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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.

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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.

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.

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

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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.

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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).

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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.

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?

I will be giving a visiting artist talk at Furman University on June 2nd. The Olli Program for retired professionals has invited me to discuss 19th century photography and to present my wet plate collodion work to a class called “Reflections on Photography.” The class is held in the Herring Center for Continuing Education.  If the weather is nice, I’d like to do a demonstration of the process at the historic Cherrydale house on campus.

Cherrrydale House, Furman University

Cherrydale Alumni House (c. 1857-1860), Furman University

Tintype Image:  Wet Plate Collodion Process.  Plate Size:  2 7/16" x 3.5"

Tintype Image by Bryan Hiott.  Plate Size:  2 7/8″ x 3.5″ (Wet Plate Collodion Process).

This is a tintype image of the crossing at Reedy River behind the Peace Center for the Performing arts in downtown Greenville, SC.   The crossing is part of Greenville’s vibrant downtown life, connecting two walking paths along the Reedy River near Main Street in an area that features artist galleries, restaurants, shopping and hotels as well as outdoor performance spaces.

This is my first blog post in a while.  A move will do a lot to interrupt a normal routine.  So will a new job.  So will taking a new studio.  All three happened to me last summer – at once.  After 15 years in New York City, my wife and I moved back home to Greenville, South Carolina, where I opened a new photography studio in the old Taylors Mill.  I also began teaching art history and studio art at The University of South Carolina – Upstate.  But it is time to resume my postings, and I am including here a tintype that I made this week on location at the Reedy River Falls in beautiful downtown Greenville, SC.  I will post more of these location images in the coming week.  The tintype below was made with a 1916 Kodak Brownie camera.  It was a cold day, which can bring issues with the chemistry, and I was using old developer – which accounts for the stormy-looking streaks at the top of the image.  In spite of all that, I still like it very much.

Tintype of Reedy River Falls in downtown Greenville, SC.

Tintype of Reedy River Falls in downtown Greenville, SC.  Image Size:  2.75″ x 4.5.”

The Reedy River Falls were long obscured by a 1960s era bridge, connecting Camperdown Way with the lower Main Street area on the West End.  As part of its downtown revitalization plan, the city of Greenville approved the demolition of the old conventional bridge and replaced it with the Liberty Bridge, a unique, curved and cantilevered suspension bridge for pedestrian traffic.  Providing dramatic views of the falls and the city beyond, the Liberty Bridge has become extremely popular with downtown visitors and is iconic of a progressive Southern city.  Thanks to the superb leadership of Mayor Knox White, Greenville has become attractive to international businesses and professionals seeking a combination of affordable location, great quality of life, ample cultural resources and a modern, vibrant downtown.  I’m happy to be back here!

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Tintype of the Liberty Bridge, Greenville, SC (Whole Plate 6.5″ x 8.5″). Taken with and 1872 Ross lens.

 

Daguerrotype of Dr. Maximillian LaBorde of Columbia, SC (May 1840)

Dr. Maximillian LaBorde

 

In Partners With The Sun:  South Carolina Photographers 1840-1940, Harvey S. Teal discusses the first photographic portrait made in the state, a daguerrotype of Dr. Maximillian LaBorde who was a a professor of metaphysics, logic and rhetoric at South Carolina College (now The University of South Carolina).   Dr. William H. Ellet, a colleague of LaBorde’s at the college, made that daguerrotype in May 1840.

LaBorde did not enjoy the tedious process of sitting for the long exposure and later recorded his displeasure with the whole experience in his History of South Carolina College, published in 1859.  It seems that Laborde was so unhappy with his own likeness that he eventually disposed of the daguerrotype:

 

When the first intelligence was brought of the brilliant discovery of Daguerre, Dr. Ellet set to work at once and was taking photographic likenesses before the next vessel crossed the Atlantic.  I think I was his first subject – I might say, victim.  He had informed me he was getting up an apparatus, and I was under contract to sit for for my likeness.  When all things were ready, he called, and took me to the scene of his operations, which was in the rear of his laborotory.  The spot selected was one of the sunniest in the “sunny South,” and the day was one of the hottest in a Southern spring.  The reader will bear in mind that the art was now in its infancy, and that the effort of the professor was strictly experimental.  The light was to sketch the picture, and it was conceived that everything depended upon having enough of its August presence.  To make sure of this, a frame of ten square feet was constructed, and upon this was spread a sheet of show white canvas.  I was required to sit with my head uncovered in the hottest sun at noon day, and this frame of canvas was placed immediately behind me.  My situation was about as painful as that of Regulus when the Carthagenians cut off his eyelids, and brought him suddenly into the sun, that it might dart its strongest heat upon him.  How long I occupied the chair I cannot tell, but I know repeated attempts to catch my likeness were made, and that my poor brain felt as if it would burst from congestion.  At last it was announced to my infinite joy, that he had a portrait.  I left my seat with feelings of a martyr.  There was a portrait; but what a portrait!  The eyes were closed, the forehead corrugated, and the expression hideous.  Yet it was a portrait, and the great fact proved that light could paint it!  I preserved it for many years, and though I would not have it to grace the present volume, I would be glad, on account of its historic interest, if it had a present existence.  

 

Partners With The Sun