I reserve my blog to explore (usually) technical topics that interest or worry me, and as a microphone for goofy pet projects like Sit Down Comedy. The last time I used this platform to shill anything was in 2005, when Kashmir had its ass handed to it by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake and one of my oldest and dearest friends Grady was raising money for relief.
Now another of my oldest and dearest friends Jake (Jake, Grady and me go way, way back) has a worthwhile project and I am supporting it in every way that I can, including promoting it here.
Jake Shivery is the owner and operator of Blue Moon Camera and Machine in Portland, Ore. He is also an extremely talented photographer who has become recognized as such in the community, and whose self-portrait is part of Portland Art Museum’s permanent collection. Jake caught the attention of [one twelve publishing], a publisher dedicated to promoting art created using unconventional methods. They are producing a high quality monograph of Jake’s work (half 8×10 prints and half essay) and they are raising funds via Kickstarter.
After decades of shooting with every type of camera known on Earth, Jake has settled into doing contact portraiture using an 8×10 camera (think old-timey box and bellows on a tripod with the operator under a shroud). The thing about 8×10 is that the physical film plate is 8×10 inches, so the sheer amount of information captured is incredible. It’s like that Steven Wright joke about having a map of the United States that is actual size.
The technical aspects are neat and all, but you put me under that shroud releasing the shutter and I’m going to produce an image that looks like every other shitty holiday snap you’ve ever seen. Jake’s true talent lies in choosing and capturing the photograph’s subject in a way that few people can. We’ve all known people who have achieved such a proficiency and immersion in whatever field they’re in that they make seemingly effortless leaps that look like magic to the rest of us. That’s my pal Jake, and you can see a large selection of his work on Flickr.
I proudly hang his photographs in my home and I really want this book there, too (though probably not hanging). The recognition that this project brings to my friend and his art is a big deal and I am proud as hell of him. If you, dear reader, are not in a position to contribute to the Kickstarter project yourself then please, please consider sharing the link with people you know who are wild about photography.