Mar 2nd, 2021
This is an action packed episode full of teenage street gangs and bank robbers! We’re going to introduce you a late 50s TV show all about a freelance photographer played by a youngish Charles Bronson. We’ll be talking to Jaya Bhat (@jayabhat on IG) about Polacon SF. We’ve got a book review, an zine review, some potentially good advice on slumping and a whole bunch more.
JAYA BHAT AND POLACON SF
This episode, we interviewed one of the kindest and most supportive film photographers you’ll ever meet. He’s put out a few zines, has dabbled in cyanotypes and is even running a demo at Polacon SF this year… let’s give it the hell up for Jaya Bhat!
His zines can be found here: https://jayabhat.bigcartel.com/
And here are some of his photos:
Information on Polacon SF 2021 can be found on @instantfilmsociety
MAN WITH A CAMERA STARRING CHARLES BRONSON!
By 1958, photography was evolving into a hobby accessible to nearly everyone. Companies like Kodak and Minolta were cranking out easy-to-use rangefinders for the beginners. Camera stores could hardly keep home developing kits and chemicals in stock. Everybody at least knew somebody who had a basement darkroom.
And when things get popular, Hollywood takes note.
They wanted to make a TV show about a photographer, but all that anybody wanted to watch was gritty noir like Naked City and Peter Gun. It was action shows that clogged the airwaves with The Rifleman and Bat Masterson. In a fictional world ruled by private eyes, gangers and action heroes, what was a show about photographers supposed to do?
Simple! Rip them off! And that’s exactly what 1958’s Man with a Camera did!
Man with a Camera was originally marketed as being “based on the exploits of famed New York photographer Weegee.” That copy soon changed, dropping the namedrop to settle upon calling it “a new adventure series based on the exploits of a freelance photographer!”
We watched two episodes:
Close Up on Violence (S1E5 – actually the pilot)
You can watch this here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17oFZvPH1D8
This introduces us to Charles Bronson’s Mike Kovac as he goes up against a youth gang to save a dame (basically).
Here’s a few stills from it:
And the other episode was Profile of a Killer (S1E3). In this episode, Bronson’s Mike Kovak is kidnapped by a bank robber/murderer and eventually has to save a dame.
You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTCxGVGg4_k
Here are some stills:
ZINE REVIEW (AND A BOOK REVIEW)
Eric reviewed three amazing zines by M.M. Brady.
Most of the zines we review were sent to us for that purpose. This one is different. I found the photographer from the Women with Film Wednesday hashtag. She goes by M.M. Brady and is @megonfilm on Instagram.
She has three zines available in a bundle for $30, and that’s what I picked up.
Her first is called Bubblegum. It’s an 8.5×11 newsprint paper that unfolds into a 23”x34” poster. It “explores the frequency and frivolity of the color pink in everyday life.” As far as design goes, Vania and I have talked about doing something like this for a long time now. But doing it on newsprint never crossed our minds. Honestly, I’m really thrilled with how well it turned out. Each page unfolded holds new photos until it’s all unfolded. The “poster,” as it were is a huge photo of hay bales wrapped in pink plastic.
The second, a more traditional zine, is Diane – both her and her mother’s middle name. She grew up in Seattle (which is a really rare thing at this point), and her photos of the city help her feel grounded. These are scenes of a very lived in city. Ignoring the tourist spots, her work in Diane is of the residential. It’s 24 pages of color, and roughly a halfsize zine.
Her most recent is Only Diamonds Now Remain. Dipping back into newsprint, this is of memories. With photos and text, she takes us on a tour of her time in Spokane during the summer of 2003.
All three zines are lovingly designed and very different from what most of us are used to. The printing service Mixam sort of has the film photography community in its clutches (myself very much included). So it’s nice to see someone whose printing feels almost outsider. It’s refreshing, and we need much more of it.
And Vania reviewed Two Rivers by Matt Williams
Two Rivers is both a ghost and a road story—one that traverses decades and dimensions as much as it does waterways and highways, both real and imagined. The book project began in the spirit of documentary during the summer of 2018, as I set out to recreate my own dreams and memories as cinematically as they are rendered in my mind. It quickly transformed into something else altogether—an investigation into the nature of time, consciousness, and identity, and an exploration of the enduring significance and soul of geographies. The visual narrative flits between worlds, shot through with bliss, horror, longing, liberation, and intergenerational ecstasy and trauma, populated by phantoms.
The photographs were made all over Canada, primarily on a 2019 road trip across the country from Halifax to Vancouver, using black and white, medium format and 35mm film.
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Our featured Patron for this episode is Dan Tree! @dantreephoto on IG
Music by Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers