy drape, the plastic pans of chemicals — discussing exposure time, the nature of the chemical baths, the “development” of the final product over the course of multiple steps.  As the onsite developer (another box and drape under the carport, not moving), Bryan interacts with the image appearing; there is a sense of creating alongside the mechanism that is different from a typical photo shoot today.  Holding the pose for the time requested (mine for 19 seconds, best I remember) and following the instruction not to smile (smiles held for the time required can look odd, rarely good, he told us) and experiencing something not of this but of a bygone era, something of Matthew Brady, Queen Victoria, the American Civil War, the sense of being seen and not heard was a memorable experience for a group of the wordy sort.

Our very talented friend, cellist Sharon Mulfinger Gerber, gave a wonderful solo performance on the dock as twilight fell and the stars began to come out.

photo-32

Sharon Mulfinger Gerber.  Photo:  Madge McKeithen

5.Hiott_Tintype_Sharon

Portrait of Sharon – Wet Plate Collodion Ambrotype (6.5″ x 8.5″)

13103321_10153658004662426_2368427688050741978_n-1

It’s a pleasure to be a mentor for Antonio Modesto Milian, a Brandon Fellow at the Greenville Center for Creative Arts in Greenville, SC. Thanks for asking me to be your mentor, Antonio! You all did a superb job yesterday at the Artist Talk, and I look forward to seeing this through to your exhibition in August!  The other fellows are Naomi Nakazato and Glory Day Loflin (Photo by the super supportive Latosha Nicole Milián).

1441247303868

L to R:  Naomi Nakazato, Antonio Modesto Milian, and Glory Day Loflin

Bios of the inaugural group of Brandon Fellows at the Greenville Center for the Creative Arts:

Naomi Nakazato is a graduate of Anderson University, where she focused on painting and drawing as well as the history of portraiture. Communicating the challenges and experiences of mixed ethnicity is the driving force behind her work. She is passionate about helping other young artists experience and understand their identity through art. The Brandon Fellowship will give Naomi the opportunity to explore new approaches and mediums in which to pursue these goals.
Anthony Modesto Milian is a graduate of Greenville Technical College and has pursued studies in hospitality at Bob Jones University. He is the creator of the popular Faces of the Upstate page on Facebook, which highlights the beauty of the diversity in our community, and through which he fosters dialogue and reflection on social issues.  As a Brandon Fellow, Anthony will hone his technical and artistic skills to enhance his street photography and the impact of his project. He also plans to explore publishing a book depicting the cultural richness of the Faces of the Upstate.
Glory Loflin is a graduate of the Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art in New York City where she studied painting and an alumna of the Fine Arts Center and the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. She has taught arts to children and volunteered her artistic abilities to benefit a variety of causes, from raising awareness of human trafficking to promoting a local farmers’ market and helping feed the homeless. As a Brandon Fellow, Glory will continue championing social issues through the arts while preparing a portfolio of ceramics work in view of applying to graduate school in this medium.
The Brandon Fellowship will provide Naomi, Anthony, and Glory with individual studio space, a stipend for art supplies, access to a variety of classes, as well as guidance and mentorship from the other GCCA studio artists and exhibiting artists.

Two_Ladies

Greenville, South Carolina

Greenville, South Carolina

Social Media Obsessed on Main Street - Greenville, SC

Social Media Obsessed on Main Street – Greenville, SC

While out on a date, the importance keeping all your friends updated on the progress of the evening cannot be underestimated. We have all become scribes to the lives we live. How did it get this way?

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 5.26.44 PM.png

Photograph by Bengt Alm – Uneasy Streets

Since last year, I have been curating a Flickr group called Uneasy Streets.  I accept about 5 of every 100 submissions.  Most of the images are from urban streets, but I also include compelling images in close proximity to the street (i.e. along the shore and in subway entrances).  These are the guidelines for my selection process:

I’m looking for intense street photography of people at close range, images that capture interesting interactions among people and the energy of life in the city.

I’m also interested in moments that capture the tension that is evident between subject and photographer, as well as moments when people seem isolated within the city.

PREFERRED IMAGES: compelling, gritty, new visions of people in the city, compositions that demonstrate keen observation and intuition as a photographer, capturing odd, tense, or humorous moments. I also want images that provide a sense of drama, invite a narrative, capture juxtapositions and visual puns, or make me ask a question.

*** No street images without people

*** No images that are more about the architecture than people the people shown.

*** No obviously posed group images.

*** Please do not submit cityscapes, sunsets, babies in strollers, tourist snapshots, flowers, or anything not related to the group description.

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 5.31.57 PM.png

Photograph by “Johnny Shakedown” – Uneasy Streets

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 5.12.56 PM

Photograph by Rammy Narula – Uneasy Streets

Screen Shot 2016-04-16 at 5.19.35 PM

Photograph by ilan Ben yehuda (Jerusalem) – Uneasy Streets

 

 

 

Old Main at Wofford College (2016)

Old Main at Wofford College (2016).  Image by Bryan Hiott

 

I’m pleased to have two of my archival pigment prints accepted into the Wofford College Archives in Spartanburg, SC. Both prints are from this digital image of Old Main, which was built in 1854.  The original image was in color, and I converted it to black and white and toned it in Photoshop. I then combined it with a portion of a digitally scanned glass plate from the 19th century. I wanted the final image to have the look of an albumen print from a wet plate collodion negative. Ancient and modern!  Backpacks and shorts were not worn on campus in the 19th century.

 

Public conversational gesture. Greenville, SC. Video at 85% normal speed with no sound.

This is the video counterpart to my ongoing series of narrative portrait images, exploring nuances of gesture and interaction on the street.

 

Public conversational gesture. Greenville, SC. Video at 35% normal speed with no sound.

This is the video counterpart to my ongoing series of narrative portrait images, exploring nuances of gesture and interaction on the street.