Austin Texas photography blog by Ben Sklar

Archive for August 2010

Friends and Type 55

with one comment


I’m preparing to shoot a portrait project on the no longer produced but highly revered type 55 positive/negative film from Polaroid. I decided it would be a good idea to test the film with my Polaroid back, a Toyo view 4×5 camera and sync it to my Profoto lighting kit. This is my friend Eric Powell who has had some interesting and difficult life experiences recently, but has found himself in a good place going to school with a bright future. I’ve wanted to shoot some of his life story as it unfolded and was happy to make the first step with a b/w portrait while we were hanging out.

These are 2 of the positives from the 4 that I shot last week. Overall I was very pleased with the look of the images and the toning. I think a different lens in the future could be more effective.


My friend Drew recently moved back to Austin from Washington DC where he and his girlfriend have been hanging on to this newspaper clipping for almost a year. Thanks! It gives me a confusing mix of emotions to see the paper and these images again, but I’m definitely happy to have this clip in physical form and my friends back in town.

Written by bensklar

August 25, 2010 at 10:14 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Ogden Museum show, New Orleans!

leave a comment »

Big thanks to Karl for making some snaps of the show in New Orleans at the Ogden Museum which opened last night. Looks like it was a packed house and the walls were packed with photos. Personally the intensity of Katrina continues to resonate with me every day and I’m sure the victims of the storm and other photographers feel the same way.

Major props to Smiley Poole and the rest of the Telling Their Stories crew for putting the event together and coordinating an effort like this. It takes a lot of work and they deserve a major pat on the back for a job well done.

Also a big thanks to Lance Rosenfield, fellow Zilker neighborhood photographer compadre, for helping me out and making a headshot for the event!

Here are some snaps:

Karl checking out the images.

People looking at the photos.

A woman who looks really concerned about my photograph.

A band is a must at a New Orleans event as cool as this. Is that a Moog? It matches the chairs nicely!

Written by bensklar

August 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Recovered film

leave a comment »

I was recently digging through a box of miscellaneous photo gear, leather scraps and old boxes when I recovered 3 sheets of exposed Polaroid Type 59 film. The writing on the film revealed they were exposed during a tour with the band Sunset in late 2007.

Anyway here’s a positive from one of the sheets.

Written by bensklar

August 19, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

CEO Portrait

leave a comment »

I went to Smooth Stone Inc.’s headquarters last Thursday to meet Barry Evans, CEO of the underdog chip maker. His company has been developing new chips that will do some really important things for those in the technology business mostly by decreasing the energy needed to operate devices that control servers remotely. You can read about it in this article in the Times. The just received some major funding from global companies to release a chip that will contend with the chip giant Intel. The name Smooth Stone is a nice way of making an analogy between their small office outfit to Intel’s power house operation and the weapon David chose for his epic battle with Goliath.

The headquarters are based in a ’70s building shell in North Austin that is run by a few companies and the University of Texas for research labs. It was an odd place that gave me the impression people who made movies like Office Space and even Tron found inspiration.

Barry was very open to my ideas for photography as we walked around the building to various locations scouting light, position and pre-historic security cameras that monitored a relatively empty parking lot.

Enjoy!

Written by bensklar

August 18, 2010 at 8:47 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Telling their stories exhibit

leave a comment »

A photo of mine from Hurricane Katrina has been accepted to be in the “Telling Their Stories” exhibit at the Ogden Museum in New Orleans next week. There’s an opening on Thursday, August 19, a lecture the following day and a seminar on Saturday. I hope you can make it if you happen to be in New Orleans (check the schedule of events here).

This appears to be a nice event, but unfortunately it looks like its more about the photographers who made the pictures rather than the subjects of the pictures. I will say that the educational program is an outstanding thing to do and takes a lot of energy from everybody involved. I’m really not sure New Orleans with ever get out of the shadow of Katrina. It seems like it will always be remembered as a turning point or marker of history for the city. I wonder if these events, largely put on by outsiders of the community, reinforce Katrina’s wrath or help heal the wounds it left behind. Will we ever get over it?

It’s hard to believe the 5 year anniversary of Katrina is 2 weeks away. If you’re interested, please have a look at the work I did in Hancock County Mississippi during Katrina and the 5 year anniversary project that I am continuing to work on.

I’m planning on posting some photos next week from a shoot I did with a CEO of a computer chip company for the New York Times Monday Business section and another shoot for the Guardian Weekend Magazine in London. Stay tuned…

ps: If you’re looking for something to do, find you’re nearest theater and go see Restrepo. It’s Tim Hetherington‘s new film from time he spent in Afghanistan with the 173rd Airborne in the Korangal Valley. It’s hard to watch, but absolutely worth it. I’m glad there are people dedicating themselves to this type of work that we all learn and benefit from.

Written by bensklar

August 14, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Political Promos

leave a comment »

I shot these promotional photos for Texas Senate Candidate Jose Rodriguez back in January in El Paso. The political marketing strategy firm MAP hired me to photograph Rodriguez in a documentary-portrait style to show him as a well rounded candidate to represent El Paso.

We shot all day long, but were rewarded with a steak dinner in the end. I’m happy with how the photos were used on full page spreads and I think the client/candidate were pleased too.

Today I was in the darkroom for the first time in a few months processing some film I shot on a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye my sister gave year a few years ago. Turns out it works and works well. I also processed the first roll of film from Mark and Annie’s wedding almost a year ago, yikes! It looks real sharp. The excitement of seeing film turn into photos after taking it out of the chemicals never goes away.

Stay posted for more snaps.





Written by bensklar

August 10, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Snaps

leave a comment »

Here are some old photographs I found on my computer that I thought were interesting. I’ve mostly been working on promos and contracts aside from last minute shoots. Yesterday was a productive day as I made a scripted short film with some hired friends as actors and crew. We lit, shot and wrapped in under 4 hours; this will be a short short.

I’ll post the video after we finish producing it and show some photos of the modified shoulder mount that I used with the 5d Mark II soon. I’ve been meaning to post these political promos too, so hopefully I can get them up tomorrow.


Dead Red Bird on my sidewalk.


Winnie the dog tranquilized at the vet.

Written by bensklar

August 9, 2010 at 8:05 pm

Posted in Uncategorized