It's Been a Busy Summer

Time flies when it's 90 degrees every day.  No, time just flies.  This is an avocation, not a vocation (yet), so it rather takes second place to life.  Thus, no postings in almost a year.  Unlike a few million Twitter users, I don't believe that everyone has a right to my opinion.

That said, I have put some new work up.  There are two (I think excellent) portrait sessions under Pro Work (Stephany and Beckie).  We had a lot of fun doing these shoots, and you can expect more from these models in the future.  It is such a joy to work with people who take direction accurately and build on it from there.  Class acts, both of them.

And a special thanks to my assistant on Beckie's shoot, Katie Sheffield.  Katie is receiving a newly minted MFA from ETSU in December.

I also had a solo show in September at The Nest at Blackbird Bakery in Bristol, Virginia.  If you didn't catch it, most the show can still be found here.  The show was composed entirely of prints from film, and five images are silver gelatin prints.  The catalog is here, and some prints are still available.

Come back soon.  As the weather turns nasty, I might finally get some of the many film images that shot over the summer scanned and posted.

It's Been a While

I admire all of the photographers out there that can get out to shoot weekly (daily?) and publish their work to the internet that day.  Me?  I'm not so good.  It's been a couple of months since my last upload, but there are some new shots for the three of you out there that might look at this site.

I find my myself doing more and more film work and less digital.  I still pull of the Canon for dog shots and most professional work, and some of the pro work from late this year can be found here.  And if you are interested in a professional shoot, portrait or sports, I work a bit differently.  The shoot might be typical, or it may not, but I will donate all of the fee to a local charity.  If you want to help the community, have fun, and get some great shots for your Facebook or LinkedIn page, contact me.

As for film, I can't explain its allure.  I believe that the images that film creates cannot be duplicated by a filter.  It may come close, but it is not the same.  Furthermore, I know that the resolution from a new Canon 5DS R is approaching that of a good film scan, but it's still 35 mm.  The look of 6x4.5, 6x6, and 4x5 is different.  Not better for everyone, but different.  And seeing the image on the ground glass is a feast for the eyes; it pops in a way that an SLR cannot replicate.  If you ever see a photographer shooting with a view camera (the kind with the hood you pull over your head), ask to see the ground glass image under the cloth.

You might notice that there are no links to Facebook, Instagram, or Google+ on this site.  I'm a pretty private person (with a web site - oxymoron), and I am definitely old school.  I believe that if your work is good word will get out, and it will be lasting work.  So far word is isn't out, and I can't speak to the enduring part, but I will keep shooting because, well, I'm having fun.

Finally, my wife sent me a link to another photographer's web site today.  Typically, I will scroll through admire the images, and go on.  But this one I bookmarked to come back again.  Take a look at Alex Burke's phenomenal work.  And then please forget it when you look at my plebeian efforts.

Way Too Long

No excuses.  It's been too long since I have posed much for the three of you folks that visit this site.  Fact - My wife is not one of those three.

Since the last posting, I have had more works placed in local businesses.  If you give blood (and you should if you can), visit the Blood Assurance facilities in Bristol, Virginia or Kingsport, Tennessee to see my work.  I am quite pleased to be selected to grace their walls.  Many thanks to Adam Ellsworth and the great staff at these locations.

New film shots have been added as well.  I finally got the new Sinar P mounted to a substantial tripod.  That damn thing is heavy!  But, I have never seen a camera that can do what this one does.  I figure that I've got twenty-five years of shooting photos left in me, and it will take that long to master this camera.  It's going to be a fun time.

Big News!

Yes, it's Big News!  My photographs have been chosen to be the first works placed in the Artist Nest at Blackbird Bakery.  The two dozen pics are there now through 5 October, and range in price from $25 to $475.  56 Piedmont Avenue, Bristol, Virginia

Bigger news!  ALL PROCEEDS go to the Holly Help Spay and Neuter Fund.  That's right - 100%.  So go get some art for the house, and help a great cause.

Special Olympics 2014

It took a few weeks, but I finally have the 2014 Special Olympics pics posted.  The date was 5 April.

As I've said before, if you have never been to a Special Olympics game, go.  There is much to be learned from these people who are often overlooked by society.  And the joy seen on their faces can only be equaled by a five year old receiving a puppy on Christmas morning.

Every participant, every volunteer, every parent, brother, and sister was fantastic.  Thank you for letting me record your efforts.

Film, Film, Film!

Digital strokes your ego.  Film reminds you that you're human. - Matthew Mills, 2014

 

I love classic old machinery.  The skill and craftsmanship with which it was assembled is becoming a lost art.  And some of the most beautiful old machinery around today is cameras.  For a few bucks and some digging, you can get an old Kodak to sit on your desk to admire.  Spend a bit more, and you get a working model.

I have two Canon AE-1 cameras from the 1980s (I never checked the serial numbers).  One was an antique store find, with a 50 mm f1.8 lens and a good battery (an $8 item).  I paid $18 for it.  It now resides in my car trunk all of the time, and I used it for an impromptu portrait shoot with some Ilford Delta 400 film recently.  See Lacey on the Film page.

The grain was a bit off-putting at first.  I thought perhaps I had overdeveloped the roll (more on THAT later).  But as I looked at the shots more and more, the grain was part of the joy of those images.  Sure, I can fake it in Silver Efex, but this isn't fake; it's the real deal.

On developing.  I got tired of waiting for negatives to come back from California to see my work.  TheDarkroom.com does great work; I was just impatient.  So over the last few months I have collected everything I needed to get started developing my own B&W film.  It's easy, but dammed if it doesn't require patience too!  Thus far though, only two images on one roll were ruined.

You will notice a couple of new images from the latest old camera to enter the stable.  I recently picked up a lovely Rolleicord Va (85 mm, f3.5) with a bright yellow body.  It makes people smile.  Thus far, I have done nothing but some portraits, and the 6x6 cm format is proving to be a lot of fun.  Getting only 12 shots per roll means I can change out film more frequently and not feel bad about wasting film.

Finally, if you are kind enough to visit this site more than once, pay close attention to the People page.  This is to be a year of portraits, many using film.  Your comments, good and bad, are welcome.

Finally! New Pics!

At last!  Lots of new pics added.  Car show, downtown Bristol, and an old building being disassembled. 

 

Also, new film pics added.  These are the first from the new 4x5 field camera.  Pro grade?  Not even close.  But not totally trashed either. 

Blue Plum 2013 Images Are In! - Really!

I have finally uploaded all of the shots form the 2013 Blue Plum Festival.  Most of these have had no processing other than crop and exposure adjustments.  I put them all here for folks who might like to find their picture.

A LOT of these shots are from the Finish Line of the 5K race.  I tried to get every participant at or near the line, but when the runners were in tightly packed groups, the camera just couldn't buffer all of the shots.  My apologies if I missed you. 

Some of these shots were further processed, and have made it to the people page on this site.

 

Thanks, 

Matthew

Special Olympics Pics - Finally!

I have finally uploaded the images from the 2013 Special Olympics held in Bristol, Virgina in April.

This is my standard disclaimer for this shoot that I try to do every year.  These are very special and wonderful individuals.  Their enthusiasm, happiness, and determination shame most "normal" persons.  If you never attended a Special Olympics event, do so; you will be a better person for it.  You will be a happier person too.

 

Thanks, 

Matthew

Blue Plum 2013 Images Are In! - Sort Of

The first of the Blue Plum 2013 images have been posted.  I had nearly 1000 shots in five hours, so this will take a while to complete.  Keep visiting.

I was assigned to the 5K race, so there are LOTS of pics related to that.  When done, pics of most of the runners nearing or crossing the finish line will be posted.

Steam Power in Bristol

I just posted a few pics of Engine 630 as it passed through Bristol yesterday.

Diesel is efficient.  Diesel is clean.  Diesel is cheap.  Diesel is sterile.

Steam is cool.  People come out see steam engines.  Steam engines have whistles, not horns.  Kids love steam engines.  Adult men turn into kids over steam engines.  Long live steam power.

Want to see really cool pictures of steam trains, back when they did regular service?  Get this book.  O. Winston Link was a fantastic photographer, and he captured the last of widespread Americana as we romanticize about it.

Hurray for the Firefighters!

Today's uploads are a bit slow in coming, but this is not surprising.  More importantly, they include a few shots courtesy of the Bristol, Tennessee Fire Department. See the Bristol link on the left.

The men and women at the BTFD are the best.  They bent over backwards to let me in two stations to shoot, and they are extremely proud of their new Quint engine.  Most of the shots you see are of this magnificent machine.  A special thanks to Bunny at the Central station for making this happen.

Also in this upload are a few shots from a recent snow.  I had great expectations for snow on early spring blooms, but the images, putting it mildly, sucked.  THIS is why I am an amateur.  At least I can still afford to eat.

Film Shots Now Added

OK, short of Kodak 126 cameras and a single APS format camera from the 1990s, I have never shot film - until now.

I recently came across a couple of Canon AE-1 cameras with 50 mm lenses, and thought I might be fun to try.  Oh yeah, they were cheap too (average cost - $60).

After a failed attempt (through ignorance), I got back a roll of shots using Ilford Delta 100 film.  It was supposed to be just a test roll, to see if the camera worked.  I'm in love - real film grain beats digitally-created grain.  And the contrast is way cool.

I posted some of the more interesting shots on the new Film page.

Thanks again for visiting.  I hope you leave happier than when you arrived.