Happy Monday everyone!
Here we are, the final Monday of the month of January, and I don’t know about you, but to me it REALLY feels like time is flying! On this past Saturday (Jan 26) I completed another goal of my Artist Residency, when I delivered my Artist Talk and followed that with a demonstration of the Kallitype Photo Process. We had a really great turn out for both events, and though it was a long day, I am super happy with all the positive response. And the applause. Applause is always good!
The talk was scheduled to begin at 2 pm, but we started a few minutes late while we waited for everyone to get seated, and then I pretty much went non-stop for 45 min. I could just imagine friends saying ‘Jen, take a breath!’, but I was a little too excited and just got carried away!
In theory, the talk was divided into sections: an introduction (who is Jen Perena?), details about my residency, the inspiration behind my exhibit, and info about the kallitype process.
I prepared a Powerpoint of approximately 20 slides to support the sections, but didn’t really follow it; this happens when I am over prepared – I have the slides and content memorized, but not the actual script of the presentation. And I personally find presentations that follow the slides bullet-by-bullet to be pretty dull, so I did my best to weave a story. At times I felt like I was rambling, but I recorded the whole thing on my iPad, and after watching it back later, I was OK with it. Everything that I wanted to cover was covered, and there were some great questions at the end.
If you are interested to watch/listen, the 56-minute video (talk + Q&A) has been uploaded to Youtube. You can’t see the audience or the slide presentation, but my hand gestures and facial expressions should keep you entertained!!
Click here for my Artist Talk Video on Youtube
After the talk we had roughly 35 minutes for mingling where I got to greet folks who had missed the opening. Lots of very special visitors, including my former art teacher from Wheatland-Chili Central School, who was the person that first introduced me to developing film and making black-and-white prints in the teeny-tiny, closet-like darkroom in our high school. I was thrilled she was able to see the show, and also pleasantly surprised to hear that they STILL have a darkroom (!), and that photography is still part of the art curriculum there! I will have to make a date to get over there and visit.
Also, in case folks were interested, I had brought samples of some of my other alternative-process work (palladium prints, wet plate collodion glass positives, tin types and salt prints), plus a pile of ‘rejected’ kallitypes, and a couple of the leather-bound photo albums that my grandfather had put together which had impacted and influenced me as a child (referenced in my Artist Statement in the previous blog article). Attendees were free to review all of that while others took in the exhibit. I sold two more pieces, plus one of my reject prints, and then it was time for the demo!
About 12 folks were patient enough to wait for me to wrap up the talk and start the demo. I had gone in early to set everything up, so just needed to transition out of my ‘narrative mode’ and more into a ‘teaching mode’. I started by describing the water color paper and brush I was using, the chemicals we use (silver nitrate and ferric oxalate), the option to add a contrast booster (not needed for this demo), and then dove into the process: first, coat and dry the paper, then expose the print, then develop-tone-and-fix.
It was interactive, but also a little more challenging than I expected because I usually make my work without other people around, and once you start talking, and they ask questions which you answer, you kind of get distracted. What was I just doing? Is the paper dry enough? How long did I set the timer for? You get the picture. In any event, I lucked out and the print worked!
After putting the first print on the drying rack, most of the attendees left, but my cousins had arrived about part way through the process of print #1, so I offered to do another one. I explained the whole process to my 5-year-old cousin while her dad took pictures of us. Hopefully she thought it was neat.
Anyway, I have to thank a few folks for their help with the talk. Thank you Mark and Liz for setting up the Sunken Room; Thank you Megan for the help with the projector and for taking photos; Thank you Susan for another beautiful flower display; and Thank you to everyone who came and listened, took photos of the events, left me some comments in the guest book, and especially those of you who purchased a print, and in doing so, are supporting the Photo Dept. I am really, really grateful for all the love!
And now, finally, my Residency is nearing it’s end. I’ll continue to make work for the month of Feb, and will probably have at least one or two more blog articles showing you what else I’m up to. Til then, I hope you are all staying warm this week!