Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Recap

Well folks 2011 is coming to an end and that calls us to look back at it and reflect.

  I occupied my time working as a photographer/videographer/GD for Carvin - a small local company which apparently makes some really quality sound gear from guitars and basses to amps and mixer - check them out - chances are you'll be looking at my pictures on any page you see.  I started working there in Jan 2010 and it was the most sane and clean environment that I have worked in for a prolonged time up to this point.  I has a huge studio with all the lights I could need.
  Also, in the beginning of he year I acquired a space that was built into a nice 6-station darkroom with a spacious light work room as well.  I spent about a month cleaning and getting it into shape and then re-opened it to the public as Roolv Film Center - a rental darkroom and film educational space.  I had about a dozen students come through whom I taught how to develop and print black and white images the old-school way.  I also offered custom black and white printing and film development.  That experience reinforced my passion for teaching and with the coming to fruition of my long-time dream of a mobile darkroom I now must sadly put RFC on hold for a while and address a bigger audience who are yearning for traditional photographic knowledge.

  For The Photo palace this was a definitive year.  The year which saw the material manifestation of a beautiful dream. After over a decade in hibernation the irreversible step was taken in August with the purchase of the beautiful 1978 Gillis Bus.  The Rubicon was crossed and for the remainder of the year careful planning and preliminary research has taken place.

  Now that the year is drawing to a close the final bridges are being burned and dawn of the new era can be spotted above the horizon of the upcoming 2012.  I look forward toward the light and though I know not of what it will bring, I welcome it with open arms.

  Let there be Joy!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Inerior vision

Here is an approximate vision for the front room of The Photo Palace - a nice space for workshops and demonstrations. A sink will be hidden under the lid in the table surface in which film can be developed in daylight. When the lid is closed the table is complete like in the image above and it's a nice 10x2ft surface for all the contact printing frames, mat cutter, art on display, macbook pro (you better believe we'll have one of those on board - how else how will we be able to edit the scans of our most recently developed images to keep you all up to date and to send them out to our future models?) and whatever else art-related material that may end up on that sooth wood surface.

We are very thankful to all those who so far have pledged their support to thi project on - every bit helps, and big bits help A LOT.

This post is open for comments - what do you think if the cushions on the left? I was thinking they should be darker, no?


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Photo Palace news, a letter from Anton.

Well folks this marks a serious turn in The Photo Palace project.

Today was the last day of my contract as a photographer at Carvin. In the past two years I took over 10,000 images, shot dozens of videos, multiple full page ads and catalog covers and much more. I learned a lot, but above all I learned that my true calling is Art creation and education for without Art it would be a truly sad place to live and without education on that subject the appreciation dwindles and Art becomes subject to commercialization and butchery. Hence I look forward to the future aboard The Photo Palace.

Onward Artist Soldiers!


•Update 1. I feel that if news changes in less than 24 hours it can be reported under the same post, right? So Carvin asked me to stay through the holidays and up to NAMM, which is what I wanted as I need to save all I can so The Photo Palace can be as welcoming and wonderful as I envision it. All works out for the best. ॐ •

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Outtakes reel from Kickstarter movie now out.

We had a fun and challenging time the first time we attempted shooting the movie. This movie though does convey the general upbeat spirit that prevails over the project and will 'drive' it forward.


Sunday, December 4, 2011

We passed $500 on Kickstarter - We got the following items for The Bus:

We believe this will work. We have two months - one person tells another and soon the news of The Photo Palace will spread farther than we can imagine!

Meanwhile the film developing sink is on the way along with the stove (that will come in very handy when we need to coat liquid silver emulsions or do anything anything else with gelatin). Plus we ordered some of the main lavatory equipment so that part of construction can begin as soon as possible.

We thank ALL those who have so far helped spread the word and pledged! We Love You!
Let's keep the momentum going and we can all see this idea blossom and bear fruit.

Next step is big... the dreaded Water Tanks. 75 gallons of fresh water is not easy to fit into a cargo bay of a school bus. But just wait and see - it's going to be perfect!
We do need to pass 1500 at least and quick.

Thank You!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Our Kickstarter !

Hello all you die hard film fans, our Kickstarter is officially up!
Check it our right here

For those of you who don't know about Kickstarter, it is a fund raising web site for artists and innovators. We are trying to raise money to convert Bus Gillig into The Photo Palace, check out our Kickstarter page to the right for more info.
Thank you again for all the support.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Birth of an Idea - 1997

Summer of 1997 was the pivotal year. 

  In the spring I, a recent Russian immigrant and a photo-enthusiast, was taking a combination-course at Palomar College toward the fulfillment of the prerequisites for a degree in bio-chemistry.  It was no ordinary course as it combined philosophy, religious studies and critical thinking under one umbrella. It was taught in a large auditorium and had 90+ students.  In that class I met people and was exposed to ideas that would shape my path in life and steer me onto the path of becoming an artist.

  I became friends with Melinda and introduced her to another one of my school chums - Ryan.  They quickly hit it off and we all spent a lot of time together.  Little did I know that one week before the finals I would find myself in a Greyhound bus, on a ticket bought for me by my new friends, headed to Northern California for a summer adventure of a lifetime.  Among other wonderful stories that are still fresh in my memory is the moment that I envisioned The Photo Palace and I shall regale You, me dear reader, with it now. 

  That summer was my first time attending an annual celebration of spirit called The National Rainbow Gathering.  These have been held since 1972 in various states and across the globe and that year it was in north-central Oregon.  There I camped in the area known as Bus Village - a large woody meadow with large vehicles strewn about. Among them was a bus which housed a glass-working space operated by an artist named Bear (or is it Bare.... I didn't ask for the spelling).  The back of it had a kiln and a work-bench, major vents and some more equipment known only to the torch-workers. The front part was a living room space with all dark wood finish, which made it feel more like a log cabin than a vehicle. To solve the bedroom dilemma a cut-off VW microbus was fitted on top and along the perimeter under the windows, in small planters, grew various tomatoes, chives and other greens. 

  The thought of a traveling darkroom was firmly planted in  my head. By 19 I have been involved with photography for 7 years and the thought of being an artist had been floating around in the back of my mind for quite some time.  Now I could see it - a traveling darkroom in a BUS!  A working space that is also livable and mobile.  How much better can it get?  Unfortunately at that time I was flat broke and the idea had to be put on the back burner.

  When I came back from my travels I switched my major, got a degree from Palomar and went on to study photography at San Jose State University.  During my studies I learned about such amazing photographers as Prokudin-GorskyIrving PennRichard Avedon, and Weegee.  All of them made stunning photographs while constantly on the move.  Moreover, a lot of photographer had not only a studio component to their traveling rig, but along with it a fully functional darkroom.  The idea of the bus was eating deeper and deeper into my brain and was at the same time becoming more defined. The necessity of the addition of a studio space became clear. 

  All along one nagging thought kept buzzing around like a tired fly on a hot summer day - what am I, an artist who can barely change the brakes on a Toyota Camry, am going to do with a 22.000 pound monster like a school bus?  That fear kept me from plunging into this project with full force.  For 10 a number of years I kept collecting equipment with a mantra or "I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it...". By the time I met Ryan in the summer of 2007 all was in place and the tension was reaching crescendo, but that part of the story is best left for another short story of it's own.

Friday, November 25, 2011

My First Post - The day I met my destiny.

Hello world,

This is my first post. It is filled with real Polaroid photographs from the day when I met my new destiny.

For 33 years I have been a school bus - driving kids back and forth to and from school with an occasional field trip here and there. I was loved very much and maintained for a number of years for use only during parades and other special events. When I had to be discharged from my original district there was a party held in my honor and to say goodbye to me some teachers came out of retirement.

On a sunny July day in 2011 I met my new owners - Anton Orlov and Ryan Kalem. They are die-hard photographic artists and are now building me up to be The Photo Palace! I will feature a darkroom with two enlargers and a fold-out north light studio. I will travel the country and host demonstrations and workshops on the art of traditional photography, participate in art events all over the country and hold free portraiture sessions everywhere I go. This is very exciting and I can't wait to hit the road.

Currently I reside in the mountains above Santa Cruz. Please watch for updates on the building progress and drop a line if you would like to be the first to be visited by me when I'm ready to go.

Enjoy the pictures - real Polaroids are hard to find these days and I'm honored to have had my likeness captured with such unique and rare medium.