Word On The Street

#0568_02 - Market Street, 2017

In Technicolor...

Or Kodak Portra, as it were.

Finally getting through the backlog of scans that have been languishing on my hard drives, starting with some local color around The City from August and September.

All images shot with a Voigtlander R3m and a Nokton 35mm f/1.4 on Kodak Portra 400 film with an 812 Warming filter.

#0569_32 - Howard Street, 2017

#0568_21 - Market Street 2017

#0568_14 - Fourth Street 2017

#0569_03 Market Street 2017

#0568_34 - Fourth Street 2017

Catalina, Take #2

#0548_21A - Catalina, Inverness 2017

When you ask a model, currently sans attire, to climb under a picnic table that is basically in a swamp, and she doesn't bat an eyelash, you've basically won the model lottery.

Catalina is, in fact, that model. Check out her Instagram here and her model mayhem page here.

May post one more take from the swamp shoot / location. Have a few interesting polaroids that may deserve a second look. Still have a few more things on deck with other models I'll be posting soon. Hope to be back to shooting in a few more weeks when the leg starts to feel a little better.

#0547_20A - Catalina, Inverness 2017

#0548_19A Catalina, Inverness - 2017

#0548_04A - Catalina, Inverness 2017

#0547_08A - Catalina, Inverness 2017

#0547_31A - Catalina, Inverness 2017

I Should Probably Stick To The Darkroom...

Left leg, pre-op, September 2017.

Seems I have a real hidden talent for breaking bones...

I grew up playing hockey in Michigan, but gave it up when everyone else got bigger and I stayed the same size. I missed playing for sure, but it was never that important, I was never very good, and at the time I was getting more interested in the arts, music, substances, the like... I didn't play for almost 20 years, and then on whim, sort of fell back into it not long after I met my wife. She said let's go ice skating and it was all down hill from there.

Left leg, post-op, September 2017.

I started playing pickup on the weekends again and promptly began to injure myself unfortunately... strained the tendons in my wrist, pulled a muscle in my back, a partially torn hamstring, then a clean break through the tibia and fibula above my right ankle, and a year and a half later, last weekend, a really bad tibia fracture that cracked my left leg into about 6 pieces, bringing my total hardware count to 1 rod, 2 plates, and 14 screws.

Right ankle, post-op, May 2016.

Not going to be shooting much in the next few months. Will be posting some older work from the back log soon. Seems like I should stick to the darkroom... I'll miss playing for sure, but it's time to hang up the skates.

Hashtag Metal.

Notes From The Road...

A few polaroids from the long weekend... we wandered up North to Humboldt to escape the heat wave... Was still 98 degrees on the coast, but a far cry from the 112 degrees on the drive up through Santa Rosa...

Drove through the redwoods on the 128 out to the coast, you forget how amazing Northern California is sometimes, living in the city.

We stayed in a cabin made out of an old wine barrel, which I had no idea was a life goal of mine until now...

Word On The Street: Washington, DC

I'd never been to Washington, DC before, and I'm more than a little pissed that my first experience there was during the rein of the buffoon the donald... the sea of make American great again hat's at the Air and Space Museum was enough to make you nauseous...

#0564_29 - Tourists, Supreme Court of the United States 2017

The entire place feels overwhelmingly fortified, and I don't think I've been subjected to so many searches, x-rays and metal detectors in my entire life than I was in the week I was in DC. None the less, it was a good time...

#0564_07 - Metro Station, Washington, DC 2017

#0565_37 - Metro Train, Washington DC 2017

#0566_03 - Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC 2017

#0567_10 - Tourists, the Washington Monument. Washington, DC 2017

#0564_15 - Protestor, Capitol Hill. Washington, DC 2017

#0565_20 - Protestor, Capitol Hill. Washington, DC 2017

Word On The Street: NYC

I hadn't been out to the East coast in probably a decade, but things worked out and I tagged along with my wife to a conference in Washington DC by way a New York for a few days...

#0563_14 - Brooklyn, New York 2017

New York has never really been my bag, nice place to visit, wouldn't want to live there. It was good to get away, we stayed in Brooklyn and rode the subway to the Whitney, walked the High Line, people sleep there a lot, found a dead mouse, drank to much, ate even more, then hopped a train to DC...

#0563_06 - High Line, Manhattan 2017

#0563_08 High Line, Manhattan 2017

#0563_21 - Mouse, Brooklyn 2017

Nicole, Take #2


Another take from the first shoot I did up in Inverness with Nicole... You can see the first take of Nicole here and of Catalina here...

The weather held for the most part and we were able to work outside for a bit without risk of hypothermia. Such are the pitfalls of sunny Northern California.

You can see more of Nicole's work on Instagram and of course, Model Mayhem...

More images on the way from both shoots, with some material on deck from New York and Washington DC to come...





Word On The Street

#0553_30 - Market Street, San Francisco 2017

In Technicolor no less... or Kodak Portra as it were...

A departure to say the least, I've been experimenting with some color film lately. My wife likes to tell people that I'm actually color blind. Seriously, she does it all the time.

All images shot with a Voigtlander R3m, 50mm Nokton f/1.1 on Kodak Portra 400 film.

Shout out to Photoworks SF for stellar processing and quick turn around... got to support the local shops...

#0551_17A - Yerba Buena Gardens, San Francisco 2017

#0553_18 - Market Street, San Francisco 2017

#0551_16A - New Montgomery Street, San Francisco 2017

Catalina, Take #1

#0543_05 - Catalina, 2017

Take #1 with Cat, the second shoot I did up in Inverness at the end of May. You can see Take #1 with Nicole here...

Cat showed up with a small truck load of wardrobe, which I always appreciate, am typically overwhelmed by, and almost never end up using, though we did end up putting a couple looks together.

More material on the way from both shoots, some great outdoor stuff and random shots I really dig involving a picnic table...

See more of Cat's work on Instagram and the obligatory Model Mayhem...

#0543_25 - Catalina, 2017

#0544_09A - Catalina, 2017

#0544_28A - Catalina, 2017

#0545_08A - Catalina, 2017

Nicole, Take #1


Worked with Nicole, a rather new model, for an afternoon in May... We were staying up North a ways for the weekend, found this little cottage in Inverness, right on the bay, great light indoors and pretty epic scenery outside.

All images shot with a Leica M2 and M3, 35mm and 50mm Zeiss lenses, on Ilford HP5 film. Lots more from this shoot to come, plus a second shoot at the same location with another model...









The March For Science

#0529_22A - Left to right: Mother In Law, Wife, Father In Law, all giant nerdlings...

The March For Science, April 22nd, 2017. San Francisco... A few observations...

This was the whitest march I have ever seen. A friend of mine said of the event "No birds were watched this day."

The sheer volume of white socks and sandals was staggering.

The signs were absolutely amazing.

#0529_03A - March For Science, Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco 2017

#0529_20A - March For Science, San Francisco 2017

#0530_27A - March For Science, San Francisco 2017

#0531_12A - March For Science, San Francisco 2017

#0531_28A - March For Science, San Francisco 2017

#0530_10A - March For Science, San Francisco 2017

#0531_31A - March For Science, San Francisco 2017

Happy (Very) Belated Tax Day...

A few frames from the Tax Day demonstration in San Francisco. Once again, the signs do not disappoint. Stay tuned for the March for Science...

#0526_17A - City Hall, San Francisco 2017

#0526_18A - Civic Center, Tax Day Protest, San Francisco 2017

#0527_22A - "Trump Eats Farts" Tax Day Protest, San Francisco 2017

#0527_28A - Tax Day Protest, San Francisco 2017

#0528_13A - Tax Day Protest, San Francisco 2017

#0528_02A - Tax Day Protest, San Francisco 2017

Word On The Street

Have a huge back log of images to get through, a few shoots on deck, heading to NYC tonight, summer semester starts in a week... busy summer. Here's a few from the street...

#0520_30A - Market Street, San Francisco 2017

#0525_20A - New Montgomery, San Francisco 2017

#0525_09A - Market Street, San Francisco 2017

#0526_01A - MUNI Train, San Francisco 2017

#0526_05A - Market Street, San Francisco 2017

#0527_06A - Market Street, San Francisco 2017

Why I'm Giving Up On Patreon

As many of you (like 5 of you really) may know, I have a Patreon page. It's been running a little over a year and a half. It has turned out to be a resounding failure, for a slew of reason, not all of them my fault, some of them very much so, regardless... I'm shutting it down, and here's why.

Patreon is very much based on this concept of hope labor. I will do this thing, for free, and hope that someone will support it in the future. Artists, writers, photographers, designers, you know what I'm talking about. Great idea in theory, entirely terrible idea in practice. The fact that I am and have been basically doing this anyway, for years, without a platform to gain sponsors and patrons, makes Patreon a terribly attractive idea on many levels. Here's the problem(s)...

"Do you want to buy this photograph? No? I completely understand."

This is, and always has been, my standard sales pitch. I'm not a salesman, I don't want to be a salesman, I never will be a salesman. Period. Patreon promises a platform that connects paying fans to the creators they want to follow, but it does not deliver. It provides a decent platform for pushing work to subscribing patrons, but fails miserably at actually searching for, finding, and connecting anyone with anything. The responsibility is solely on the creator to seek out and drive patrons to their page and close the deal. Additionally, the publishing platform itself is quite lacking, and though better than when I started, needs a great deal more features and flexibility to become viable for the majority of content creators. For this platform, Patreon skims 5% of artists earnings, not including processing fees (Paypal, Stripe, etc).

Patreon is absolutely amazing for people with a large, established following, and that's not me. The time put into promoting this page is staggering when you take a step back and actually look at it. On top of that, the other services used to promote it require their own investment in time and effort to be of any use or effectiveness. I currently run a website, with a blog updated semi-regularly, a Facebook page, an Instagram stream, at least 2 or 3 Tumblr blogs at any given time (because I freaking love Tumblr, honestly), and probably some other social-media crap I'm forgetting about. It's ludricous, it's busy work, and I'm tired of it.

Perhaps most importantly, I feel as though I've begun to create content to satisfy a subscriber, and that is absolutely the last thing on Earth I ever wanted to be when I decided to pursue photography as my life's work. This took me a minute to realize, and come to terms with, and it's not something I'm willing to continue doing. I am, however, in a position that I don't have to. 

By definition, I am not technically, on paper, a professional photographer. The vast majority of my income comes from other places. I work at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco in a full time position that affords me a decent salary, benefits, and flexibility to pursue my own work. I do classroom support for various departments, I teach on average 3 photography courses a semester, I manage the pool of equipment that students can checkout during classes, and I'm incredibly fortunate to have this stable, steady income that allows me to continue producing my own work. I also married really well, and that doesn't hurt either.

The point is, I don't need Patreon, and they don't need me, which is a wonderful thing.

It wasn't always this way... I've been crushingly poor at times, I've weighed 50 pounds less than I do now (it wasn't pretty), I've sold cameras to make rent, I've borrowed money from friends, I've been in debt, but the solution to those problems, the very real issues that working artists are faced with every day, aren't going be solved with Patreon, or Kickstarter, there is no app for that, there is no magic platform. 

It hasn't been a total failure to say the least. I've thoroughly enjoyed creating new work in a different way, and putting it out into the world. To those of you that supported my work, I cannot begin to thank you enough. To think that even a handful of you out there cared enough about what I was doing to not just pledge money, but to want to get prints in the mail once a month on top of that is just amazing and flattering, and I am forever in your debt. Some of you have supported me from day one (I'm looking at you Doc and Jon) and for that I will be eternally grateful.

All that said, I will be shutting down my Patreon page, and ceasing all subscriptions, effective immediately. From here on out, I'll be focusing on this, my own personal website, and less on the social media busy work that has become such a distraction.

And now, for the sales pitch...

If you'd like to support my work, please buy a print, purchase a book, commission a portrait, help me fund an exhibition, share my work with others, or just send me an email and tell me you enjoy what I do. It would mean the world to me.

And if you don't want to do any of those things... I completely understand.

Print Release, May of 2017 - No. 0433_06A

I've been sitting on this image for a while now... not sure how it fits in to anything else or why I keep coming back to it, but I do, and so I printed it, and here it is, for what it's worth. Some images are like that...

No. #0433_06A - South Lake Tahoe, California. February of 2016. Leica M3, Zeiss 50mm f/1.5 lens, Ilford HP5 400 film.

I'm experimenting with some new paper, digital proofs are printed on Arista Fine-Art Matte this month. It's a thinner paper stock, but it prints a much more neutral, continuous tone image. All 5x7 proofs are printed on Ilford Cold Tone  Fiber, as usual. Prints should hopefully ship out by the end of the week.

If you're not getting a print this month and would like to pick one up, you can find one in my shop here: https://www.josephszymanski.com/shop/no-043306a

To get in on monthly print releases, to support my work, and to get rad stuff in the mail every month, visit https://patreon.com/jszymanski/.

The Monte Cristo...

A few frames from the Second Annual Photography Shindig Thingy... some of us photographers and models and creative folks from The Bay have been getting together, in random swanky locations, this year was the Monte Cristo Hotel. We party a little, catch up a bit, we make some pictures, weirdness ensues...

#0515_01A - Sonia, 2017

#0515_09A - Michelle, 2017

#0515_25A - Sonia, Michelle, Tiana, Brittany, 2017

#0516_05A - Sonia, 2017

#0518_36 - Brittany, 2017

#0517_15A - Sonia, Tiana's Legs, 2017

#0517_18A - Tiana, Brittany, 2017

On The Road

Snapshots from the road... Southbound down The 5 to Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, The Mojave, Kelso Sand Dunes Trump Country, and the like...

#0508_06A - Highway 5, Southern California, 2017.

#0508_12A - Joshua Tree NP, California. 2017

#0508_12A - Joshua Tree NP, California. 2017

#0508_27A - Amboy, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0510_12A - Kelsoe Dunes, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0510_17A - Kelsoe Dunes, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0510_19A - Kelsoe Dunes, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0511_12A - Amboy, Mojave Desert, California. 2017

#0511_15A - Tourist Trap, Palm Springs, California. 2017