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04 January 2013 @ 05:37 pm
A long expected updating  
Sheesh! The last time I posted it was late August, I was flashing a bit of chest fur, and I'd just gotten my braces off. So here's an overview of my fall, in pictures.

Not long after I got my braces off, I did something I'd been meaning to do for some time: I made some all-new, digital self-portraits.


Now from this point onward, everything you'll see is on FILM, in various formats, shot and processed myself.

I did some poking around dodgy areas in my neighborhood, shooting neglected areas, mostly an closed-down and abandoned apartment complex that I couldn't resist.


And then in October, my husband Danny and I drove to his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina, for the second half of his 50th anniversary college reunion at Furman University, which was timed to coincide with their Homecoming weekend. Furman seems to be a tiny liberal-leaning bastion in upstate South Carolina, and the alumni staff and students were extremely welcoming, accepting, and congenial to us. One alumni staffer related to us the story of a student there who'd had all kinds of self-esteem problems related to coming out, and she said she told him about us (after meeting us last spring, at the first half of the reunion) so that he could derive some hope from growing up in that part of the country. We were very touched. In the couple of decades prior to Danny's attending Furman, they had merged what had been small, separate men's and women's colleges, and Danny's graduating class was the first to attend all four of its years in what was then a completely newly built campus. This year was Danny's first time back at Furman since graduation, and he was in awe of how well the campus layout and landscaping plans, brand new then, had blossomed into one of the most beautiful college campuses in the country. The tree saplings he remembered being planted were now a long tunnel of overhanging boughs welcoming him back.


And while we were in town, I stopped by an old camera store (which was supposed to be closing last time we were there, but hadn't), and picked up bulk-size jugs of C-41 process chemicals. Look on any commercially available roll of color negative film you can buy, and it'll say "PROCESS C-41." Processing C-41 at home isn't difficult, but the chemistry is more specialized than regular B&W; and for no good apparent reason, no one makes C-41 chemicals available individually in a reasonable size. Either they're packaged together in kits, or just in bulk jugs like minilabs use. So I bit the bullet and bought them in bulk, and they worked rather well. I was quite pleased with myself that I'd done the proper research and didn't fuck anything up!

The last big news is that in late November, for my birthday and to commemorate the end of my years-long adventure to mitigate my birth defect, I finally got the leg tattoo that my late friend and club brother, John Hubstenberger, had had commissioned for me, based on the bas-relief sculpture of St. Michael the Archangel at Coventry Cathedral in the U.K. Below are pictures of the original sculpture, the tattoo in B&W, and then after coloring two weeks later. Personally I kinda liked it better as B&W, but other people seem to like it better in color.

Epstein's St Michael, Coventry Cathedral,Coventry Cathedral 24-07-09 IMGP1877St. Michael the Archangel tattooSt. Michael the Archangel tattoo

I'll shoot another photo of it soon, since it has healed some and the color has calmed down a bit.

I've also recently put a strain on my credit card by buying a Zone VI (rebranded Tachihara) 4x5 field camera, but it was in excellent condition and came with two lenses and all the trimmings for an incredible price. I'm hoping to really give it a workout as soon as the weather clears and gets a bit warmer. Between winter weather, having a seasonal cold, and just plain lack of inspiration, I've been about to go stir-crazy with my photography. I'm hoping to break out of that soon. And in a few months, my mother, my little sister (actually she's my first cousin, but that's another long story), and her husband are going to be moving across the street from us, into the house in which I currently have my darkroom, so that's another adventure. I hope to start taking my sister photo-walking to give her something interesting to do, and I gave her three film cameras for Christmas so she can get a feel for them and take her pick!

I trust you all have had a very happy and blessed Christmas (or whatever you celebrate) season. I'll try to update in a more timely fashion this year!
Reeshaarrrrwbadger on January 5th, 2013 07:32 pm (UTC)
Great post for what sounds like a great few months. All the pix are awesome (though the one with the plastic bird hit me as disturbing & depressing). It's also great that you guys are held as a successful example for struggling students.

It sounds that the tattoo has a lot of meaning to it. Congrats on being in a place where you can do it.