Looking Ahead

It’s another late night here in New York as I sit down to write this. I finally finished working overtime on Tuesday night and left the office to return home my normal time yesterday and today, but I have to admit that I’m still feeling kind of tired from it all. Additionally, a lot of stuff piled up here that needed to be taken care of, which is one reason why I’m off to a late start writing this.

I had wanted to write about my plans for 2008 last time but decided to wait until this posting to do so. Perhaps ‘plans’ is too strong a word for what I’m thinking of – just as the word ‘resolution’ is too strong for some – some I’ll just say that these are some things that I would like to do (or at least try to do).

I’ll start off by writing about something I know that I’ll definitely have to do: spend money!!! Two things of great importance need replacing rather soon and neither one is cheap. First is my scanner, which is what I use to scan my negatives so I can post them here on the blog , my website and other places. The one that I have now is an Epson 4490 flatbed scanner that scans 35mm and medium format film. I bought it less than two years ago because my previous Epson scanner was giving me black lines through my film scans.

Well, guess what. The new scanner is now doing exactly the same thing! I also sometimes have to turn it on and off several times until it’s ready to scan (as happened tonight). I explained this to the repairman at the place where some work was done on it last year, and he suggested that it would probably be better to just get a new one.

So there it is. It seems that every scanner I buy needs to be replaced once every two years or sooner. Wonderful. So, the question now is, what do I get next? Any suggestions anyone for a flatbed that scans medium format film? Right now I’m considering getting the Epson V500, which is a step up from my 4490 and also uses an LED light source rather than a lamp. I’ll need to make a decision soon as a scanner is something I really depend on.

For now, I’ll hold onto the one I have now until I get a new one – and as I’m still able to make reflective image scans with it, I scanned some old 8×10 RC prints tonight to post here. These are photos that I made way back in 1995 and 1996 – my first years photographing nudes – so you can see if I’ve gotten any better in the past ten years or so.

The other thing I need to get pretty soon is a new camera bag. As some of you may have read here last year, my current camera bag seems to have carried its last lens. I bought the bag back in 1995 when I bought my medium format system and, though it’s been falling apart for years, I’ve held onto it because I can’t find another bag as good as this one (and it is no longer made).

Finally, flying from Tibet back to Beijing last year, I loaded so much into the bag (trying to reduce the weight of my suitcase to get it under the checked baggage weight limit) that the shoulder strap broke off and the handle on top of it was literally ripping at the seams. Again, I’ll have to see what’s out there and hope that something will be good for me. Whatever it is, I have no doubt about one thing – it will be costly!

Now, as to other plans, I do intend to continue my series of travels to Asia. I’m hoping to go on a trip to Laos and Cambodia in the next few months – a first visit to Cambodia and a second one to Laos, which is a fairly quiet place that I rather like. Now that I’ve gotten some more vacation time from all of the overtime that I worked recently, I may have enough time to go on a second trip – perhaps to Mongolia or China.

Of course, I also intend to continue photographing nudes. Unlike my travels, however, photographing models is not something that I plan too far ahead if at all. I haven’t worked with a model since July, so I’d thought of making plans to do so sometime very soon, but with the expenses that I mentioned above coming up quickly, I think I’ll hold off for a while longer.

To photograph models here in New York, I have the choice of either working in the makeshift studio I set up in my living room with tungsten lights and a gray or black backdrop (very, very limiting) or finding a location elsewhere (very difficult in a highly populated area like New York City – and too cold most of the year, too).

I am hoping to attend the annual Community Zoe get-together in Sepember, which should give me the chance to work with several models over several days, but other than that nothing is planned. I’ve thought of taking a drive up to Nova Scotia for about a week to work with models there, and Dave Levingston has asked me to come out to visit him again to work with models he knows in his area, but if I take a second long-distance trip as described above, I won’t really have the time to do either of those things.

Otherwise, here are a few other things that I’d like to do:

1) Get back to printing. There’s nothing wrong with scanning negatives and posting them on the web, but that does not an art object create. The actual art objects that I seek to create are well made B&W fiber prints that I make myself. I haven’t done this for several years and now it’s time to get back.

2) Try to get those prints on the wall. I should try to enter my photos for exhibition opportunities, and there’s a cooperative gallery here that I’ve been thinking of joining for quite a few years. Maybe it’s time that I finally applied for membership.

3) I’m someone who always seems to get less accomplished than hoped for when doing things, so I should try to structure my time better and spend less time sitting in front of this screen and talking on the phone. There are plenty of negatives that need to be put into pages and plenty waiting to be scanned – as well as there being plenty of DVDs waiting to be watched for the first time – so I should be more diligent.

4) Make my 2009 calendar available on time in early December, not in very late December as with this year’s (though some people have bought a few).

5) Begin working on a book project of my nudes. Other photographers have done this with photos from just a few years (or even less than one year), but I’ve got a dozen year’s worth of nudes to choose from. Of course, going through all of my nudes from 1995 onward and choosing which ones to include will be an enormous task – but one needs to start sometime.

6) Get out and view more art. I just renewed my membership with the Metropolitan Museum of Art to the tune of $95. It takes a long time for me to get to and from the Met by subway, so one reason I joined is that it would get me to go more often on the theory that I’ve already paid for my admissions. That really hasn’t worked out as planned and I’ve missed seeing a lot of wonderful exhibitions (like the Rembrandt and Dutch painting show that just closed), so I should try to go more often. The same goes for the International Center of Photography. Galleries don’t charge for admission, but I used to go to them quite a bit and just don’t do so anymore. Time, like I said, to get out there into the art world again.

So, with that one, I will call it a day – or rather, a night. I’m not sure what I’ll write about next time, but I’m sure I’ll think of something. Stay tuned.

About Dave Rudin

Dave Rudin is a fine art photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. He specializes in art nude and travel photography, using black & white film and making silver gelatin prints in a darkroom.
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4 Responses to Looking Ahead

  1. Lin says:

    >>> There’s nothing wrong with scanning negatives and posting them on the web, but that does not an art object createEeek! Does this mean we’re not producing Art because our printer has been broken for the last 6 months?! Art viewed online is just as much an artistic object as something physical you can hold. (Please feel free to disagree, but it may get bloody!)Incidentally Rich bought the Epson V500 a couple of days ago. Haven’t tried it yet, but full report in due course.

  2. WillT says:

    I agree with Mr. Rudin, but let me phrase it differently: A piece of photographic art is not fully realized until it’s printed. It’s very much like the difference between foreplay and after-glow.

  3. Lin says:

    Thanks Will, but I think I’d actually have to see Mr Rudin’s work in print before I decided whether it fell into the “foreplay” or “afterglow” categories :-)Sheesh….where do these metaphors come from?But yes,I know what you both mean. I’m not a photographer, but even I get that photographic art has incredible visual impact if it is a high quality print which is hung in a gallery. By the way Dave, the scanner is very good, but we’ve only tried it on B+W drawings so far, not on actual high resolution photographic images.

  4. Dave Rudin says:

    Thanks for commenting, Lin and Will.Regarding Lin’s comment that what she and Rich are producing is still ‘art,’ even though their printer has been broken:Yes, I will agree with you on that, but what you are producing by posting work online are not ‘art objects’ as I define the term. I think of ‘art’ as something of an abstract concept but an ‘art object’ as something tangible and with three dimensions – i.e., something with a physical presence. Therefore, an image on a computer screen is part of the abstract artistic process and is encompassed by the term ‘art,’ but in my book it is definitely not an ‘art object,’ but rather a shadow of one.Of course, those who know me should know that I don’t consider mass produceable, machine made, push button inkjet prints to be true fine art photographic objects, either – but that’s something that I’ll deal with in another blog posting!Thanks also, Lin, for the early results of the V500 testing.

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