Rediscovered Treasures

Been working on several projects over the last several weeks, including one where I needed to scan a large number of 4×5 sheets of film that I have taken over the years.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover a number of great images that I had taken back when I was working strictly in a dark room, and ‘rejected’ these for one reason or another, and to be honest, some of them I don’t have a clue why they were rejected – most likely because I was working with a limited amount of time and simply chose a different image to print first and never got back to these.  A real shame, since they are beautiful shots, and would look incredible on fiber based paper.

Yet another reason for me to turn my bathroom into my own darkroom!!!

Anyway – I’m looking forward over the next few weeks of cleaning up these images and posting them on my site, most likely creating a portfolio devoted to nothing but film images taken with the pinhole camera.

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A Little of This, A Little of That – Exploring various forms of Photography

One of the things that I find hardest about photography is finding the one area to really focus my attention.  I have achieved it to an extent by categorizing myself as a Fine Arts photographer who also does portraiture and Corporate Industrial work.  My problem is that I tend to see things and think, ‘oh wow, that is so cool’ and my mind is off and running with possibilities.  I have actually decided that for the next several blog posts, I will be focusing on various things that have grabbed my fancy and that I have explored.  Whether these explorations will help me narrow down my form of Fine Art photography is to be seen.

Back in February, when I was still in the mind set that I was a Corporate Industrial photographer to the point of ignoring all other forms of photography, I stumbled across the work of an artist who uses photography as her medium.  Her name is Brooke Shaden.  I discovered her flickr site and spent hours studying her work, dissecting it, figuring it out, and thinking of how I could go about doing similar work.  I then had the opportunity to attend a workshop she was running in Los Angeles.  While her technique wasn’t anything new to me, it was the way she thinks that provided the biggest impact of the weekend.  Since then I have spent many hours looking at things a little differently, and thinking of not just creating one image that’s really cool, but thinking in terms of creating series that will be shown in galleries.

I did walk away from workshop with a couple of images that are worth showing.  It is also my intention to create a series based on this style of photography.  But over all, while I love this style, I do not see it being the direction I will take my photography in the future.


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Street Photography

Last week I discovered the French Photographer Laurent Roch ( and fell in love with his work. To an extent, there is a similarity between our work, where as I tend to focus more on building and environment, he focuses more on people.  There is also the obvious fact that we both lean towards Black and White photography.

Feeling inspired by his work, I have decided to spend the next few weeks (and possibly longer, we will have to wait and see) taking pictures around the Seattle area, creating a new portfolio for street photography.  I suspect you’ll be seeing a bit of this work in the near future, and I hope you enjoy seeing it.

To lead off this jump, here is a street photo I took in Dublin with film.

The old Guiness factory in Dublin, Ireland.

Posted in Europe, Film, General, Street Photography | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Accidents to Learn From

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about happy accidents.  Today will be more about the unhappy accidents.

To make a long story short, I like to shoot 4×5 film with a pinhole camera, and whenever I travel anywhere, it’s one of the cameras I like to have with me because it just creates some truly cool images.  While in Dublin, I used it to take pictures of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and decided to try something a little different.  I put the camera just a couple of feet off of the ground and pointed not quite straight up, but close to it, shooting the front of the Cathedral.  Below is the result of that shot.  It could have been such a great image except I made a mistake.  I did not get the shutter fully out of the lens’ way, so as you see, part of the Cathedral is blocked.

Such a cool image that will not be because of a silly mistake.  Initially I was really upset by this, but then I decided to turn it into a learning experiencing (and you can bet I’ll be very careful in the future to be sure I always have the shutter completely open). The odd thing is, if I had over or under exposed the shot, I wouldn’t have been all that upset and just looked at it to figure out how I should have adjusted my timing.  It’s because the exposure was dead on that it irritated me so to have made such a silly mistake.  But lesson learned.

I truly believe that there is no such thing as a bad mistake.  Mistakes make us who we are, allowing us to grow.  Mistakes also mean we tried.  The tragedy would be to not keep trying due to our mistakes.

Shuttered Cathedral

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Finding the Good in Criticism

Criticism can be painful, but man can you learn from it.  The trick is to get what you can from criticism and grow.  Don’t focus on the negative.  I’ll be the first to admit that not all criticism is worth the air that’s used to produce them (or the paper and ink…).  A lot of time it’s just negative thoughts with nothing constructive involved.  But then there are times where real gems can be found.

Back when I was in school, our instructors often had us put our assignments up along the wall so everyone could see how we each interpreted an assignment. The instructor would then walk along and provide critique.  For those first several months, in my mind, these were the worst minutes of the class.  I would tense up and dread finding out what I was doing wrong and be embarrassed that the whole class would hear.

One day we were sitting there as one of the instructors was critiquing a student’s assignment and pointing out various things that might have made the picture more powerful.  Not once did he say the picture wasn’t any good, or that she failed to grasp the point of the assignment, but the student became very agitated and argumentative.  I just remember sitting there and thinking, ‘Why is she so defensive?  All he is doing is pointing out options that could possibly make the image better, or at least change the tone of the image.’

A few minutes later we reached my assignment. He studied the shots I had taken, and like the other students, preceded to tell me various ideas he had that might make the images more interesting or powerful.  Like my classmate, I immediately became defensive and words of why I couldn’t do something like what he was suggesting began to flow from my mouth.  As my excuses, and they were excuses, tumbled forth, in my mind I’m thinking, “Why am I being so defensive?  All he is doing is pointing out options…” A bell went off in my head.  I immediately stopped talking, looked at my photos and listened. Really listened, and not just to what he had to say about my work, but all of our works.  And you know what?  He was right.  If I was able to do what he suggested, the pictures would have been better, more powerful, or more interesting.

From that point on I started to look at what I am doing and think of what might make each shot better.  My work has improved and has become more interesting (at least I hope it has…).  But that doesn’t mean they are always the strongest they can be.

I’m always willing to grow. So, if you ever look at my work and think, ‘Ya know, this is a great shot, but if she had done this instead, it’d be even better’ – let me know.  Doesn’t mean I’ll agree with what you say, but I’m always willing to listen.  Because, in my mind, criticism is good!

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If only there was a train…

Last month I had the great opportunity to spend several weeks in Europe.  Before going, I had these grand visions of what I would do while I was there; create epic images and a series to wow the world.  As what happens so often when man makes plans, God laughs.  Almost the entire trip had weather, which I am very familiar with living in Seattle – overcast and rainy.  My ideas of contrasty lit pictures went out the window.  But still, I had an incredible vacation.

While visiting Dublin, my friend and I spent most of the week walking all over the city (and I do mean all over – I’m certain we saw areas of Dublin that 98% of all visitors can’t claim to have seen.  If only they just created tourist maps with a little more detail for those of us who like to walk, and oh, if they put street signs up more frequently on corners – that *definitely* would have made a huge difference!).  On one of our final days in the city we were heading back to our hotel, slightly soaked despite our umbrellas.  As we turned a corner we could hear the rumble of train in the near distance.  Looking up we saw one of the neatest things, a DART train rushing through this classy building up on an overhead track.  I quickly grabbed my handy dandy camera and preceded to spend the next 10 minutes, arms held up to ensure the proper framing of the image, waiting for another train that didn’t come.  Since it was raining and we were getting wet, I went ahead and took this picture.

My friend turns to me and said, “You know, if Ramey (one of our instructors from school) saw this, he’d be saying, ‘What would really make this picture work is if there was a train…'”  Ramey, I so know that would have totally made the pic, but we gave up on the train…

And of course, as we were walking away, we heard the rumbling of the next train…

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Happy Accident

Several months back a friend of mine moved to a new city. Before leaving, she did what so many people do when moving; she unloaded many things that she had collected over time to make the move easier. We were talking one day and she asked if I would be interested in her Nagel camera. To be honest, I had no clue what she was talking about; the first thing coming to mind when she mentioned Nagel was of the pop deco artist who was famous back in the 80s for creating album covers for Duran Duran. After describing the camera to me, I couldn’t say no. It was something “new”, it was something different, and it was something photography!!!

I am a film geek. I love shooting with film. It doesn’t matter the size of the film, I just love shooting with it. But I will also admit that I do prefer shooting with the larger formats of films. Nothing against 35 mm, but I get a kick out of what can be done with the large format cameras, and with medium format? Oh the sound that’s made when the shutter is released. Gets me excited just thinking about it!

If only all medium format cameras made that lovely KACHUNK sound.

Alas, this Nagel camera would be one that does not. Not that it really matters. Just like the sound…

After doing a little research, I learned that this Nagel camera was produced for only a few short years back in the 1920s to early 30s, and is roughly the equivalent of the Kodak brownie sold here in the States. Kodak actually went on to buy the company, making it the bases of the German branch of Kodak in 1931.

So yay, new toy. I took my Nagel and went shooting. Without fully understanding what I should be paying attention to when winding the film between shots, I created this happy little accident.

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New Beginnings

I have had this blog for some time, but have rarely actually used it. I always found myself in a bit of a quandary about how the blog should be used and what I should say. A part of me wanted to be witty, and sprout words of wisdom. Another part wanted to focus on photography. And the last part? It just threw up it’s arms in frustration.

Let’s just say, I’ve lacked direction.

Well, not any more. I have decided to devote this blog into presenting to the world what I find to be the inspiration behind my work. I won’t be presenting pictures and say, “Now with this piece I was inspired by blah blah blah…” It’ll be more along the lines of talking about things that are happening around me, what catches my eyes, what I read or hear that intrigue me, what grabs my attention and where that all leads me… which ultimately will lead to my art.

So, having said that, I’m changing the name of my blog from the very original, and highly creative title of ‘heidi dillehunt photography blog’ to “The Hunt for Art”. (A little play on my name there, in case you missed it.) It is my intention to post at least once a week with my insights, and on occasion share work that culminated from my efforts.

I hope everyone enjoys what they read, and continues to follow along!

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Glitches glitches

Spent the morning working on correcting a couple of little glitches I had missed before. So the website looks as it should now!

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New Website

Okay, going to make it official. The new website is up and running. I would love it if you took the time and opportunity to visit the site and have a look around. Also, it’d be great if you dropped me a line to let me know what you think.


Heidi Dillehunt Photography

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