The World Upside Down - Kickstarter Project by Lee Smathers

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Lee Smathers

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My name is Lee Smathers. I'm a professor of photography at a university in Daegu, South Korea, originally from the United States. I believe very strongly in analogue film photography and large format. As the "photoevangelist", I need to spread the word. Both of these have changed my work style and have helped me to find a personal vision I struggled to find when I was using digital photography. South Korea is not like China, or some or the other countries that film photography is considered hip. Large format photography is dying very quickly here, if not just twitching. The only available large format is 4x5 - and even that is limited. Photographic enlargement papers have already been reduced to nothing but Ilford. Rodinal is imported by one individual. People just aren't interested. Koreans follow the latest trend. You'll be hard pressed to find a car older than my very own 1996 Kia. It's gotta be the latest, greatest, fastest thing - no matter what it is. Even good old furniture is dumped when a family moves to get the newest style of leather.

I'm in a very important position to make a strong defense for traditional and large format photography. Lately, special attention has been drawn to my work - and I have three magazine interviews lined up for the next few months. About a week ago, my life and work was documented in a 30 min Korean national TV special. http://www.ebs.co.kr/replay/show?pro...ectId=10165925 Here you'll see me photographing the monorail with my 8x10 camera. I have no financial support for this work. These ideas are my own and I made the cold calls to get up in the monorail (currently under construction) to get special permission. I've seen other artists in Korea who have been given thousands of dollars in research money and grants given to them, but the quality (and passion thereof) of the work really is very short of the mark. I'm not qualified for these grants - or perhaps maybe the right person hasn't seen my work yet.

This is why I need help. Crowdfunding will help get me the attention I need. My final goal is to show drum scanned 7x17 color negative extra-large enlargements (think Massimo Vitali). If my project is successful, I plan to have enough work to exhibit by around 2015. However, right now I'm just trying to fund the film order.

7x17 color isn't a very popular format, so I'm going to start the special order if my proposal is funded.

I want to knock the Korean's feet off with a 1903 camera!
Support can be made here until Dec. 15: Dead Link Removed

Thank you for reading this far!
Cheers!
Lee Smathers
 

Vonder

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Wow, well, I plunked $50 for ya. Hope you get funded but $20K is a lot of mulla!
 
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Lee Smathers

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Thank you for taking the time out to read up about my project proposal, Wolfeye! If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask me! I'll be getting in touch with you soon!
 

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Wow, lotta reading there. Just writing here to remind myself to read it all when I get home.

Still, I'm curious, why not just 20x24 and crop? (besides the cost, obviously, but at least B+W film is a bit more readily available)
 
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Lee Smathers

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Wow, lotta reading there. Just writing here to remind myself to read it all when I get home.

Still, I'm curious, why not just 20x24 and crop? (besides the cost, obviously, but at least B+W film is a bit more readily available)

A 7x17 camera isn't that much larger than 8x10. So it's pretty easy to carry. I'm looking for 8x10 resolving power, but with more of a landscape view. 7x17 uses a lot of lenses that are covered by 11x14 as well. Once you take the next jump to 8x20, the choices are fewer. I guess 4x10 is also an option, but that's closer to 4x5 and 5x7 resolving power.

Thanks for taking the time to read up, Dr Croubie!
 

StoneNYC

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A 7x17 camera isn't that much larger than 8x10. So it's pretty easy to carry. I'm looking for 8x10 resolving power, but with more of a landscape view. 7x17 uses a lot of lenses that are covered by 11x14 as well. Once you take the next jump to 8x20, the choices are fewer. I guess 4x10 is also an option, but that's closer to 4x5 and 5x7 resolving power.

Thanks for taking the time to read up, Dr Croubie!

Why not get one of those split backs, and shoot an 11x14 with it cut so 5.5x14 (or whatever it is split.
 
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Lee Smathers

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Then I'd have to buy a 11x14 camera, splitting back, and a special order for 11x14 film. :smile: I have a 7x17 camera, so I might as well use it. :smile:
 

StoneNYC

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Then I'd have to buy a 11x14 camera, splitting back, and a special order for 11x14 film. :smile: I have a 7x17 camera, so I might as well use it. :smile:

Nice, now you'll just have to eat learn some woodworking and build yourself a split back :wink:
 

StoneNYC

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he owns a 7x17 camera. he's going to order film that fits into it, not 11x14. I don't see a reason to derail his thread.

He said he might go with the 11x14 split back option, so I was letting him know about a film purchase in that size that's already happening. It's called being helpful and sharing information and resources... I have no stake in the 11x14 purchase I just figured if he goes with the split back option, he could go in on an already established special order so he doesn't have to struggle to organize others for a separate special order.

These kinds of special orders don't happen often and once everyone is full up of the 11x14, it will be at least a year before people are ready for a second buy in of that film as many would already have it... just thinking ahead, not derailing the thread at all.
 

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SNIP SNIP SNIP

He said he might go with the 11x14 split back option, so I was letting him know about a film purchase in that size that's already happening.

READ WHAT HE SAID


Then I'd have to buy a 11x14 camera, splitting back, and a special order for 11x14 film. :smile: I have a 7x17 camera, so I might as well use it. :smile:

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hey lee, great to see you here!

good luck with your project, i will do my best to scrape up some cash to send it your way --

john ( the graflex 3a guy )
 

StoneNYC

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No, you're NOT THINKING. You're just posting bs just to post. Trying to hit 4000 by lunch?

As john pointed out I miss reads single word that caused me to miss understand... I read "I'd" for "I'll" and I thought he was going to make a split back that could attach to his current camera and was saying he would still be able to use his camera with my suggestion.

Obviously I missunderstood.

Sorry.
 
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Lee Smathers

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As john pointed out I miss reads single word that caused me to miss understand... I read "I'd" for "I'll" and I thought he was going to make a split back that could attach to his current camera and was saying he would still be able to use his camera with my suggestion.

Obviously I missunderstood.

Sorry.

Thanks for your comments Stone, you're just trying to help. I appreciate your comments and attention to my thread.
-Lee
 
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Lee Smathers

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hey lee, great to see you here!

good luck with your project,

john ( the graflex 3a guy )

Hey John, long time to chat! Thanks for the best wishes on this project! I need it! Things don't look so optimistic, but it's not over until the fat lady sings! I'm having difficulty trying to break into the Korean (domestic and overseas) audiences and social networks. My brother-in-law is trying to help me, lets hope we can get some big support in before the Dec. 15 deadline!

Hope you're doing well!
-Lee
 
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Lee Smathers

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I wish you the best of luck. However most art related kickstarter campaigns don't make their goal and you are asking for a lot more $$ then most art projects on kickstartet.

I know you want color film, but have you considered going B&W and using X-ray film.
http://www.wholesalexrayfilm.com/st...id=60&osCsid=876b9e590cadb1e99ccb2e3a0be58de2
Cut the sheets in half and you have 200 shoots of film for $90.

I have used 8x10 and 7x17 xray emulsion. I've mastered 8x10, but the 7x17 xray film is problematic. I've given up on 7x17 xray because no matter how careful I am after a full day shooting and another full day processing I'll get bad scratches on my negatives (I've tried stripping the backs of the negatives too), and I often get bad overprocessing on the edges of the film:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lee_smathers/9320676240/

I do like 8x10 x-ray very much, but I prefer it for portraits in the studio over outdoor work (so far, I haven't taken any outdoor photography with x-ray film that I'm very excited about). I process them in tanks and hangers, scanned it with my Epson v750 and made 40x50 inch prints and made our photography department's jaws drop.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lee_smathers/9004180255/
There is a better x-ray negative scan on Kickstarter. This is a scan of a contact print.

There is a place for x-ray film for me, but not with the 7x17. Two heavily invested days are wasted. I do use Ilford 7x17 black and white films. In fact many are. With 7x17 color, I'm aiming to knock the socks off of Koreans with the incredible detail. I'm aiming to make prints similar to Vincenzo Castella's 12x20 inch negative enlargements. No one is doing that kind of work here. Why should the Italians have all the good work?
 
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Lee Smathers

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Only 5 days left to fund the project, "The World Upside Down", on Kickstarter. Any help spreading the word, would be greatly appreciated.

Dead Link Removed

An update for those that might be interested: I've been asked to do a lecture/speech (in Korean) on Korean national TV (filming for it will be on Christmas day, 10 days after my Kickstarter project ends). This is a very popular program, many celebrities have hosted the show, which will be aired on a Sunday night at prime time at the end of this year, or early in January. I think it would be great to have this Kickstarter project under my belt and as a foundation to my recent popularity in the Korean mainstream.
 
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