Oliver John Bayer was born on Tuesday October 6, 2009 at 3:47 in the morning thus solidifying my status as Uncle DJ. Now there is a long running tradition in my family of giving relatives funny names. It all came about because my sister could never say anyone’s names properly when she was a child we can’t be sure if Uncle DJ will actually stick. Oliver’s mother predicts something along the line of Dunkle. We will have to wait and see.
My sister asked me if I wanted to take some pictures for her since I have become the photographer of the family and I said sure. I didn’t want to disappoint so I opted for the fancy cameras over my beloved plastic ones. It was going to have to be done indoors after all and I am notoriously crappy at these kind of pictures. So I loaded up some Kodak Portra NC 400 in my trusty Minolta SRT 201 and Yashica Minister D and headed over to the hospital. There was great light coming in through the huge picture window in the hospital room that I thought would be great. Unfortunately the wee man had to feed and the tired mom had to sleep so the photo session had to wait.
They took the little guy home a few days ago and the chance came again yesterday to take some good photos so we set him up in his little bed and I started sapping away. A lot of the shots were underexposed but the ones that weren’t are perfect. I had the idea of sticking a plastic magnifying glass on the lens of the SRT for some obligatory close up feet shots as well. Surprisingly the little guy was quite well behaved for most of the time. I am quite pleased with how the shots turned out, although I will gladly pick a crappy camera over ones with so much choice. But the only thing that matters is that my sister is pleased with the results and hopefully I was able to give her some nice memories that maybe have a little more heart than the thousands of digital shots they already have.
I am really liking this plastic magnifying glass. I think it made a really dreamy intimate photograph that I hope will mean a lot to the family as time goes buy and his tiny little feet and hands get bigger. I would hope that maybe they would see that the slight inconvenience of film over digital is worth it in the end when you can capture such warm moments. I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as my very proud family does.
The flood of zero emails I got about why I haven’t been doing my photo-a-day(ish) thing anymore got me thinking. For one, did people actually care? And two, maybe I should officially bury the whole thing. The fact is the project has really run its course. I originally decided to post a photo every day as a way to pass time while I waited for my visa. Kind of a zen like exercise to make the sands of time slightly less harsh. And in all respects it worked. It gave me something to do and gave me an outlet for all my thoughts. More importantly it gave me a way to share my world with my wife who I haven’t seen in a very long time. Most of the stuff that I wrote was for her anyways.
Now that I actually have a ticket booked for home I haven’t felt the need to post something every day and I also haven’t had the time. Now there is actually a date when I will get home, October 16 at 9 o’clock in the morning. The need to pass time has become a little diminished. In fact I actually have another project that I am doing but I can’t reveal anything for a while and it actually involves two different countries and no computers, but more about that in a few weeks time hopefully.
Now, if you look at the photo in this post and you remember from this post about a month ago I said that one of my favorite pictures was yet to come, well thats it at the top of this post. I think the fact that I will be home in 13 days is reason enough to share it. Some of you might have seen it already on Flickr and I am sure most of you have seen the plethora of other shots I have of the same thing. But this one in particular strikes a very emotional chord in me. It feels like it was just yesterday that I married my beautiful wife and I remember vividly the magical time we had in Berlin. I wish I could live in that time of our lives but sadly life had other plans and it has been our destiny to suffer through this separation. This shot captures everything that was special those almost six moths ago. The light coming through, the sense of joy and exhilaration, the care free feeling while we waited to embrace the happily ever after. I truly love this shot and on an emotional and spiritual level it is the best photo I have ever taken. Its quite long so stay tuned for the full story of how this lone street sign came to be so important to me and my wife.
Why the big smile at the top of this post? Well…After one hundred and fifty two days the moment I have been waiting for has finally arrived. Today the UPS man came knocking on my door to deliver a slightly battered envelop filled lots of paperwork and one passport containing one family permit allowing me to go to the UK to join my wife. The wait is over! Life has just taken a turn towards happily ever after. I can finally go back home to Ireland and start working and living again.
This whole time in the US is not a loss though. It turned out so that I got my visa around the same time my sister is going to have a baby. So now all that has to happen is for her to go and have the baby already. Granted it does make me a bit impatient since I have to wait for that now. But if I wasn’t already here for it I wouldn’t have a chance to see my yet to be born nephew for a very long time. So its a good thing really that I had to wait this long. I also bought about fifteen cameras since I’ve been here, so thats good too. (Now I just have to figure out how to get them all to fit in my luggage.)
I thought for this post I would include some photography of mine that represents why I have endured this very long wait. So please enjoy the lovely sentimental images, I hope they are as beautiful to you as they are to me.
A while ago Nic from 4CD took pity on me and my situation and decided to send me a little care package to keep me shooting while I am stuck in the States. Part of that package was an assortment of plastic cameras, one of which was the Rainbow V Ultra Wide and Slim. I already fell in love with the original Wide and Slim and this camera is no different. The only thing that has changed, like all the Viv clones, is the colored and rubberized plastic body. Being rubberized it makes the camera feel a bit more robust, though I suspect it is just a feeling.
I decided to test out this camera with some Kodak 400 VR Plus redscaled, homemade of course. This is my first foray into the world of redscale. It came about because I was bored one night and had a bunch of empty spools. I got some tape and got under a big duvet and wound the film backwards into an empty spool. Easier than I thought actually though I was a bit worried about the duvet being light tight, which it wasn’t. It turns out that it was light tight enough, there were a few foggy bits along the sprockets but every shot turned out great. Check this tutorial out if you want to do this yourself.
The photos that I got from this combination really made me happy. It was like instant vintage. They have this aged and timeless look to them that really makes me want to keep redscaling. The Rainbow V has the same great 22mm lens as any Ultra Wide and Slim and paired with the warm tones of the redscaled film this combination has a good chance of becoming my new favorite. People often say the Ultra wide and Slims are the poor mans LCAs. Since I have been lusting after an LCA for a long time I think that this camera and film partnership has a good chance of filling the gap until I can muster up the money. I will definitely be doing more redscale and trying it in different cameras. This may be a way for my lo-fi heart to fall in love with my various not-so-lo-fi cameras.
Hope you enjoy them as much as I do and there is more to come.
So I had a bit of a lapse in posts the past few days since I have been very busy. Life is on the move right now and the past few days have been very eventful. What you may ask? Lots, read on my friend.
I went and bought another Holga for the first time. It will be the only camera I have two of. But its not just any Holga, it was the much awaited Four Corners Dark Holga made especially for them by Randy at Holga Mods. As soon as I heard that all the money made from these ten special cameras was going to go to charity I decided it would be a good thing to do. And since I myself live a life of charity and work as a volunteer with my wife in Ireland it made it even more special. I make no money and live in community so when I decide to give my money to something it means I really want to. All of the proceeds on these cameras are going to go towards finding homes to animals in need and I am really happy that I could contribute. My dog is a rescue dog after all and these things are very close to my heart. Plus, I get an awesome custom Holga modified by the famous Randy himself. Last I heard Nic has two of these cameras left so go over to Four Corners Store and help him out if you can. And don’t forget that a portion of proceeds on all items in that store also go towards charity so even if you get the smallest item there it helps.
I am also getting ready to make my entry for Holgapalooza. Something that I have been putting off for months and months. I originally wanted to enter after I had gotten back to Ireland and gotten my long sought after negative scanner as some of my old scans are pretty crappy. Sadly my stay in America kept extending and since the deadline is in two days I don’t think I will make it back in time. Its a shame really since I have a few rolls from the Holga sitting over there undeveloped that I have a feeling would be perfect for the competition. Instead I just have to sift through the ones I already have and figure out which ones I want to enter. If any of you have any shots you want to enter and haven’t yet get over there and do it, the deadline is this Friday.
Speaking of procrastination, I finally got around to scanning five sets of prints from five different cameras. I think I put scanning them off for so long from a combination of laziness and the fact that the only scanner I have access to is incredibly crappy. One of the rolls was from a sampler camera that I found in a thrift store and fixed myself. I took this camera out to take up Holga Jens self portrait challenge so most of the twelve test shots from it are me and my good looks. Turns out its a really fun camera to play with. Another one of the rolls was from the Vivitar Ultra Wide & Slim from when I was in Berlin getting married. It was nice to see shots from that trip and really made me smile since I haven’t seen my wife for over four months. There were even a few shots that Susi took of me on the roll. The shots in this post are from these two cameras.
Of all the happening these past few days there is one that sticks out most of all. I actually just got back from the post office getting this one done. Thats right, my application for a British visa has officially been sent off. By noon tomorrow some British bureaucrat will have my future in his hands. This means that in four to six weeks I will hopefully be recieving in the mail a fresh and crispy new visa. I am pretty confident that there will not be any problems since we have had some professional help putting the application together and it all looks good. I’m still not going to count my chickens before they hatch though because Susi and I have notoriously bad luck when it comes to paperwork type things. So keep your fingers crossed for us and hopefully I will get to go back home sometime in November.
So thats whats been happening in my recent life. Its all really exciting. I will definitely be watching the post for the next weeks, first for an awesome new Holga and then again for the single most important piece of paper in my life so far.
Today was a big step toward what I have been waiting for for the past third of the year. I went down town to the big old federal building and got myself all scanned up and put into the system. Its the second time that I have had to get a biometric scan and its actually a pretty painless procedure. You go in, they put your fingers on this futuristic scanner, get your photo taken and you’re on your way. I actually got pretty lucky too because there was no wait and I was a bit early so the way it turned out I was actually done before it was even the time I made my appointment for. Now all there is left to do is stick the scan in with the application and send it off and wait for a visa to get sent back. Well, that was the plan. There was one document that Susi didn’t send with the rest so I have to wait for that. Its in the mail now and hopefully it will get here middle next week. Then it will really be a matter of time. Needless to say me and Susi are really excited and can’t wait to be reunited.
So for todays photo I share with you a sight I hope to be seeing again very soon. I took this with the Beltica camera on my way away from Ireland. Sooner than later I will have a chance to see this again. I cant wait really, and I look forward to spending Christmas with my dear wife.
this song has been going through my head for some reason.