Old Town Auburn's Preeminent Multi-Winery Tasting Room
Fine Art, Decadent Noshes, and Unique Gifts
|BRET MACKINNON | fine art and documentary photographer||
I have just put up a small show of work at Sip Auburn, the new wine bar and tasting room in Old Town. This place is really fantastic and a great addition to the Old Town Auburn scene. Two stories and 3500 square feet of wine, fine art, casual seating, and relaxation. I have five pieces in the hall gallery upstairs, just outside the VIP/balcony room. Come on by and taste some great local wines, view work from local artists, and enjoy this neat new place. Sip Auburn is also on the Auburn Art Walk and will be open during the next art walk on October 9th. Sip Auburn is located on Commercial Street along antique row just across from the old fire station in Old Town Auburn.
Old Town Auburn's Preeminent Multi-Winery Tasting Room
Fine Art, Decadent Noshes, and Unique Gifts
I've put up four "new" works at my current show happening at The Little Belgium Deli and Beer Bar in Auburn. These are actually older images and prints that I made back when I still exclusively did all of my printing in the darkroom. Each print is a little larger than 11x14 and framed in sizable 16x20 frames. The prints are produced on Ilford fiberbase graded paper and selenium toned for archival storage. It's not too often that you get to see real silver-gelatin prints anymore. The prints are all in the back room. Stop by, see the work, and grab a pint!
People are often curious about what I carry and use to make my images so it's fun once in awhile to do a little "in my bag" blog for those that are interested. I haven't done one in a long time, so here we go...
I like to travel very light and over the years that has seen my bags and tools getting more and more minimal, though I doubt it can really get much more minimalist than my current set up. My work entails lots of wandering and walking so simplicity and lightweight is key. It also helps for me to stay as inconspicuous as possible which is reflected in both my choice of cameras as well as the bag I carry them in.
Here's the list of what I carry:
I can't speak highly enough of the items I carry. Each and everyone of them is no more, and no less, than exactly what I need. I'm not going to get into any kind of reviews here as there are more than enough out there of the equipment I use if you want to do a search and satisfy your techy side. Needless to say, they are professional quality, time tested, exacting tools that allow me to craft the very best images I can. I suppose there are times when I wish I had a different lens or an additional camera body with me, but regular carry and use of them would get in the way of the spontaneity of how I work as well as discourage me from traveling as far or for as long as I do now.
Famous long distance backpacker and adventurer, Ray Jardine, once said, " If you need it and don't have it, then you don't really need it." Words to shoot by.
Just a quick announcement about a show I have coming up here in Auburn, CA. A gallery of twelve of my most recent pieces will be going up in The Little Belgium Deli and Beer Bar in downtown for a three month show. The show will run from March 30th until June 30th. A "meet the artist" reception will take place Tuesday night, April 1st from 6-9pm where people will have a chance to chat with me about the work and otherwise get their art social on...
All of the pieces were shot over the last year I and really hope you can make it out to see them if you can. All of the matted works are for sale and represent the very highest quality black and white printing available today. Oh, and the Deli is a top notch little hot spot. Great beers, food and atmosphere. Come out and see the show!
"The Men of Vet Med"
Well, here it is...the last piece of older work I've been meaning to scan. Actually, this portrait is just a sample from a series of images I shot for a graduating class of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine: " The Men Of Vet Med". Males are a scarcity in veterinary school these days and when the elite classes get selected, often only twenty or so of the doctorate students out of the class of 120 are men. As a class fundraiser, they thought it would be fun to do a sexy calendar of portraits of the guys and I happily volunteered my time as this was just too weird to pass up.
I'm not sure how "sexy" any of these shots turned out. Okay, well some of them were, but a lot more where on the lines of this shot. Over the course of a couple days I darted around the various locations of the vet school trying to make the shots work in between their hectic class schedules. Often, I would only get twenty minutes or less to pick a location, set up, and hit the poses I was after. Fortunately for me, a few of the guys had some of their own ideas and weren't "shy" about presenting them to me. This shot definitely takes the cake. The school board wasn't too keen on this particular portrait and instead asked the class to use a more clothed version that I took, but to me, this is the image that should have made the month.
Each student was photographed with a setting and props that revealed (pun) the focus of their study and in the case of this guy... well, I suppose chickens and livestock would be the subject... (feel free to imagine and insinuate other more fun captions and meaning than poultry medicine). Because of the speed I was working at and the limited planning, the series was shot with available light on basic 400 speed black and white film. Considering the time and lighting restraints, I'm very pleased with how they turned out. If I ever get around to it, I may scan all of the calendar and post it up so they can be viewed here on my page, but for now you'll have to be (ahem) satisfied with this portrait.
And remember: This man is a doctor...he saves lives.
Thanks for reading.
"Jim Swill"- Sacramento, CA
I decided to shoot up some film down in Sacramento yesterday and finish some rolls that have sat in my cameras for too long. The rain and the cold were my main challenges that morning, but instead of staying in, I grabbed my jacket and umbrella and set down the hill. Trying to photograph while holding an umbrella is tricky and kills a lot of the fluidity of movement that makes street photography possible. At the same time though, it makes a really awesome place to hide. Being able to huddle in a corner with my camera concealed under my brolly gives me an unprecedented opportunity to sit and wait for opportunities rather than hunt for them. Umbrellas are like a tree stand for street photographers.
The cold actually took it's toll on me faster than the rain. When it's really frigid and you're holding an all metal camera things start to go numb pretty quickly. Even though I only lasted a couple of hours it was a pleasantly productive morning. The weather can really change the vibe and activities of a place. People move at different paces, they observe different things, and most importantly; they ignore the guy with the camera. This inset shot is one of my keepers from the day. It's so satisfying when a composition really comes together well, especially when there is still an element of chance. Call it what you will; street photography, documentary photography, photojournalism, it's part careful composition and timing, and part hope and luck. When you mix the ingredients together just right, it's worth all the rain and numb hands in the world.
The irony of the day is that I got down there early to hit the light and the bustle of the morning. Only when I quit from the cold, rain, and finishing up my film did the sun break out and the rain stop. Figures. Of course, I won't complain. Not when I walk away with little gems like this.
If you'd like to see more, roll on over to my fine art gallery where you can check out a few of the new pieces.
As always, thanks for reading.
Boat, Inverness/Tomales Bay CA
On of the projects I've been working on lately is trying to get some of my past work scanned so that I can make new prints as well as get them posted up here on my page. This image, I made in the spring of 1999 while I was in college. It's still one of my favorites, and not for the obvious reasons.
The photograph itself has nice tonality, good detail, and fun lines. I like the composition I ended up with. I'd say the keel of the boat in the foreground really anchors (pun intended) the otherwise disheveled character of the boat and I like how dark the shadows get, as they slightly hint at the solidity that the vessel once had. There you go: The self critique. All good reasons to like this image.
Really, what I like about this shot is it's place in the past. By that, I'm not referring to the fact that it looks old, or it's from fourteen years ago, but the very real fact that this boat has long since rotted away and given itself to the sea. On that day, I had been traveling up the coast on Hwy 1 from San Francisco in the pouring rain looking for some inspiration that I hadn't found in the city. I figured I'd head up to Bodega Bay and at the least, catch a good lunch. On a whim, I turned off at Point Reyes to see if it was worth setting out for the lighthouse but as I got closer, the rain just kept getting worse and I stopped on a dirt pull off in the tiny town of Inverness on Tomales Bay. Just as I stopped, the rain suddenly subsided a bit, so I got out of the car and wandered up to the muddy low tide bank of the bay to get a view on the weather and light. It's here where I caught site of this little boat. Abandoned, broken on the rocks, and left for dead. I photographed it because I felt I should. Honestly, a lot of my subjects speak to me that way. It just seemed like I was obligated to give this little boat a grander send off then it's former owner did. I spent about twenty minutes with the scene and of all the images I shot, this is the only one I ever printed. The others always seemed a bit sterile and dead to me. This particular image makes me think of what the boats life must have been like. How it came to this end, and what stories it could tell.
This boat was already well on it's way to driftwood when I found it, and fourteen years have undoubtedly swept away what was left after I departed. It makes me happy to know that not all the images I take can be revisited. As it is with people and expressions, sometimes objects can be fleeting too. For the last fourteen years, the only record of the little boat was the one print I ever made of it that proudly hangs right next to me as I type this. Now, through the wonders of the digital age, it's floating its way through the world wide web and to your screens bringing with it all the intrigue it still gives me. That's pretty dang awesome. Hope you enjoy it too.
As always, thanks for reading.
Old Paint, Auburn CA
As I promised last week, I posted up some new pieces to my Fine Art gallery as well as some older portrait work that I had been meaning to get up. Scoot on over there and check out the new images...they're intermixed so you get to hunt a little. I've also made changes to the entire layout of my site. I went with a different set up that allowed me to get all of the page tabs on the top bar all at once with no drop down menus. It's also just a bit more clean of a graphic and I think represents my style of work pretty well. It's been a lot of work and experimentation, but I feel like I can finally say the site is how I want it.
Gone is the documentary project page...mostly because I don't do all that much of it and I don't want old self-projects just sitting there indefinitely. If and when I shoot another series, I'll just make a special, temporary page for it and let you all know. Oh, and I spent some real self-reflective time and rewrote my bio.
There is now an official page for my fine art print pricing and archive of all the images you can order. I'm going to simply keep adding to this gallery as new images are made and some of my older work gets scanned. I have some real gems that I still need to get around to getting digitized but I'm waiting on an upgrade on my software because I want to get them just right. I haven't applied framed print prices yet because I am working out a deal with a local framer here in Auburn to have do the work. Once I nail down what I'm going to go with you'll be able to see a full price list for both framed, unframed, and matted only pieces...all shipped direct to your door.
I'm aiming for a local gallery showing sometime this spring or summer. When it gets finalized I'll let you all know. Even if that doesn't work out timing wise, I'll still make sure that a selection of finished pieces gets displayed somewhere in town. I'll do a little opening night thing...it'll be fun.
That's about it for now. I could keep rambling on but who wants to read that? Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the work. More to come...
All images and content ©2018 Bret MacKinnon. All rights reserved.