Saturday, August 21, 2010

The present

So here we are, at the end of the look back on the past 26 years of my photography, and while my birthday isn't for another couple of weeks still, I hope that you have enjoyed reading this.
It's hard to end something that will continue, so I don't really know where to go with this one, but I think I will make this one all about the fly fishing project I have been doing for the past two years.
My latest couple of photographs have been macro ones, that I made using a set of snap on "macro lens", so far I like the results I have gotten, but still need to refine the technique.
The "macro lens" I have come in five distances, 30mm, 60mm, 120mm, 250mm and 500mm. This first one was shot with the 120mm lens.

On a recent fishing adventure this month, I started seeing what I thought were stonefly nymphs, but upon further inspection I saw that they were actually the shucks of the nymphs. I used the 30mm lens for this one.

I like really where I am going with the fly fishing project, and I have gotten a lot of positive feedback and support from various people both in person and online.

I like the feeling I get from making these photographs with a Holga, someone on a fly fishing forum described them as nostalgic and grand, for which I am flattered to hear, it's a description I never really thought of, but it is certainly fitting.

One of my biggest goals for my photography has been to have an exhibit of my own and a book of the exhibit. I'd like to see the fly fishing photographs be that exhibit and book.

Over the past few months I have had some great exposure on some fly well known fly fishing blogs, the first came from "The Fiberglass Manifesto" in November 2009, ""Brian Schiele is The Holga Master".
Then in January of this year, Cameron who writes the Fiberglass Manifesto(TFM), and I traded some prints for some TFM gear and did an encore about my photography, in "The Holga Master Delivers".

Then in April, I got another write up on my photography in an off shoot webzine, called "Sleeping In the Dirt", you can see the issue I was interviewed in HERE. At the time this was the second issue of "Sleeping In the Dirt" the webzine and I am happy to report that its fourth issue was recently published. Keep up the great work Aaron!

Lastly, I have been working on something that will hopefully help me achieve my goal of an exhibit and book. I'd rather not say what it is at this time, because I don't want to jinx it or anything like, but I know it will be worth the wait for me and for you.

Thanks for joining me on this look back on my photography, and if you have wondered why I call myself a "Holga Master, check this out. I am not much on nicknames or anything like that, but if who ever posted that, feels like I am a "Holga Master", who am I to argue!

Friday, August 13, 2010


As I mentioned I first heard about Holgas in college, and at the time I was doing a lot of journalistic photography from my own projects to working on the college newspaper. To be honest I wanted nothing to do some plastic toy camera, after all I had two of the best camera bodies in the world, the Nikon F3HP!
I was in my last photography class and needed a project for it, and here comes more of that autobiographical stuff, so I decided to to photograph my then wife and I who was pregnant. As I began to brainstorm about the project, I knew what I didn't want, and that was photographs that were more graphic and all that. I had seen lots of other students using Holgas, and thought I would give one a try for this project, because the end results would be so different from what I had been doing for the majority of my college experience.
I think these first Holga photographs are amongst my best, because I really trying to see what the capabilities of this toyish camera were, and I as literally just going with the serendipity of it.
I call this one, "Who Will Our Child Look Like The Most":
There are three exposures here, each one of our faces, and of her pregnant tummy.

This next one, was one of the few single exposure photographs I did for this project. I don't really have a title for it, but in some way I think is representative of the what the birth process must be like for the child, kind of dark and comfortable.

This last one, is probably my favorite of the project because it was one of the first times I got to hold my son.

About two years after I did these photographs, I submitted these and two others into one of the first Holga only photography exhibits at Old Dominion University, four of them were accepted.
After I finished this project I graduated shortly after wards, and wouldn't pick up a Holga or any kind of camera for that matter for about six years, where I started the "Singletrack Dreams" photographs I mentioned in the "Mountain Biking" post.
One of things I like about using a Holga is that is despite it's simplicity it is a versatile camera, you can do lots of things with it, without having any special film back or attachments. You can do panoramas or "Holgarama's :

Holgas use 120 film but when you run a roll of 35mm film through it you can get some amazing results.

I also like to do diptychs and triptychs with my Holgas, I think they have a way of telling more a little bit more of a story than a single stand alone image.

For a project I did with a photography group I am a part of my submission consisted entirely of diptych portraits, as an added dimension to the portraits I gave the person a print and asked them come up with some text about themselves, the portrait, or whatever it was that on their mind at the time.

My buddy Lee, came up with the following text for his portrait:
"A heavy heart at times, but filled with pride now. Home from Iraq. Dad is back.The future really does stretch before us like a newly graded highway – morning sunlight shining on freshly painted lines, gentle curves lost on the horizon, long uphill climbs, and a nice welcoming shoulder to lean on when you need it."

I like to make portraits with my Holgas, because I never know how things will turn out, as in the case of this portrait of my dad. It's such a representational portrait of him, because he is such a tinker working out in the garage and the unusually shaped light leaks kind of look like the lights he has in the garage when he works on his truck. I have never had such unusual light leaks like that before, but the bulb switch on my modified Holga, another serendipitous moment brought to you by Holga.

I love how Holgas capture light, as in the portrait of my lovely and talented wife.

I guess there isn't a whole lot more to say, because I have said it before, so I will just end with a few of my favorite photographs from the past few years.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mountain Bike Photography

Even though it was a short lived period in my photography, I can't go without mentioning it because I was incredibly passionate about riding and photographing the people I rode with and the events I got to.
This period also got me back into photography after a few year break, where I sold both of my Nikon F3's due to lack of use and financial need.
In 1999, I had been riding for a few years, and was going through a divorce, I had these series of dreams about mountain biking, that were rather vivid, they were so vivid that I felt the need to recreate them some how. I was fortunate enough to still have one camera, a Holga no less, that I bought in college, which was the perfect tool for the task at hand.
I made the first "singletrack dreams" photographs during my first trip to Moab, in February of 2000 after I had bought a new bike too.

The thing about these dreams is that I could be riding along and all of the sudden I would have this deja vu like moment where a moment from the dreams of a place I had just ridden by or was coming up on or even moments that I saw before they even happened.
With few exceptions, all of the photographs I did for this series were double exposures, and normally when I do double exposures, there is a significant period of time in between each exposure, because I don't usually come upon each component as quickly as I'd like, but with these photographs that wasn't the case.

By the summer of 2001 life had changed for the better, and I had been able to save up enough money to a new camera, another Nikon, their F-100, and because I knew I wanted to do mountain bike photographs, I also bought a 180mm lens too.

A lot my friends were into downhill racing so I did a lot of photography of the local races too.

I have a number of great friends who also rode as well living close to some equally great singletrack, getting great photographs was pretty easy.

From 2001 thru 2004 Red Bull did an event in the desert of south eastern Utah called the "Red Bull Rampage", I was fortunate enough to attend and photograph with full credentials three of those first "Rampages"

During this period too, I was beginning to get some photographs published, in local cycling and sports publications, but was able to get into a few larger magazines as well. It was great seeing my photographs printed in a magazine, it's especially cool seeing them on the cover.

 One of the things I enjoyed so much about photographing mountain biking is that I got to see some many beautiful places, from the high alpine trails, to the desert, mostly the desert though, which is where I did most of my mountain biking photographs.
From Cainville:

To the foothills of Salt Lake City:

And down to Virgin:

That's about all for my mountain biking photographs, thanks for checking it out, I hope you enjoyed it and will check in again for the the next part of the 26 year retrospective as I lead up to my 40th birthday next month.


Friday, August 6, 2010

The early years and college...

I recently came across the following quote from the Italian film director Federico Fellini,"All art is autobiographical; the pearl is the oyster's autobiography", and looking back on my own photography I know very true. It's why artists like Van Gogh and Andrew Wyeth painted what they did, and it's why singer/song writers like Bruce Springsteen and James McMurty write and sing about the people and places they do, and it's why I've photographed all of the people, places and events I have for the past 26 years. My photographic experience began, when upon the occasion of my 14th birthday I got a camera, which I had asked for so that I could take what would be my first photography class later in the school year.


 The majority of what I photographed in those earliest years were found objects and scenes, rarely did I photograph people, unless it was someone I knew particularly my family.As I continued and advanced in my photographic education I moved into the studio; I was fortunate to go to a high school that had a great photography program that had a small studio, with professional equipment like medium and large format cameras. My high school also had a great darkroom and a great teacher, George Kimura, a man I very grateful for not just as a teacher but as friend and mentor, I know I learned more than just photography from George. Because of the equipment I had available to me in high school I did a lot commercial type photographs.

I can't really continue without mentioning
Ansel Adams, around this point I had received a copy of autobiography, which at 16 or so I devoured because it was such a great book and insightful as to what it means to be a photographer/artist. While I did gain an appreciation and appreciation into the craft aspect of photograph, the biggest thing I got from reading his autobiography was that photography every much an art as all of the other mediums were and deserved to be displayed along side them. Although I was in the vocational photography class during both my junior and senior years, it wasn't until my senior year that I was able to compete in the V.I.C.A.(Vocational and Industrial Clubs of America) photography competition, which I won at the school level, the district level and went on to win the state level too. Winning the state level won me a trip to the national competition, it was such a huge thing that I gave up a trip to Europe with my family just to attend, despite being in Wichita Kansas, of all places. I didn't so well in Wichita, as I recall I placed 36 out of 37.

My college years started much the way my high school years ended, photographing found objects and what not, it wasn't until 1990 when I attended a photojournalism workshop that things changed dramatically. It wasn't too long after that workshop that I sold my beloved Minolta X-570, for a Nikon F-3HP, arguably the best 35mm SLR camera ever made. I wasn't all that shy as a kid, but at this time I in my early 20's I learning how to talk to and approach people, which meant I could photograph them.


I had also started working on the school's newspaper doing photography, and even worked as a photographer for a brief period on the local IRS office in its public affairs office.


I also did a lot of music photography, shooting local band and other concerts that came to the Salt Lake and Ogden areas. I fortunate enough to make friends with another student in my photography classes, who was a bouncer at long closed down club called "The Speedway Cafe". For the big shows, of major label acts I'd have to purchase a ticket and my friend would give me pass to come and go the hall as I pleased so I could make photographs of bands.

With my interest in photojournalism and documentary photography I began to explore the area where I lived with a keen eye, looking for stories and angles. My first project was photographing Washington Boulevard, in Ogden, Utah, the "main drag" where "kids" cruised and hung out at night. The following two photographs are my favorites from that project.

Another project I did was on a homeless veterans outreach program, besides all of the interesting people that come into the place it a great quality of light.


I worked off and on at the the school's newspaper for about three years, and took other photography classes learning as much as I could about photojournalism and bought a second Nikon F-3HP. In my last photography class during my second to last quarter I opted for a different camera, to photograph a project that would be the beginning of a couple of new chapters in my life, the birth of my son, the new camera was a Holga.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Vote for Me!

I have submitted a photograph to casual contest, that I need you to vote for.
I know a couple of the "gentlemen" I am competing against, so I need you to vote for me.
Click HERE to see the post.
The stakes are high, because of this, and because of the prizes involved, fishing gear.
It's a monthly contest, where the winner advances to the finals at the end of the contest, so when I beat out my two friends, and win, I'll be asking you to vote for me again in January I'm, guessing.
So please vote for my photograph, you can do so by clicking on my name(BRIAN SCHIELE) on the column on the right.