Columbus Arts Invitational

I’m really excited to announce that my image “Adlai Stein: Blacksmith” with be featured in the Columbus Arts Invitational happening this month at the King Arts Complex! Thank you to everyone who voted for my work on The Roy G BIV facebook competition!

A unique silver gelatin photograph of Adlai Stein, a blacksmith at the Columbus Idea Foundry, taken by Stephen Takacs as part of the Brownie In Motion project. ©Stephen Takacs Photography
A unique silver gelatin photograph of Adlai Stein, a blacksmith at the Columbus Idea Foundry, taken by Stephen Takacs as part of the Brownie In Motion project. ©Stephen Takacs Photography

This direct positive photograph was shot several months ago when Brownie and I visited Adlai’s studio at the Columbus Idea Foundry. Thanks goes out to Kate Morgan for her photo assisting skills!

The Brownie In Motion  Project visits the forge at Columbus Idea Foundry. ©2015 Stephen Takacs Photography
The Brownie In Motion Project visits the forge at Columbus Idea Foundry. ©2015 Stephen Takacs Photography
Adlai Stein holding a large paper negative at Columbus Idea Foundry © 2015 Stephen Takacs Photography
Adlai Stein holding a large paper negative at Columbus Idea Foundry © 2015 Stephen Takacs Photography

The exhibition will run from August 13- 30, 2015 and feature the work of numerous Columbus Arts Organizations, including Mother Artists at Work, Creative Women of Color, Urban Cultural Arts Foundation, Fresh AIR Gallery, Clintonville Arts Guild, Tacocat Collective and ROY G BIV gallery.

Awards Ceremony: Thursday, August 27, 6–8 pm @ King Arts Complex (867 Mt. Vernon Ave)

Check out the facebook event page for more info.

Camera obscura coming to the Columbus Arts Festival this weekend!

Hello everyone out there in cyber space,

If you’re tired of just seeing images of Brownie In Motion online and want to experience it in person, please come to the Columbus Arts Festival this weekend! I’ll be sharing the camera obscura with visitors from 11am – 9pm on Friday & Saturday and 11am – 5pm on Sunday.

Facade at 400 West Rich
Facade at 400 West Rich

If you’re in the neighborhood, I’d like to encourage you to come across the river to 400 West Rich for artist open studios starting on Friday from 7pm – 11pm and Saturday from 11am – 6pm. Although, I won’t be able to be able to participate in open studios this year (since I’ll be at the arts festival) I do want to encourage everyone to check out the work of some of my friends and explore the building where I spend so much of my time creating!

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FYI – If you’re feeling really adventurous, the World Naked Bike Ride will be happening on Saturday evening starting from 400 West Rich around 9:30pm.

Have a wonderful weekend!

-Stephen-

Rejoice! Ilford Photo’s Harman Direct Positive Paper is Back.

stephentakacs:

I’m really, really excited by the return of this wonderful paper! The Harman Direct Positive is what the Brownie In Motion Project has used almost exclusively to produce images with our room sized camera. Our paper supply has dwindled to almost nothing, so this announcement couldn’t have come at a better time!

Originally posted on :

Oh it’s a very, very good day. After over a year of it being out of production for various reasons, Ilford’s Harman Direct Positive fibre based paper is to make a return. Pinhole photographers the world over will be punching the air in delight.

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As described, direct positive paper has been popular among many analogue photographers because of the way it produces a positive image using normal black & white developing procedure. This makes it perfect for people experimenting with large format and of course the ever popular pinhole photography craze.

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From the IlfordPhoto.com website:

HARMAN DIRECT POSITIVE FB paper can also be successfully used in other applications such as direct exposure in large format cameras or by cutting small sheets for exposure in LOMO type cameras. Creative and unusual effects can be achieved when used to make photograms or perhaps substituted for standard photo paper when printing from…

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The Great Camera Build Off @ EASE Gallery

 

Reader of this blog may be wondering, “What happened to the Brownie In Motion team? Why did the story leave off so suddenly? Where are Micah, Steve and the world’s largest Brownie camera..?

I truly must apologize to you.  I left you hanging and for that I’m  very, very sorry.  The journey is far from over! Please let me explain.

What happened was that I returned to Columbus. I returned to take advantage of the opportunity to teach my dream class – Alternative Camera Systems – at The Ohio State University!

It was a very busy but very rewarding semester! During this upper-level photography course, undergraduate and graduate students explored an a-typical amalgam of photographic systems, including pinhole cameras, plastic lens cameras, peel apart film and a variety of DIY tricks. Though the class officially ended in mid December, our experience will culminate in an exhibition titled, ‘The Great Camera Build Off.’

 

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The Great Camera Build Off opens this Friday, January 9th at EASE Gallery in Columbus, Ohio and features photographs and handmade cameras created by OSU students.

Straw Camera by Sam Lustig. Photo by Joe Kapferer.
Straw Camera by Sam Lustig. Photo by Joe Kapferer.

Every artist participating in The Great Camera Build Off was tasked with creating a new camera using a piece of obsolete equipment that Bob Hite (the OSU photo lab manager) and I collected from dusty nooks, forgotten boxes and rarely touched cabinets at OSU and my own personal collection. The resulting exhibition features both the handmade cameras (many of which are quite sculptural) and the images produced by each.

Photograph by OSU student Joseph Kapferer from his four hole GameCube pinhole camera.

Although all of the cameras and images were created using analog (ie. film-based) materials, the output varies and includes digital inkjet prints, as well as those made in the darkroom.

Macro Instant Film Camera created by Ua Chamberlain. Photo by Joe Kapferer.

The Great Camera Build Off opens Friday, January 9th at EASE Gallery and runs until February 7th. If you’re local, please come to the opening reception tomorrow from 7-9 to say hello, meet the student artists and enjoy food and drink on us!

https://www.facebook.com/events/698235890283406

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EASE Gallery
30 W. Woodruff
Columbus, OH 43210

 

 

The Brownie In Motion team will return to regularly scheduled postings very soon. Thank you for sticking with us!

-Stephen-

 

 

Catfish Junction

A few miles west of the Oregon-Idaho border, after driving through Boise and what felt like a high altitude wind tunnel on Highway 84, we happened upon a little RV campground called Catfish Junction. On a less dramatic portion of the Snake River, the grounds are nestled in golden hills. There we met the tall, scraggly-bearded groundskeeper, Daren. Wearing a dilapidated black hoody and blown out denim jeans, his demeanor was laid back as one would expect from a cat fisherman and rural RV site overseer. He kindly lent us an old taped-up fishing pole and some fresh night crawlers. Seemingly, Daren doesn’t often meet many young travelers willing to step out of their RV’s, and was happy to chat with us about our adventures with Brownie In Motion.

Darren the groundskeeper at Catfish Junction. Holga photograph by Stephen Takacs.
Darren the groundskeeper at Catfish Junction. Holga photograph by Stephen Takacs.

On the boat dock, we cast out our lines while I played guitar to the rapidly shifting sunset. Ten minutes in, Daren got a bite. Casually working his fishing pole, he effortlessly reeled in a catfish over 2 feet long. “That’s your breakfast,” Daren said as he plopped the fish into a bucket for overnight storage. While removing the hook, he muttered, “Stupid cat,” over and over….

Apparently, this small portion of land is the only place where the sun sets in Idaho from the  Oregon perspective.
This small, historically rich portion of land is the only place where the sun sets in Idaho from the Oregon perspective.

Friday morning, we mingled with Daren while I prepared our catfish and French press coffee breakfast. He regaled us with stories about the Junction: natives raiding travelers on the Oregon Trail, an eccentric who used to farm a small island in the lake, and his own experience working heavy machinery in L.A. As we drove off, I couldn’t help thinking of this adventure as our own little salute to the Oregon Trail.

Until Next Time

  • Brownie In Motion Team

Twin Falls

The day after our sunburn-inducing adventure in the Bonneville Salt Flats, we spent time in Twin Falls, Idaho reaching out to contacts in Oregon and lazing in the park next to the local library. This was much needed rest after our foray in Bonneville’s muddy expanses. Before leaving town, we felt compelled to do some sight seeing.

Twin Falls Scenic View from a Highway Pull Off
Twin Falls Scenic View from a Highway Pull Off

Snake River runs westward through the awkward little town in an epic canyon ¼ mile deep. The site of Evel Knievel’s failed Skycycle X-2 steam-powered rocket jump across the river, a dirt ramp on the south side of the falls still serves as a tourist attraction. The canyon is littered with waterfalls cascading brilliantly into the river, however the overabundance of strip malls and buildings around the falls dilute its natural beauty.  I’m not sure if it was the town or the lack of sleep, but it left a strange taste in my mouth.

The amount of distance traveled and total waking hours began to take their toll on us. From Carbondale in Colorado, to Idaho via Utah in 72 hours, with no more than 10 hours of sleep we longed for rest. But movement is the name of the game; with only 48 hours until The Great Oregon Steam Up, again we hit the highway.

Wendover and Beyond

After being stranded in the Bonneville Salt Flats all day, we cruised the strip in Wendover, Utah; the nighttime streets lined with $35 motels. On the Nevada side of the border, bright Vegas-style lights advertise penny slots, $6.55 senior discounts, and all-night buffets.  A weird neon glow rises up into the desert sky. A place for Vegas dropouts, and vagrant Mormons to drown their woes, Wendover was clearly not built for high rollers. Technicolor temples of debauchery are seemingly the only things West Wendover has to offer.

After scanning the strip, we decided to get some cheap grub at a casino. Inside the Red Garter, patrons sit hypnotized by machines ringing out the merry music of paychecks being tossed aside. Countless slot machines and who-knows-what-else awaits the avid gambler inside these establishments. We ate our dinner at the Prospector Lounge, a neglected section of the casino with busted-out satin chairs and dull historical paintings commemorating the old west. The food was good enough; a simple biscuits and gravy for myself, and two eggs and toast for Steve. After reflecting on our day in salty hell, we chose to move forward and immediately made tracks for Twin Falls, Idaho. Driving up an old dusty portion of 93, I stayed wired on caffeine and chewing gum.

A view from our journey at the Bonneville Speedway.
A view from our journey at the Bonneville Speedway.

 

It was 3:00 AM before we settled into a RV park, a few miles north of our intended destination. Out in the open, surrounded by rural-suburban sprawl, our choice of campground was anything but ideal. Instead of a tree-lined grotto in the woods, the desolate concrete pad was lined with water and electrical hookups. Steve was furious about my decision to camp here as we rolled up to our pseudo campground. As we drifted to sleep in the parking lot, distant footsteps shocked my dull brain with a jolt of paranoia. Exhaustion took over and, before I could peek out of my sleeping bag, I was overtaken by troubled sleep.

Thursday morning in Jerome, Idaho, the fair grounds where we camped were milling with lazy preparatory activity for an upcoming event. Having expected to be harassed by the police, or worse, twisted local bumpkins whose motives and ethical standards would be no doubt questionable, rising to the gentle murmur of friendly fair grounds employees was a relief. The clanking of tent poles and humming of diesel engines quietly emanated from surrounding lots while we slowly and crustily rose from slumber. Despite our ratty appearance, we — wild-eyed, dusty punks passed out in their parking lot — were greeted with an offer of showers, friendly conversation and use of a hose to clean off our van.

SnakeRiver.ScenicHighwayView
Scenic Viewpoint in Twin Falls, Idaho

As I hosed-off the salty mud caked onto the bottom of our vehicle, I was struck by how fortunate we’ve been. All along our journey, the kindness of people we encounter continues to surprise and amaze us. From gifts of Girl Scout cookies to perfect strangers offering a place to stay, we’ve are grateful for everyone’s generosity and willingness to help two road-worn travelers.

Many thanks!

-Team Brownie In Motion

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Stranded in the Salt Flats

7:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning we were rearing to get out on the Bonneville Salt Flats to make photographs with the camera obscura. Our frolic in the mud the night before had caused some apprehension but thorough testing of the ground assured us of a securely packed salt flat with only a little water from the rain resting on top. In cinematic form we sped through to the flats with our video camera rolling. The loaded down Ford maxed out at 93mph but driving on the famed salt was an experience non-the less. We made a beeline straight into the immense salty white expanse while I stared off, hypnotized by the road cones and mountain ranges swirling past us.

Sunrise just outside the Bonneville Speedway. Photo by Stephen Takacs.
Sunrise just outside the Bonneville Speedway. Photo by Stephen Takacs.

Continue reading Stranded in the Salt Flats

Utah: The Road to Salt Lake and the Salt Flats

The road to Salt Lake City caught me off-guard. I knew Mormons had found the salt lake valley after wandering through the desert and decided it was a divine gift, but I was never aware or concerned with the logistics of this gift, nor had anyone ever described it to me with particular enthusiasm.

Stephen.Takacs.CruiseAmerica

 

Cruising through the mountains was awe-inspiring. In the south near Route 70, the rocks are hard and craggy; large double trailer coal mining trucks speed through the hills. As you proceed north, the landscape starts to undergo dramatic transitions. Within 100 miles, you travel from the Moab desert, up into the mountains, and then down towards Lake Utah. The descent is nothing short of magical. At the top of the mountains, the landscape becomes more fertile; shrubs and trees to rise in frequency, changing the world from the dead whites and greys into deep greens, blues, and browns. For a moment, mind you, just a moment, I think I saw what the Mormon’s were speaking of when they thought they had found Eden; sunlight gleaming through majestic peaks brushed by clouds while mighty pines climb steeply upwards. We sped through Salt Lake City with the commuters on the 8-lane, mega-highway-mecca-Blvd. The city at night was impressive. We cruised down 80W towards Bonneville, still tired from Arches, doing our best to stay awake.

The further west we went, the stranger things seemed to become. At one point along the freeway we saw what looked like a giant illuminated cactus, the only structure for 50 miles. Our eyes started playing tricks on us. Apart from our headlights, there was nothing but total darkness and some industrial operations deep in the hills. My eyes locked onto something in the distance, maybe a mountain range, maybe a UFO; I had no idea. It turned out to be the lights from Wendover, the town nearest the flats. We pulled into the Bonneville Speedway around 1:00 A.M. and started exploring.

A bullet riddled sign welcomes visitors to the Bonneville Speedway. Photo by Stephen Takacs.
A bullet riddled sign welcomes visitors to the Bonneville Speedway. Photo by Stephen Takacs.

A sign filled with bullet holes, eerie wind, and a blanket of stars became our playground. I had noticed earlier that day while setting up at Arches National Park that the poles of the Brownie’s frame sounded like giant wind chimes when struck against the ground. I unpacked a few and hit them against the hard packed desert floor. The vibrations I had heard earlier sustained a long ringing enhanced by the wind and silence of the desert. Different lengths of poles created wild overtones, slowly receding in the expansive nothingness. Steve set up a remote sensor on a flash behind the bullet-hole-ridden Bonneville Speedway sign, revealing the negative space created by gun totting yahoos that regular the flats. We spent at least two hours in the cool desert night.

Finding any clear information about camping at the flats had been a bit of a challenge. The BLM website (Bureau of Land Management) make vague statements about camping being permitted on adjacent land. So Steve pulled of on the side of the road to set up camp. There seemed to be a great deal of space to explore and camp on even further off the road, so I egged him on. It turns out a van with front wheel drive does not fare that well in mud. About 40 yards from the road, the van stopped and wheels started to spin. We freed ourselves by emptying some of our photo sandbags to gain traction in the slippery mud. About ten minutes later we were back on the road. Crisis averted we headed onto a deserted desert road to camp.

A tarp behind the van on the shoulder of the road was our campsite and sleep came easy. Having learned our lesson about the mud we were ready for the flats. Tomorrow would be a day of photographic fun in the bizarre desert world. Or so we thought…

Until Next Time,

-Micah

Team Brownie In Motion

Have Camera Obscura. Will Travel. Based in Columbus, Ohio. 614-721-5367.

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