I do a lot of personal projects throughout the year to satisfy my curiosity in photography and art, my need to create and continue to explore as a photographer. My personal work makes my professional photos better and my professional work pushes my personal; they are like opposite ends of a magnet always reacting to each other. Our Ann Street Studio holiday card is one of the personal projects I most look forward to every year. I like that it takes place over a multitude of cities (New York, Boston and Savannah), I like that it takes a really long time to create, I like that the entire thing is done by hand, by my hands, I like that there is nothing digital about the process and I like that in the end, we send it out as a true artifact you can hold and that will be there for years to come.
This year’s print starting unknowingly on the beaches of Montauk, during an autumn walk that presented our little artifacts, moon shells washed up on the shore: all of them different sizes, colors, tonality, some with nicks and scratches. It reminded me of how we are all different but beautiful…and though this year has had so many ups, we all face the downs and the scars left on our shells from the beating currents of time should be celebrated – for without them, we must not truly be living.
I brought the film back to New York City to be processed by hand at LTI Lightside photo lab, we reviewed the contact sheets and chose the one out of 25 plates I shot. Then it was off to Boston, spending two days in LePete photo lab and darkroom printing.
32 sec exposure to light on warm toned fiber base paper, 2 mins in developer, 30 secs in stop bath (stops development), 5 mins in fixer (makes it not light sensitive), 30 mins in wash baths. It took two full days of printing to produce the 200 prints.
Spot checking each print after they passed through three separate drying systems and were placed under weighted glass to cool. Just as we did the year before, we brought them all down to Savannah and spent two days in Gallery Espresso signing, numbering, stamping and addressing them all, which is for me, the best way to end another exceptional year.
“Moon Shells #13”, 2013
See 2012 here.