Creative Seclusion

black and white film photo portrait
A lonely writer with his morning contemplation. There is much to process regarding his life choices. 

Official digital copies verified with blockchain tech and available at ascribe.


Farewell to Newspace Center for Photography

Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, OR closed this week. For the local photography community, it’s a sudden and disappointing loss.

It was the only public darkroom between Olympia, WA and San Francisco. Their classes, while not inexpensive, were a mosaic of delights. Nowhere else in PDX do I know of a place where I can learn how to make a Digital-to-Darkroom Silver Platinum Print.

Their digital lab is something that can be had through many other printing services. But not for the same reasonable price. Nor is it hands-on, like it was at Newspace. My best large inkjet prints are ones that I made. Now that option is gone, unless I’m willing to invest a significant amount into a large inkjet printer.

The greatest thing about it was community. I loved being in the darkroom, with other film photographers. I bought my mother a senior membership, and after a long absence, she returned to photography. People I met in classes, were part of what made it enjoyable. Exposure to their work and ideas, was always a big reason to go.

All ages and skill levels were welcome. There was something for everybody. Kids, seniors, anyone. A friend of mine taught a class there for children who are sick with cancer. Newspace wasn’t only a photography facility, it was a community partner.

I was fortunate to have a print in the 2016 Member Show. It was a nice moment on opening night, seeing so many people happy to support local photographers. Had I known that Newspace would close now, I would have savored it even more.

But there was no sign of this coming. In hindsight, there did seem to be less and less use of Newspace facilities last year… at least when I was there. Word is less people were signing up for classes. Gentrification, rising costs-of-living, and traffic could’ve played a role in decreased attendance.

Combine this all with less funding and the changing nature of photography markets. Now it becomes understandable why it closed, albeit not easier to accept.

Newspace was an oasis for the dying art of film photography. Film still lives on in PDX at Blue Moon Camera & Machine, but no longer will I have access to a darkroom.

I was never interested in going back to analog full-time – my digital is way ahead of my film. But while businesses do close and obsolescence was part of the darkroom, I’m happy to have spent time in it. Too have that experience again, perhaps for the last time, was worth it to me.

To the Newspace staff and volunteers, thank you.

Blockchain and Photography

You’ve probably heard a lot about BitCoin and the Blockchain network. Besides the “digital currency”, it has also been phrased as “The Internet of Money” (Andreas Antonopoulos). This is a more apt description. It’s an open and decentralized network, that anyone can build upon. BitCoin is merely the first killer app, and the networks fuel.

Blockchain can also offer many other services, such as digital art verification. How is it different from the web you know?

Once verified on the blockchain, it’s verified as your creation forever. It’s safe, and hack proof. Attribution cannot be altered, unless you transfer full ownership of the copyright. And the blockchain would verify that transaction as authentic. This is the beauty of a distributed ledger.

While not an official registry with the U.S. Copyright Office, it will live forever, so long as there is a blockchain Internet. If a website goes down, it’s still verified as your art on the Blockchain.

By the way, if it’s a valuable piece, it’s still a good idea to register with the Copyright Office.

The amount that will come from blockchain tech in the coming years will be fantastic, and will do much to make the Internet a better place. So long as it’s a true distributed ledger (be aware of centralized apps slapping a Blockchain sticker on the box). Call it Internet 2.0, if you want.

With a service like, you can decide how many official digital editions there will be for your photograph or art. You can also decide how official owners of a digital edition may display it. Copyright will remain yours.

Yes, a wise guy could come along and screenshot the photo. But it would not be a verified digital edition. Tracking digital artwork and photography continues to improve. So, for example, if you find a wise guy while using Pixsy, you can quickly issue a take down request or submit a case (likely small claims) without prohibitive legal costs.

I expect more services for artists and photographers like to emerge, as blockchain grows in adoption. It gives artists control over their work and data, always a good thing. I think the U.S. Copyright Office and governments around the world can also learn a lot from this technology. It will greatly improve efficiency, and reduce costs to taxpayers.

Coin Telegraph has a good article about some of the blockchain services available to artists and photographers now.

My first blockchain verified photograph is on Warning, maybe NSFW and not for those made squeamish by pistols.






Get Lost in Joshua Tree

photo of graffiti at Giant Rock in Landers California
Giant Rock. Mojave Desert. Landers, CA.

A lot of people know about Joshua Tree National Park. The nearby town of Joshua Tree, CA has a reputation for being the odd twist of desert hippy. It also doubles as a retirement home for celebrity artists. Rumor has it that Robert Plant owns a home in the area, as does Cyndi Lauper. I doubt anyone cares to look, which is partly why people find it attractive.

In the vicinity of Joshua Tree are the Mojave Desert towns of Landers and Twentynine Palms. Out there space and privacy is abundant. Clocks tick slower, and people are unapologetic about doing nothing. Don’t expect a lot of on-demand economy.

If a visitor has Los Angeles’esque patience, or none at all, then misery awaits. If that’s your jam, go to Palm Springs instead. In the Mojave, 5:00 PM opening means a 5:00 PM opening. Not 4:59. And 5:00 can mean 5:08. But definitely not a minute before 5:00. In the desert, everything is relative and late is early.

There isn’t a lot to do if you’re not into hiking, camping, dirt bikes, or photography. And that’s okay. Nobody is in Joshua Tree to jet set. It’s a place to slow down and take naps in the hammock, and then enjoy a cold beer.

Looking for inspiration here? Then you’ll need to include psychedelics. But no reason to search for such things, when going off-path in the spirit of adventure has its own rewards. 

Find yourself lost in Joshua Tree.

landscape photo of dirt road in the Mojave Desert Landers California
Dirt road to Giant Rock. BYOB and vision quest. Landers, CA.