Pier 24 Gallery - Hauntingly Beautiful

The Pier 24 exhibit About Face is hauntingly beautiful and totally overwhelming. After entering into the main room, the largest of the 20 rooms, I turned clock-wise, then counter clock-wise and back, only to begin to cry.

It was not the first time I cried publicly in a gallery or a museum, it probably will not be the last. Less than an hour later, when confronted by the photograph of the ‘fab four,’ tears flowed once more and I found myself in need of sitting down.

Hendrick Kerstens, Hairnet, 2000
Pier 24 About Face catalogue cover with additional post production work by Egmont

A good number of the photographs on display I have seen in books and even a few previously in a museum, now I found myself standing in front of them, in a room shared maybe by one or two other people.

No more than 20 people are permitted in at a time and we are given two hours for our visit, providing one with a very unique experience. My last 30-40 minutes were shared with a very small staff, one other guest and my son.

The exhibit was to end last February but was extended till the end of April. The gallery will be closed for 8-10 weeks before opening up again in July, with an exhibit on the environment. So if you live or are visiting San Francisco, I would like to urge you to make plans and visit Pier 24 Gallery. You will not regret your visit but you will if you pass it up.

The exhibit is made possible by The Pilara Foundation, who’s collection consists of more than 2000 photographs, most from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The collection mostly focuses on American photographers, Europe, Asia and Africa are also represented.

One of the rooms is totally dedicated to the German photographer August Sanders, who’s work was denounced by Hitler during the Nazi years, because he photographed gypsies, tradesmen, business men and mentally insane. To be able to see more than 100 original prints of Sanders work from 1920’s to the thirties is an experience one should not miss. 

One of the earliest examples on display is Lewis Hine’s Breaker Boys, from 1911. There is also entire room dedicated to Diane Arbus, featuring some very iconic and memorable photographs, including Avedon’s larger than life portraits, his last major work before his death in October 2004.

During my first visit I was overcome by emotions, for one cannot help but feel the impact of history surrounding one, as the faces look back at you and pierce through your very existence with their eyes.

Pier 24 Entrance and Main room

Dorothea Lange
Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936

Richard Avedon
Oscar Levant, pianist, Beverly Hills, California, April 12, 1972

Walker Evans
Alabama Tenant Farmer Wife, Allie Mae Burroughs, 1936

Edward Steichen
Portrait of Gloria Swanson, 1924

Mugshots, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 1900s-1940

Paul Scheik, 2011
(Top L-R) Bridges, Dunnel     (Bottom L-R) Franklin, Smith

Hiroshi Sugimoto
Henry VIII, 1999

Diane Arbus
Child with a toy hand grenade in Central Park, N.Y.C., 1962

Richard Avedon, 
(L to R) Roger Tims, Jim Duncan, Leonard Markley, Don Belak
Coal miners, Reliance Wyoming, 1979, four panels

Richard Avedon, 
(L to R) Roger Tims, Jim Duncan
Coal miners, Reliance Wyoming, 1979, panels one and two

Richard Avedon, 
Leonard Markley, Coal miner, Reliance Wyoming, 1979, panel two and three

The Rolling Stones - The Family catalogue 

Richard Avedon
Ronald Reagan, former Governor of California, The Family Series, 1976

Richard Avedon
George Bush, CIA Director, The Family Series, 1976

Richard Avedon
Cesar Chavez, Organizer, United Farm Workers, The Family Series, 1976

          Pier 24 website
          Visiting and scheduling an appointment at Pier 24

          All photographs taken by me with the iPhone 4S, as photography
          is permitted.

          The ‘About Face’ catalogue features a copy of every photo in the
          exhibit and only costs $10.00 Dollar.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2013 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Looking Back - Fred Herzog

Born in Stuttgart, Germany in 1930 and emigrated to Canada in 1952, he lived briefly in Toronto and Montreal before moving to Vancouver in 1953. Since childhood he casually had an interest in photography but it was not until arriving in Canada that he began to take it seriously. He focused primarily on "ordinary" people, the working class and their connections to the city around them. As he captures the character and heart of the people, so he also captures the haunting loneliness of the urban landscape.

Man with Bandage

Paris Cafe

Mexico City Shoe Shine

Black Man Pender

Wild Animal

Foot of Main

Mexico City with Chev

New Pontiac



Fred Herzog is featured on the cover of the Winter 2013 issue of 
Canadian Art Magazine with an accompanying online article.


Street Photography - the right combination - part 2

          Part Two

The previous post focused on four different lens and film combinations that one might wish to employ for street photography. I left off with a couple of examples of Lens/Film: GSquad — Nike AO DLX, which provided me with a more contrasty and gritty results, especially when subjects were exposed to direct sunlight.

The following photographs were all taken within one block of Turk Street on Monday, March 11, 2013, and are shown in sequence. No post production or any manipulations was applied, so that the results reflect what is possible when using Lens/Film: GSquad — Nike AO DL.

The Tenderloin District

This was not the first time I headed down Turk Street. In my previous attempts I felt I was not successful in taking the photographs, primarily because I did not feel comfortable in my surroundings and uneasy having to possible deal with confrontations that could turn ugly in just a few minutes.

So what made this day any different? I was not necessarily more confident, considering that the day’s earlier captures were possible questionable and I would need to study them on the larger monitor to properly evaluate the results. Yet I headed across the street as if ready to take on the opposition.

Having earlier reset the Hipstamatic app’s presets to GSquad with Nike AO DL, I seised up the situation before me and changed my mindset to guerrilla warfare and while holding the iPhone 4S tight and close to my chest, I began crossing the street and into another reality.

I had made it through the gauntlet. Deciding not to venture any deeper for now, I started to cross the street, heading back. While still tapping the iPhone’s screen for just a few more frozen moments in time.

I felt I had something, that this very short excursion might prove after all to be successful and give me the confidence to return, walking further down Turk Street. 

It was not until I had uploaded the images that I actually saw what really was capture in those few minutes. Though not every photograph is striking, I did manage to achieve what I set out to accomplish and maybe bring back at least one photograph that will manifest itself and stand the test of time.

Next week I will return to the city and this time experiment with Hipstamatic’s contrasty lens GSquad with Nike AO BW, which is Koci Hernandez, Assistant Professor of New Media at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, favorits for street photography. I will also apply the GSquad lens with Rock BW-11 and possible BlacKeys SuperGrain, provided the weather does not have other things on its mind, when I have to adopt using another lens/film combination.


Koci Hernandez Lens/Film setting: GSquad — Nike AO BW. Photo by: Egmont

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2013 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved


Silver Lake Film and Lens Test

This last Tuesday, Hipstamatic received their long awaited approval from Apple Computers to release their upgrade 262 and thereby also offer it’s users a new HipstaPak, known as Silver Lake.

Here is a little trivia. Just as it was released, Hipstamatic notice that they failed to change the lenses name, from Abbie to Mabel, as Abbie was the lenses beta version name. So those of you who have already purchased Silver Lake the day it was released, will have the privilege of having a faux pas residing on your iPhone, that is until you restore your purchases.

In with the new and 

Out with the old

By the way, Mabel and Dixie (after Abbie changed her name) sound so much like Thelma and Louise, the blockbuster movie featuring two women with mischief on their mind. As for Silver Lake, there is such a lake east of Hollywood and northwest of Downtown Los Angeles. Could there be a correlation here.

When I first tried Silver Lake combo, the light was not the best, for it had started to set behind the layer of clouds that lay above us, but like a child with a new toy, I just had to try it. My first initial response was lukewarm, yet I remained excited and began to gather the props for the next day’s film and lens test. For not only will we be looking at the results of Silver Lake combination, but also pairing the Abbie/Mabel lens with all other Hipstamatic films, including Dixie film with all other lenses.

Silver Lake HipstaPak - Dixie film and Mabel, AKA: Abbie lens

With 28 lenses and 30 different films, we have the possibility of 840 different combinations, certainly that would keep me busy for several days, if I were to try each one. But we are only focusing only on 58 different results.

When I was setting up for the film and lens test, I took a few exposures and noticed that the Dixie and Mabel combination generated random light leaks from different sides, from almost none existent to very sever. This can be seen in the example below of six exposures captured in sequence.

Trying a few more times throughout the Dixie/Mabel test, I randomly took six exposures at various intervals in the hope of seeing if there were a way to possible predict in advance the outcome. Unfortunately, no such luck, as it remained totally random.

          Dixie film test results

Mabel with Dixie film

Dixie film with alternative lens combination

Dixie film with alternative lens combination

Dixie film with alternative lens combination

Dixie film with alternative lens combination

Dixie film with alternative lens combination

Dixie film with alternative lens combination

Dixie film with alternative lens combination

There are a number of wonderful pairings with Dixie film and alternative lenses, more so then with the Mabel lens with other films.

With John S, the scene is rendered in a rich deep tones with plenty of mystery by darkening the shadows, whereas Jimmy appears more like a faded photograph. Even the Helga Viking lens casts a reddish tone over the entire image, while Salvador 84 gives the photograph a rich painterly effect with a layer of varnish. If it were not for double exposure Salvador 84, this combination would be very useful if one desired the image to be like an old Flemish master’s painting.

Based on this small test, I found Dixie film worked well if paired with:
          John S
          Helga Viking
          Libatique 73
          James M
          Roboto Glitter
          Tinto 1884

Yet one needs to remember that each of the lenses mentioned, have their own anomalies, as for example with Hornbecker not maintaining details in the highlights.

I personally look forward to testing Dixie further, especially when the results are not so interfered with strong light leaks. Especially with the following lenses:
          John S
          Libatique 73

Especially with the Wonder, lens to achieve a color version of ‘Film Noir’. Of particular interest is also Americana and Roboto Glitter, two lenses with similar results to Wonder.

          Mabel Lens test results

Mabel lens with alternative film combination

Mabel lens with alternative film combination

Mabel lens with alternative film combination

Mabel lens with alternative film combination

Mabel lens with alternative film combination

Mabel lens with alternative film combination

Mabel lens with alternative film combination

Mabel lens with alternative film combination

When I first viewed the results for the Mabel lens paired with other film combinations, I wondered if I had made an error. For Blanko,  Ina’s1969, Kodot XGrizzled and Ina’s 1935 all had similar results as if taken with one film. Yet as I reviewed all the results, I noticed that Mabel produces an old yellow varnish tint,  including varying a small degree of color saturation between the various color films. While of the 30 films, only two were unaffected by Mabel, Alfred Infrared and the very popular C-Type Plate film, which has rendered the still-life in a particular fine way by keeping the C-Type Plate film’s personality in-tact.

Regarding Mabel’s influence on black and white films, her effect is the variation in the due-tones and contrast of that film, while with both Nike films, AO DLX/AO BW, were rendered both considerable weaker, as if having been undeveloped.

          Final Thoughts

It is a decent addition to Hipstamatic's arsenal but falls very short of the previous and very popular TinType. It was also very disappointing not to have either an additional film with the Dixi, or at least a new camera case to go with the Silver Lake HipstaPak.

The films edge is what I like very much. It is just the right degree of imperfection and it also adds a wonderful touch to the photograph. When Dixi is paired with certain lenses, we see a lovely saturation of warm colors, as if the photograph was a Cibachrome dye destruction positive- to-positive photographic print process used for the reproduction of film transparencies in the 70s.

The programs algorithms for the Dixi film undoubtedly has overtones of a reddish nature and so in most examples we see the photograph rendered with a layer from anywhere from orange to red, all of which is emphasised when light leaks are predominant.

The Mabel lens mostly uses her strength to mute and desaturate the colors, while also applying a varying degree layer of diluted yellow-coffee tones to the image. This is pretty much true with most other Mabel’s combinations, as only a small degree of color saturation between them differs. 

This does not mean any of the other lenses or films cannot or should not be used, as much depends on light, the subject matter and ones own personal preferences. Besides, only after using Dixie film over the next several months will one be able to truly access its usefulness in relationship to ones saved combo preferences. Yet if you are after faded, muted colors, random light leaks, a combo that resembles the 1960s, then Silver Lake is the combination to select. 

At some point I hope that Hipstamatic will come to understand that much of these effects are achieved not only in post production, but most importantly, the public will grow tired and want something more useful.

Hipstamatic has many advantages and it needs to focus on those and build on it’s strengths. Especially provide more functions, like being able to move and change the order of ones favorite settings, including better view finder accuracy.  Above all, begin to set their sights on offering the professional photographer and journalists films and lens combinations that can be taken seriously for serious fine art and documentary photography.

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2013 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

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