Tuesday, August 20, 2013

2nd Anniversary Celebrated in Maine

  It's sunny with a warm breeze blowing in Belfast Maine and it's a splendid day and place to celebrate the second anniversary of me meeting Gilli-the-Gillig.

  On 7/20/2011 I pulled into the parking lot of a car dealership in Fresno California and, after seeing the beautiful mass of yellow and black towering above the grey concrete of the road, fell in love from first sight.  It wasn't long till I was behind the wheel in an open parking lot learning to drive my new baby.  She was about 4 times bigger than anything I have driven before and, needless to say, I was a bit intimidated.  Gilli handled wonderfully though and I felt at relative ease while driving her 160 miles to the hills above Santa Cruz, where she was to wait for another 6 months until the renovations began.  Since last spring we have been inseparable and the time has flown by in pure bliss and harmony.  Not a day goes by that I don't thank my stars for bringing us together and for the opportunities that this union had bestowed upon me.

  Last year on our first anniversary we had an amazing honor of having Rob McElroy make a daguerreotype image of Gilli and me in Buffalo NY (see the update from 2012).  This year I continued the tradition of anniversary photo shoots and of course wet plate was the medium of choice this time around.  Not having a long enough cable release I was unable to include myself in the shot, but I think Gilli came out rather well in these following images.

  So, since this update has started from today, let's go in revers timeline order to switch it up a bit.

  Here are the two images I made on the way to Belfast at a small coastal town of Lincolnville.  The nice beach seems to be the only thing they have there and the row of shops is tightly packed facing it.  People were enjoying the great weather and so I couldn't help but shoot that scene (had to turn around in a tight parking lot after I passed a location where I was to park for the shoot - it was worth it though).

  I started the day in Rockport Maine visiting the campus of Maine Media Workshops and College.  I had the history of photography display out and had a few visitors stop by to check it out.  Unfortunately this week all the classes there are in digital media, so I didn't have too many visitors.  I also neglected to give the folks there any notice of my arrival and so everyone was rather busy and didn't pay too much attention to the big yellow bus.  Nonetheless I did peek my head into the couple of darkrooms there and what I saw were adequate and clean facilities, which is what I like to see.
  I got to Maine Photo Workshops on Monday and after meeting a few of the faculty went downtown to shoot at the harbor with the following results.

  That night went to the lecture organized by them at the local opera house. The setting was rather marvelous, but it was the work of the first presenter that really made a lasting impression on me.  Connie Imboden has been exploring the human form using water and mirrors for the past 40 years and her images are truly striking, ranging from sensual to scary.  Being a largely documentary photographer in the 'straight' tradition I rarely see images of this nature that really resonate with me, but this was one of those exceptions. The lecture was wonderful and Connie's way of presenting was unpretentious and informative, which I enjoyed as much as the images.

  Prior to arriving at Rockport I took highway 1, which runs through a bunch of little towns that are overrun by tourists at this time of year.    They all seemed to be quite alike - quaint,  clean and culture-less - a perfect embodiment of vacation land that Maine claims to be.  I didn't make any stops knowing that there will be plenty of opportunities to capture that scene up the coast.
  I was coming from Portland, where I spent three days that were filled with adventures of various degrees of excitement.  My last night was spent parked in front of the house of Keith and Rosetta.  I met Keith last time I was in Portland and he bought one of my post cards.  This time, when we saw each other by the same exact parking spot where I was a year ago, it felt like a reunion of two good friends.  He's a fun guy and after a couple of beers and a lively conversation he invited me over for dinner saying that he'll make 'his specialty' - Philly Cheesestake.  Apparently not only is he originally from Philadelphia, but he also had a food cart and used to whip up this dish for pedestrians in various degrees of inebriation late into the night.   I think this was my first time having one of these famous subs and I must day they were delicious!  Not only that, but how many times can you say that a guy wearing a Viking horned helmet cooked one of those for you?  In the morning I actually made two plates of these lovely folks and left one with them as a memory of my visit.   

  Sunday was spent mainly on catching up on the emails and other neglected business, but I did happen to shoot these two plates before meeting with Troy R Bennett once more.  He was kind enough to sell me some more fixer as I am running out of it faster than I thought I would (more about Troy below)

  So Saturday was indeed the most productive and eventful day for me in Portland.  I woke up to a breakfast that Troy graciously bought for me at the local diner.  Troy says that in Portland, a city of 60.000+ there are only 4-5 places to have breakfast and the line was the evidence that he wasn't kidding, so those who want to open a diner - take note!  As I might have mentioned in the post about John Coffer's wet plate jamboree, I met Troy when I was in Portland last year.  Along with being a talented musician he works for Bangor Daily News and a photojournalist and does collodion photography as well.  This time, with ample notice, Troy was able to secure a reporter and so after breakfast we drove to a location by the water where Beth (the reporter) interviewed me for the Aticle in Bangor Daily News while Troy was busy shooting for it.  I think the piece turned out well, but I do have to remember to smile when being photographed even if the sun is right in my eyes and I'm concentrating on making a correct exposure.  Here are the images that I made at that location and then two more from a nit closer to the water.
This one is on glass and for some reason nasty black lines showed up all through it...

  It was not too long after that when Scott Anton (another wet plate photographer whom I have never met before) showed up with his lovely wife to pick up the 8x10 Century camera that I was transporting for him from Rhode Island home of Matt Wronski.  Scott is an excellent guy and apparently a super-baker.  He brought an apple/blackberry pie as part of the payment for the delivery and it was delicious!  I later shared it with Troy and we almost finished the whole thing, but I felt that it should be spread even farther, so a quarter of it was donated to the folks behind the counter of the coffee shop who let us consume outside food at their establishment.  Scott, his wife and I went out for a beer and dinner and had a nice time walking around and being bewildered by the nightlife of Portland.  Scott seemed surprised at the level of activity there.  He does live on a farm and the nearest town to him has population of 600, but to me, coming from San Diego, this was a normal drunken zoo.  After they left I went into a bar that had live music and listened to a cover band do everyone's favorites - they even did Mike's Song by Phish, so I couldn't help dancing then.  Here is Scott and his new camera.

And here is Troy later that day enjoying Scott's pie.

   The previous day I made the following plates after getting to Portland in late afternoon.
Double exposure of the observatory.
I made one last year on film and so it only seemed appropriate to do it again in tintype form.

  While I was walking around downtown someone had left flowers tucked into Gilli's mirror - what a lovely gesture! And people in general seemed to remember my previous visit.  I even found a note on my bench that was tossed through the window that was from someone I told last year about the sludge that's sitting at the bottom of my diesel tank and in the note there was a solution suggested.

   Before getting to Portland I passed through a few coastal towns and saw a neat little water park in Scarborough that seemed to ask to be photographed since it was pointing right at the road.

  Before that was a town of Alfred and it's historic church.  I can't remember the exact importance of it that was told to me by the lady who lives in the house pictured behind the tree in the image below, but I do remember her saying that one of the windows in the church is a stained glass Tiffany.
  It was a very pretty window indeed and I only wish I would have been able to see it from the inside, but, like every church in USA, the building was locked - if it's not Sunday then it's not time to visit a place of God....

  The day before (Thursday) I went through yet another Rochester - this time in Maine and made the following plates while showing the process to a few interested pedestrians who got drawn in by Gilli.

  I started the day by leaving my relatives in Boston and driving to a mall in Nashua Maine to consult Apple folks about how I can possibly run a PC program on my laptop.  I would like to figure out an easy and inexpensive way to do that so I would be able to pay tribute to my friend Kenneth who passed away last year and was very much into space exploration.  A group of his fiends are currently involved in a month-long project where citizens look for asteroids via the images provided to them by NASA.  Unfortunately that program doesn't run on Macs and so I am frantically looking for a solution that won't cost me $200, so I can help them out.  So far I have tried downloading a few programs, but can not seem to get them running...  I am an analog person! I would totally spend a month at NASA if they actually provided hard copies of those pictures...
 While waiting for my appointment I did make these two images - I think they embody the spirit of America no less than any other images I have made so far, maybe even more so.

  Well, this is the end to yet another update, which you, my dear reader, seemed to have finished reading.  I bid good night to all (day, morning or evening - whenever you might have stumbled upon this entry) and am off to try to find a nice quiet parking spot in Belfast where a man can rest overnight without being disturbed.  Tomorrow a lady from a nearby town who saw the article, talked about above, is meeting me here in the morning and is bringing over a few old photo items including some Spotone and Kodalith!  Don't know what Spotone and Kodalith are and why I put an exclamation point after them?  Well, too bad - you'll just have to ask me about it later!



  1. Замечательные снимки и блог! Снимаю шляпу перед таким подвижничеством

  2. Anton I must say I have been waiting for those pics from that great night in Portland.

    You are truly a fantastic artist, great conversationalist and a unique and original soul that's filled with a passion for your craft!!! The plate you made for us turned out spectacular and I wish you the best on your ever unfolding journey...can't wait to see you on your next trip through...

    May the wind be always at your back lad!!!

    Your friends from Portland,

    Keith & Rosetta