Thursday, May 31, 2012

Featured Artist at Mabel Tainter - Menomonie, WI

The Historical Art of Jacob Sieg
June 1 – July 15, 2012

Artist Reception Saturday, June 16, 2012 ~ 5:30pm-7:30pm
30 min. presentation at 6:30pm in the Gallery

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ninth: A Fitger 1 (Duluth, MN)

We decided to head up to Duluth one weekend on a Photo Excursion.  It was a great time, and I actually captured what I needed for four Then & Nows.  However I have only completed 2 of them.  Its quite funny how I captured the original images for A. Fitger Brewery.  This one, was particularly interesting because I actually reproduced it within a display case, behind glass, with glare up the yang.  Using a circular polarizer on the end of my macro lens I was able to diminish the glare tremendously, the rest of it I just removed via Photoshop.  This one - was amazing, because it was at the time, the most accurate one I re-photographed!  I couldn't wait to get home, so I actually created a rough draft later in the hotel room!  This one was really fun to blend, because I was actually "weaving" the brick!  It lined up so well, I could pick and choose individual bricks to bring through from the Then to the Now and vice versa.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eighth: Downtown Panoramic

The Eau Claire Downtown that has remained relatively unseen by the public.  Really only a few people have seen this image.  This image actually required me to shoot 5 photos, kind of on a pivot in the middle of Grand Ave.  Since I don't have a panoramic camera, it was required for me to shoot 5 separate images, at 11mm focal length.  Not only that, but this one took some doing to really even locate what street is being shown.  What this is, is - the long stretch running left to right is actually both S. Barstow, looking North, and looking South.  Straight ahead is Grand Avenue.  This was once called the "Four Corners" back in the early 1900s.  This was a happening place back then.  Doesn't seem so much now. 

Blending these 6 images as one was really a lot more simpler than I had anticipated.  After the 3rd time re-photographing the Panoramic, I finally nailed it dead on, and just about every line and building lined up perfectly!  Its always a great feeling when they line up so well because it really is then just like painting time periods over one another.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Seventh: Mabel Tainter Theater

Mabel Tainter Theater...a piece commissioned by Mayo Health Care System for the Dialysis Center in Menomonie, WI.  This one was also a struggle to pull off.  Maybe the hardest and most difficult, logistically speaking.  Acquiring the original took matters beyond what I have experienced before.  Without going into details, lets just say that some historical societies should work on a better organizational method.

Arriving in Menomonie, I had zero experience in the town.  So everything was new and alien to me.  After finding the Theater, the difficult part was again finding the exact location the original photographer once had.  The iPad is a handy tool to have.  I often will put the digitized version of the original photo onto the iPad after I restore it, that way I can really take my time with the vantage point.  This particular one was a pain, because there was a large UW Stout sign in the way, so my only option was to stand in front of the sign to photograph.  Sometimes you just have to make do.

Sixth: Corner of Eau Claire St & S. Barstow

This image has become a favorite amongst the community.  The building is recognizable among just about anyone who lives in EC or has ever been there.  It sticks out amongst the architecture in the downtown area.  It was once the Chippewa Valley Bank - and is now the site of numerous businesses such as Volume One Magazine, Stones Throw Pub, and others.  When I came across the original image in the museum's archives.  I knew this one would be a great piece!

When I left the studio to photograph this, I instantly regretted it because it was a frigid day in February.  There wasn't snow on the ground, but the temperature and the wind made it a miserable day.  However the image does not reflect this uncomfortable weather.  This one was particularly difficult to rephotograph, because the original photographer had stood where there is now a large building.  I leaned against the building to get my shot, which wasnt quite perfect, so later I had to adjust the lens perspective in Photoshop CS4.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fifth: Schofield Hall

Schofield Hall - this one was a huge surprise for me, on all levels.  I executed this one in a haste by photographing multiple angles while I was there, because it just so happens that the entire campus lawn is now covered in large trees.  The entire process from driving to the CV Historic Museum -> finding and reproducing the Schofield Hall THEN Image -> Driving to Schofield Hall > Re-photographing took all but about 2 hours - which is very quick, in comparison to some of my other projects.  But then came the post production, and it was particularly difficult to find an artistic flow and feel when you have trees everywhere.  Trees have a hard and rough pattern, which makes them particularly difficult to blend into other textures in the surroundings, which now has become a common quote of mine "Its either the entire tree, or no tree".  You can actually see this implemented in just about every one of my pieces.

Fourth: Phoenix Park Area

The Phoenix Park Area...a client favorite...was a really fun one to do.  This one actually took quite a bit of work and I took some dangerous measures to accomplish.  This required me to cross the Chippewa River to the far bank.  Then find the precise area the other photographer had been, but keep in mind, water levels change over time.  It just so happened that the photographer a hundred years ago was standing right about where the water began.  I literally had to scale down the hill, tree by tree, and once I got to the water's edge, had to climb a tree out over the water, and lean in to make it straight.  All with the Then photograph folded up for reference in my hoody pocket.  Definitely worth it.

Third: 202-204 N. Barstow St

This piece was exceptionally difficult, i thought - at the time - because the Now is actually an empty dirt parking lot.  I worked this way in several directions trying to make it balance and be more interesting, but there was simply nothing to play with along the left side but dirt and sky.  My favorite part, is the man standing out in the Now road.  Before ordering, this piece was by far my most reluctant piece.  Except when I received the canvas gallery wrap...and was astonished.  To date, this piece still remains my favorite printed, because the people are just so interesting, and as a large print, in so much fine detail.

Second: 308 N. Barstow St

This one was special for me at the time because it was the block with our studio's location, there under the drugstore sign.  That was Saeryn Studios.  Saeryn was the beginning of my Eau Claire endeavor, that ultimately led me to the Then & Now Concept.  Across the street is now a single story, boring brick building.  Its sometimes fun and sad to imagine the changes that Eau Claire has went through, not necessarily for the better, either.

The Mona Lisa really stands out to me.  One week I put the art display piece we had printed of it, and put it in the display window.  It always stopped passer-bys instantly when they saw that they were walking by a photo of what they had just walked past, present and past.

First: 12 S. Barstow St

This image was the very first Then & Now I completed.  Surprisingly it's still one of my favorites.  This one was particularly difficult, because it was my first time delving into re-photography (the art of rephotographing an image accurately).  The strategy of blending I learned after completing this piece became the framework of the entire series.  However each piece I learn how to implement a new ideas or visual nuance, this piece has just about everything I could have hoped for.  Color, contrast, mystique, lines (that line up, lol), etc.  

This one is also very interesting to me, and causes me to wonder if the original photographer, had ever fathomed that his photograph would be apart of something so unique.  From the research I had done at the museum, I came to realize that the man who photographed this image was a professional photographer, and his studio (Isaac's Photography) is right next to the Model T - and am assuming that was his car as well!  Its amazing the little stories you pull out of some of these images after seeing them for so long during the post production process.  You have to come to understand that back in the late 1800's - early 1900's, it was extremely rare and expensive to be a photographer, they had just begun to mass produce film, and it was expensive and inaccurate.