Oct 20 2018

No One Cares About Your Photography

Photo by Jai Tanju

Maybe a few friends and family do, but in general no one cares about your photography. Which is why this: YOU CANNOT STOP. Do not stop until they see, feel, and understand your message. I think if you care then you can make them care. If you have not discovered your message aka purpose than you haven’t been shooting and experimenting enough. If you have been shooting a lot maybe it is time to switch it up, go outside more or travel somewhere else or try a different focal length, different format, different camera, etc.

My friend Stefan (who helped start Hamburger Eyes) is a painting contractor and I have been painting houses on and off with him for years. One time his Dad, also a painting contractor, was in town and he said to him, “Hey Dad, Ray has been painting with me, he’s getting good,” or something like that. Then Ratko goes,”Yeah right, see me in 20 years and we’ll see if your painting is good.” I think it’s the same with photography. Until you have gone over every type of problem with every type of paint in every type of weather on every type of surface 100 times, you really don’t know shit.

Most of these articles I am writing are the subjects of emails I get. There are a lot of young photographers wondering what is next for them and I’m like, “You haven’t even shot anything yet.” I think there is a Henri Cartier Bresson quote that goes, “Your first 10,000 photos are garbage.” The harsh truth is most photographers don’t live past age 30. I’m talking about your photography went from “passion” to “hobby” to “minor interest”. I get it, it’s not easy to make a living. But I’m saying you didn’t shoot enough to properly find out.

You work hard and good things start to happen. You hear it all the time. It sounds like a pipe dream but it’s true. Think of every successful photographer you know. They shot and still shoot 100 times more than anyone you know. I think you can get there sooner if you shoot 100 photos per day starting today. The idea is that you will see more, edit more, learn more, etc more.

I struggle with this too. Maybe this post is for self motivation. For the past 10 years I have been identifying myself as a “publisher” first, “photographer” second. But now I am realizing that is wrong, I am a photographer first. And the world needs my weird photos and your weird photos. And we all need to shoot 100 photos per day. Otherwise everything will look like an Iphone commercial. And we don’t want that world.

Continued in PART 2.

Oct 19 2018

Reptiles In General

I was just thinking maybe it’s getting too serious around here. Maybe we need to bring back some music. And this morning come these vids from long time contributor Alex Martinez. When we got our photo studio darkroom facility in SF around 2008, Alex was the first one to “intern” or volunteer there. He worked 2 days a week, every week, for like 5 years or more. He helped shape Hamburger Eyes during those years. He brought on Oskie and he too worked there forever. Alex is an awesome idea man, awesome music man, awesome aesthetic man. The simple design of this site is direct influence from him. Check out him out.

http://amart.tumblr.com/

http://www.stopinternetromance.com/

Oct 18 2018

What Is A Zine?

Photo by Alex Herzog

What is a zine? I don’t know. I guess I could’ve researched it and it’s origins and history but I don’t think it matters very much. It’s like researching and defining what is a mixtape. The various definitions might be generally the same, but generational-ly and genre-ly the definitions could be very different.

When I started making zines it was spelled like this: ‘zine. So I always thought it was like a baby magazine. A do it yourself junior magazine. People also called them “fanzines” because fans were making them to honor their favorites bands. If they were all drawings, you would just call it a “comic”. Lots of writing then maybe “booklet” would work or “pamphlet”, “brochure”, etc.

The gap between commercial publishing and independent publishing used to be so huge. You would see a magazine with Nike and Coca Cola ads, or your would see a magazine with no ads, hand drawings, and scissor cut photos. Nowadays the lines are blurred.

As I said before, if I had to describe it to let’s say my Mom, I would just say it is self published decorated pieces of paper folded and stapled for the purpose of reproduction for mass consumption. That’s it. And then she’d be like, “Oh you mean a pamphlet.”

There’s that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm where Jason Alexander has a book release party and Larry gets there and starts talking shit because it’s a stapled. He goes on and on saying it’s just a booklet. Awesome episode.

At one point, we were paying lots of money to have Hamburger Eyes offset printed which is how most photo books are printed. People were saying we need to call them “books”. That didn’t feel right since it was an ongoing series, so we upgraded “zine” to “magazine” and maybe for 10 years it was a “magazine”. We also had ads, which helped to call it that. But since we downgraded the print quality and are currently exploring newsprint styles, and have no ads, we brought it back down to “zine”. Today it is 120 pages with a perfect bind and we still call it a zine. And it feels way better.

Oct 18 2018

TAXONOMIES

Photo by David Root

So I am having fun writing stuff about stuff and it seems proper to add more categories to the site. If you ever noticed, there are category links at the bottom of every post. I think I will start to add related post links to each article as well.

Anyways, I don’t like to have lots of navigation in the menu bar at the top of the site so I made the archives page also the navigation page. Have a look. This is a work in progress.

Is it trippy digging through the archives.

http://www.hamburgereyes.com/archives/

Oct 16 2018

Crop Circles

Photo by Brandon Getty

You ever spazz out about crops? I do. Not all the time. Just sometimes. I have talked about it before. In this post I will try to describe the Rambo track my mind runs laps on.

It starts with Henri Cartier Bresson. He makes the composition with his eye in the viewfinder. He prints over the edge of the image so you get that black outline from the empty space of the negative. This is just extra emphasis that he framed it up when shooting and it is exactly how it is meant to be. He didn’t want any publishers to crop his photos ever.

And this is correct. This is the proper way to think of your shooting. I was taught this and this is also the proper way to honor your formats. For example if you are shooting square, you print it square.

But then 2 things happened to me simultaneously. The first thing was seeing an exhibition by Robert Frank. In this showing they displayed his regular exhibition prints but also his work prints and contact sheets. Some of his most famous photos were crazy cropped! In the contact sheets you can see that a photo was originally shot horizontal. In the work prints you can see different attempts at the crop. And in the book you can see the final version is a vertical image.

I was shocked but not that shocked. That’s because of the second thing that happened to me. I got into publishing. Well first I got into printing my photos a lot and then mass producing them for mass consumption. The problem is paper sizes don’t match photography format sizes, so when you want to go full bleed you’re gonna knock off a chunk of the photo. It is unavoidable.

So for me cropping is generally fine. If I can save a garbage photo by cropping or “re-framing” it a bit, then I will do it. If I have to move a photo around to avoid the gutter in a 2 page spread, so be it.

The problem is this: file preparation. Now that I am voicing this out loud, it doesn’t seem like much of a problem. LOL. Some photos will look good in all scenarios, but most won’t. Print form, zine form, in a frame, on a tshirt, blog or IG etc etc. Some photos do better in certain forms in certain crops. For instance, in a zine I might have a vertical photo at 2:3 but on the internet I have it in it’s native 4:3 and when I print it on an 8.5 x 11, it’ll probs go 5:7. I guess what I am saying is it’s weird having 3 versions of the same photo out there, so to combat that I have been hitting everything with 5:7 because I think that is my favorite ratio right now. BUT that crop doesn’t work for everything. And neither does a particular photo. See how we are just going round and round?

Anyways, I am overthinking it. Don’t be like me is the moral of the story.

Oct 15 2018

Raul Cañibano – The Cuban Wide Angle Bresson

We are opening up this site to regular contributing photographers and Chris Leskovsek came through with these videos. Visit his site and follow him on IG.

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Lecture #1 @ Foothill College, California, USA – 2015

Lecture # 2 @ Nordic Light Festival, Kristiansund, Norway – 2013

Hey guys, I would like to start this series of photo docs, with a photographer that many of you might never heard before, and I think at this stage it might even be more interesting than me posting another ‘Frank/Bresson’ documentary.

Raul Cañibano – The Cuban Wide Angle Bresson

I honestly do not know how I came across Cuban photographer Raul Cañibano, I think someone, years ago (2011/12 ?) might’ve mentioned it to me or something. I know that as soon as I saw his work, I inmidiately went looking for more info about him, sadly, at the time there was nothing on google. Not even a Facebook page on him. Only this little – and still – only book about his work ( https://www.amazon.com/Ra%C3%BAl-Ca%C3%B1ibano-PHotoBolsillo-Willy-Simons/dp/8415303823 ) which I STRONGLY recommend getting.

Years has passed, and still very little is known about Raul outside Cuba, except that one University professor from the US (can’t remember his name right now) came across Raul’s work and has since helped him get his work out in the world.

Now, the reason I’m recommending Raul’s work, is because, I think for us photographers, Cuba has almost it’s own label or category within photography. We all know the thousand tourists photos of the old cars, buildings, and what have you about Havana. Raul on the other hand, is Cuban, and has an ‘insider’ look to the cuban lifestyle, customs, and culture of his country like no other. Now, if you top that, to the fact that his eye arguably is right up there with Bresson or any of the high praised eyes on mount olympus (Magnum) the end result is simply something I’m sure you have not seen before. Even in 2018.

I honestly do not know how or why his work hasn’t got out there or why he hasn’t been published by steidl or the likes. Perhaps, he does not belong to the elite of photo fairs in Paris, NY or London, or simply maybe is because he doesn’t speak english, loves cuba and refuses to leave the country. In any way, please enjoy these very few lectures about his work.

For all of us gear buffs, his work was very limited in the beginning, to the point of having a camera body (Nikon F) that did not match its camera lens mount and he would just hold the lens in front the camera body and shoot that way. But throughout his career one thing has remained constant, a 28mm lens. I believe he now shoots with an Fuji Xpro1 and a 18mm f2 lens (28mm).

Also, I recently noticed that FINALLY, Raul has put together an official website this year, please check it out here https://raulfoto.visura.co/

Oct 10 2018

3 Rules for Self Publishing

Photo by Alex Herzog

I started thinking about all the different sides of self publishing for future blog posts and thought general mindset should be addressed. Some of you are straight up kooks when talking about your photos and books and zines. This needs to stop. We all have musician friends. We don’t wanna hear about your “projects”. We just want to be inspired when hearing the final product. So hurry up. Same for your zine, every page is rad or every page sucks. But really every page is rad and nothing sucks because you did it. Just don’t tell me about it 10 times before you even started.

Disclaimer: Google and Youtube are littered with either numbers in the titles or “how-to”. So I am adopting this style of title-ing in hopes of more viewership. I think with numbers in the titles, the viewer will assume it is a list which means it is a quick read. This one will be.

3 Rules for Self Publishing

Rule No. 1 – Don’t be lazy.

This rule could also be called, “Don’t be a Baby”. Every one has these books they wanna make. You are either going to have some one else publish it which means go out into the world and find someone to publish it. Or, you’re going to self publish it. And that means learning about Photoshop and Indesign and all the different printing processes. “But I don’t know Indesign,” is something I hear a lot. I reply every time, “Do the Youtube tutorials, it’s free. That’s how I learned.” And when they email me 100 questions and I ask, “Did you do the tutorials?” They say no and then I delete and block all their emails, dms, and texts for life. If I see them in person, violence may occur. JK, just stop blowing up my inbox with laziness.

Rule No. 2 – Don’t be scared.

Pick out 20 photos, find copy machine, copy the photos. Fold and staple the pages together. Give what you just made to the nearest person. There, you made a zine and someone owns it. Repeat this exercise 100 times or until you’re over yourself. The number 1 fear of self publishing I think is fear of criticism. And you can say that this is the number 1 fear for doing anything. If you’re stressed about people seeing your work and hating it, then you need to re-think what your doing. If you are not enjoying yourself then you need to be doing something else.

Rule No. 3 – No one cares.

I understand the importance of making a living doing what you love to do, but that is called entrepreneurship and a whole different topic. If you are just trying to make a book, no one cares. To me this is liberating and now I can just go do it. So you can now just go do it. I am bringing this up because I see people struggling with ideas and concepts, etc. Usually over thinking it. Free yourself from that stress. No one cares. The epicness of books and zines is you can take it or leave it. You can cherish it or leave it on the street for some one else. When you can enjoy this cycle of life, it is easier to participate in it. If you do wanna spend a lot of time and try to win some kind of first place prize for your book or zine, go ahead. If you wanna spend no time on it and make it sloppy, that’s fine too. Do it. Either way, we don’t want to hear about it because we don’t care. Maybe you can make us care after we see it and decide we like it or not. But not before.

Oct 10 2018

PHORUMSS

Photo by Luis Mendoza

Photos + Forums = Phorumss, get it? Royce figured out how to post images via image url and then I added a toolbar that makes it easier. Basically, you can post photos in the forums again. You can’t upload photos to the forums, but you can link to and display photos that are already on the internet.

To re-cap the situation. We had it so you can upload photos to the forums, but I had to disable that feature for fear of a photo dumping grounds. The costs, the technical aptitude, the security, etc were slowly becoming stressful. So we deleted that feature and all the photos. But there is a work around and it is the old school internet way of doing things. That is upload your photos to your own site or whatever and then use that link to display it in our forums. Sounds hectic, but I like this better and it makes me feel like it’s 2003 again.

Have at it – http://hamburgereyes.com/forums