What I Look Like to First Graders

“If you were in a circus, you would be a clown,” the boy said to me.

I knew from this comment on, my experience would be a memorable one. Luck had it I was invited to visit a local kindergarten through twelve school. My primary visit was in the arts department, which is where I met the crowd of first graders.

“What are you going to do in art class?” I asked one little girl. “I don’t know” she said. “Well, what do you want to do?” I asked. “I want to paint the ceiling” she said. “Well, I’m not sure we can do that, but it does sound like a grand idea,” I replied. The teacher, because she is such a good teacher, said, “Well, what if we paint pieces of paper the size of the ceiling tiles, and then we can tack them up.” Lots of screaming, cheers, rushing about. “What if we all paint a piece of the same picture so that when we put them all together we get one HUGE painting,” I asked. Lots of screaming, cheers and rushing about.
“Let’s draw the photographer,” the teacher said. Lots of screaming, cheers and rushing about.

Well, we didn’t end up with anything the size of the ceiling, but what we did end up with is what you see here. I have to say, this was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a while. The kids were so refreshing, so animated, so interested it made me realize what a great future we all have.
The hair…they nailed it. The stubble was a surprise cause I’d shaved that morning. The Leica proved to be VERY popular.

Leica M9 + Super Dynamite

Leica M9 + Super Dynamite from Smogranch on Vimeo.

Okay folks, I finally had a chance to use the Leica M9 in a way that I feel really explores the potential of this camera. I thought I would get to connect with this camera on my Hong Kong trip but I never really connected with anything at the level I’m looking for. But, I was recently able to spend a few days with my nephew, Super Dynamite, and was able to really use the M9 like I would if I was working on a project. I have to say, it works. As you know, I’m very familiar with these cameras, so for me, I never skipped a beat. The only suggestion I have is to make the exposure compensation more accessible. Meter is good, quickness is good, it’s quiet. I also exported large files this time. Everything I’d done with this camera, up until this shoot, was small files for the web. This time, seventeen inch Tiff files. They look fantastic. The fallout, same as my M6, and the texture of areas outside critical focus,to me, look really good. In fact, I think they look like images that have been prepped to look like film, that small texture added in. So, take a listen and see what you think. By the way, when these images export to a Quicktime file when I do these voice overs…they really lose something. So, I’ve added two in here so you get an idea of how good these files look.


If your gonna be bear, be a grizzly. Remember that expression?

So I’m about 6’0 ish. So you can do the math.

This print is a 40×40 before the matte, before the frame. And there are three more of equal size.

This has been a good print time for me. First, if you remember from a few weeks ago, the wall of prints in the house here in Newport. And now, these giant prints. I have to say, I’m really happy when someone does something like this, someone being the person who is in charge of the people in the photos. Mom, dad, etc. When they decide to do something different it really pays off in the feeling you get when you see a print this size. I also think a print this size is a very lasting beast. Sure, the cost involved is part of that, but it is also about taking a stand and saying, “You know, I like these images and I want to look at them for a long time.”
We live in an age of Facebook, of a life pursuant to the delete button, and as a photographer I don’t want to follow that path. I want to follow the path of the permanent, the long lasting, the slow if you will.

The only thing I wish I could have done was print them myself, in the darkroom, but I wouldn’t even know how to handle a print that size. Maybe next time.

PS: First person to tell me what that is around my neck…..I’ll buy you a beer when we see each other next. Promise.