The Iwo Jima photograph 3

The 5×4 inch sheet of film that photographer Joe Rosenthal exposed on Mount Suribachi during World War II was transformed in 1954 into a 60 foot high bronze sculpture. This is a unique metamorphosis: from film to bronze, from 2D to 3D, from small to large.

The sculptor of the Iwo Jima monument was Felix de Weldon, a Vienna-born artist who achieved fame as a sculptor in Britain before arriving in the US. He can be seen in these photographs of the making of the Marine Corps monument. These strange images record his transformation of the photograph into a giant sculpture.


De Weldon refines the soldier’s boots that have been attached to the steel framework.

Each figure was designed without clothing in order to duplicate the muscle tone of the stretched and straining bodies.

De Weldon views the figures of Harlan Block and Rene Gagnon.

De Weldon refines the figure of John Bradley.

Bronze figure of Harlan Block being moved to the base of the memorial in Arlington.

The final result is the Iwo Jima memorial at the Arlington National Cemetry, opened in 1954.

See my other posts on this: Iwa Jima photograph 1 and  Iwa Jima photograph 2,



Louis Buvelot, September morning, Richmond, 1866

Every morning as I go to work, I pass through this lovely place. Jealous? Although the title may suggest that it’s the Thames river in Richmond near London, it is in fact the Yarra river in Melbourne.

The painting was made when the city was just 30 years old. Over near that building, a punt crossed the river linking north and south. It’s called Punt Road now. If you click on the image below you can see people making their way up the steep hill to South Yarra. I photographed as closely as I could to the same viewpoint as the painting. Have things changed in 144 years?



Quinn Jacobson, Oma, 2008

The previous post, Behemoth, made me wonder what other antique processes are still in play in the world of photography. Despite the tidal wave of digital technologies in the past ten years, analogue processes are still popular and there has even been a revival of 19th century techniques. Salt printing (Talbot’s 1841 process), Cyanotype (also 1840s), Gum Bichromate and many others are available in commercial kits. The most arcane techniques from the 1800s have their enthusiastic supporters.The alarming photograph above is by Quinn Jacobson and was made using the most difficult of all techniques, the Wet Plate process of the 1860s. Below is some info about the availability of this and some other early photographic processes. Click on the pink words for links.

WET PLATE – Bostick & Sullivan make a range of products for Wet Plate (Collodion) photography, including ones that include a 90 year old camera as part of the package! Quinn Jacobson conducts workshops in Wet Plate photography, and is enthusiastically involved in promoting its use and history. His website is at

ALBUMEN  PAPER – Depending on which website or chatline you believe, Kentmere is or is not making Albumen Printing Out Paper, once a year, to order, most of it going to the Chicago Albumen Works (which is not in Chicago). Printing Out Paper was used for wedding proofs amongst other things and is not developed in chemicals, but through sunlight. It fades unless fixed or toned. The paper discussed on the chatlines is an albumen paper, which is why everyone wants it, as it gives such warm, chocolaty tones (even though you don’t eat it). I’m pessimistic wether it will continue but I can hope.

PLATINUM/PALLADIUM – Bostick & Sullivan make a range of kits for this expensive process. They also sell Bergger papers which have been recommended for its use. To see a very good portfolio of platinum/palladium prints, go to the website of Beth Dow.

AZO PAPER – Lodima has announced a new a silver chloride paper, a replacement for Kodak Azo paper, the much loved contact-printing paper.  The company (which is Amidol spelt backwards!) is a project of Michael A. Smith, the well-known U.S. landscape & fine print photographer. My favourite Azo/silver chloride prints are in Weighing the Planets by Olivia Parker.

DARKROOM PAPERS – The French company Bergger makes a range of traditional silver-rich printing papers. One of them, Bergger Prestige Fine Art Portrait is described thus: an extra-premium, semi-matte photographic paper with a high silver content emulsion coated on a sumptuous Arches 100% cotton – rag paper base of 320g/m2. It’s a warm tone variable contrast emulsion which is particularly high in silver content and gives extremely deep blacks and wide range of mid-tones. It has excellent toning capability and due to the quality of its paper base and surface softness, it allows un-matched possibilities of hand-coloring.

Make your mouth water?


Ebay is listing a very special item, a de Golden Busch 20″x24″ camera. This is a real rarity because it’s almost the largest film format ever and only a few of these particular cameras were ever made. Douglas Busch is a U.S. photographer who produced his own extra large format cameras in the 1980s, you can see them on his website here. He also made a 40″x 60″ version.

It is a real step into the 19th century, before enlargers made smaller film formats viable. A 20″x24″ negative is contact-printed, the print is the same size as the negative, preserving all the sharpness, detail, and tonal clarity of the negative. In area, each shot is 480 square inches, vs 1½ square inches for 35mm film. As Busch states on his website, “I am interested in presenting reality more accurately than I can actually see it.”

The camera comes with it’s own engineered tripod, film holders and 610mm f12 lens. It’s going for $11000. Surprisingly, film is still available, Glazers of Seattle has 20″x24″ Ilford FP4 plus in stock at $604 for a 25 sheet box. That means that every time you press the shutter, it’s $24!

Your Documents Please 2

Your Documents Please is currently showing in New York, the last of eight venues across the globe (see my other post). The curators invited 270 artists across the world to produce small artworks derived from passports. Then, like a passport, the exhibition travelled internationally to be shown  in six countries.

I’ve shown a series called Fade which are Polaroid Transfers made from my passports and ID cards. These have been rubbed back and pencilled to resemble faded frescoes or the ancient funerary portraits of Egypt. You can see more from this series at


Your Documents Please 1

Your Documents Please has reached New York, its final destination. This giant exhibition has travelled around the world during the past three years. “More than 270 artists living in 27 countries have created passport/ID documents for “Your Documents Please,” an international traveling art exhibition. The organizers Daniel George and Rumi Tsuda, in conjunction with the New York based arts organization, Alma on Dobbin, asked participants to make a small artwork (the size of a conventional passport or less) that functions visually or conceptually as if it were an identification document.” (-from the Your Documents Please website).

The New York venue is Alma in Manhattan in the Chelsea gallery district.

The hundreds of small scale works in Your Documents Please has now been shown in Japan, Hungary, Germany, Slovakia, Mexico and the USA. The galleries are in Museum of Arts and Crafts – Itami in Itami, Japan; ZAIM and Galerie Paris in Yokohama, Japan; 2B Galéria in Budapest, Hungary;  Galerie Kurt im Hirsch in Berlin, Germany; GALÉRIA Z in Bratislava, Slovakia; Galería Ajolote Arte Contemporáneo in Guadalajara, Mexico and Alma in Manhattan in New York.

Installation view at the first venue, the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Itami, Japan.


The street

Street photography, Travel photography, name your genre. Whenever I travel there’s always a lot of stuff to shoot. These were shot in Eastern and Central Europe in April. Everything is “odd” overseas, and the hunter and collector in me wants all of it. Click on the images for a larger view.