Shashin Saturday

© Takashi Homma

© Takashi Homma

On Saturday I went into New York City to participate in the Shashin Photography From Japan Festival. My daughter and I went in together since she had a math class at NYU Saturday morning. From downtown I headed up to the Westin Hotel on 42nd Street and straight up to the 36th floor. Just outside the designated room I met Russet Lederman and her husband. She is one of the organizers of 10×10 Photobooks and a lovely, lovely person. Russet’s husband and I were engaged in a fierce comparison of Fujifilm cameras, he had the X100T and I had the XE-2, when Ivan Vartanian arrived. He is very friendly, and as we shook hands he asked my name and I responded, Dave Ortiz. He stared at me with a look of concern and confusion when I, having seen this before, blurt out, I am not the baseball player. All burst out laughing. And so my name for the rest of the day was, “Dave, not the baseball player,Ortiz,” We all then step into the pitch black room and there before us on a table and dripping onto the wall and ceiling was a projection of the Chrysler Building! You could see, as Takashi Homma lectured with help from Ivan, clouds move across the dim blue sky on the table. Like some sort of art house movie! I skipped the tracing of parts of the Chrysler Building projection because I have horrible night vision and it was all that I could do to see the dim pinhole projection. We then all got to place an instant film holder on to any part of the image and take an photo with the instant film. Actually Homma san took the image and we received the gift with quiet gratitude. I wanted to capture one of the clouds against the Building but by the time it was my turn all the clouds had disappeared. I settled for the next best thing, the Gargoyle at the bottom of the projection table. Homma was delighted with my choice but unfortunately, with my eyesight not being what it should be we cut off the head of the gargoyle! That’s why I do digital.

In the afternoon I met up with Ivan and Russet at Dashwood Books for Daisuke Yokota’s “photo performance.” Which was basically Yokota san sprinkling acetic acid on some prepared prints. This is part of his process that makes each piece unique and imbues it with atmosphere. Ivan Vartanian was there introducing and translating for Daisuke. I have to admit one good thing about listening to these talks and demonstrations is that I get to hear how the artist’s names are pronounced. Left up to my own devices my pronunciations would be some sort of vocal atrocity to Japanese ears.

©2015 Dave "not the baseball" Ortiz

©2015 Dave “not the baseball player” Ortiz

At this point, Ivan has done his introduction and is helping Daisuke with the acetic acid mixture.

©2015 Dave Ortiz

©2015 Dave Ortiz

Daisuke mixes the acid and gets his glove wet.

© 2015 Dave Ortiz

© 2015 Dave Ortiz

Daisuke drips the acetic acid onto the photographs.

© 2015 Dave Ortiz

© 2015 Dave Ortiz

You can see the effect the acid has on the image.

Afterwards we all got the chance to purchase Daisuke’s new zine and have him sign it. A nice little souvenir (a bit expensive though) of the day. Thanks to all for being so gracious and friendly. I had a blast.


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