The Crochet Lesson

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In the mid-90’s, I was living away from home for the first time and becoming increasingly interested in making photographs. This was the decade I experimented with my parents honeymoon camera, a Voigtländer Perkeo I,  which led to my first twin lens reflex a Minolta Autocord followed by my favorite camera, the Rolleiflex Automat TLR.

In the past I have avoided talking gear for fear of betraying my camera nerdery. At some point in the 1990’s, maybe around 1997, I went over to my parents house. My mom was crocheting on the back porch which is a slab of concrete that is sheltered from the sun by the second story deck which overlooks Mission Bay. I had the Rolleiflex, a set of close-up lenses and a desire to photograph my mom’s hands, the yarn she used to crochet and the fabric of her dress.

Six frames were dedicated to a close-up of her trying to teach me a pearl stitch. I don’t remember why the portrait session had turned into a knitting lesson. Maybe it was a strategy for me get permission to photograph her. More than likely, it was my attempt to photograph the steps of the pearl stitch so that I could try it on my own. Maybe it was the bachelor in me thinking that in the future I would need to crochet a pair of socks or a sweater.

I must have grown impatient with the TLR and its parallax which made the framing of objects close to the camera an educated guess, for partway through the roll, I made two images of my mom from a converstational distance. Only two before going back to make four more attempts at recording the yarn on her lap.

Only a contact sheet was made of the Crochet Lesson. I never made individual prints of her hands. Next month as part of an exhibition of portraits of parents, I am including a reprinted version of this contact sheet made on a paper I used to print with during the 1990’s, Oriental Seagull Variable Contrast Glossy (the one in the blue box with the purple sticker).

My name is Francis Schanberger and I am a photo nerd.

camera work part II, serpent mound

Before too much time passes, I am compelled to write about a quick half day trip to Serpent Mound near Peebles, Ohio. This is an indigenous peoples site used for not only burying the dead but also perhaps for marking key recurring astronomical events such as the shortest day of the year and the summer solstice. Current theories and testing of the site suggests that the first use of the site occurred around 321 BCE. Read more about the current status of Serpent Mound here at Indian Country Today.

Bridgette and I went to visit a friend of hers, Martine Myrup, from her time at the Glasgow School of Art almost 16 years ago. On August 4th we met in Cincinnati mid-day and drove to Peebles. Here are some of the images from that day all shot with my Windsor, a Diana clone, camera.
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Just a note. Tonight was the closing reception for “Your Turn” which was an experiment into collaboration with my life partner (OK, wife, spouse, significant other), Bridgette Bogle.

More on the results when I am recharged. For now here is an image showing her wall painting titled “Snow Window” into which I introduced a photograph of fingerprints from the space.

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Maybe it works.

the night was mostly a blur

My dinner with Bridgette, Jill and Tim. Much to the annoyance of my dinner companions, last Saturday I propped a white Diana Mini on our table at Woodberry’s and commenced to make long, time exposures while we ate and drank. There are two images by Tim Castlen and the rest are mine except for the last one which is also by Tim.

By Tim Castlen…

The rest of these should be by me but the night was a bit of a blur. Maybe everyone at the table collaborated on this.

One more by Tim

This is only a test


From last Wednesday afternoon while the alternative photo class at the University of Dayton was working with pinhole cameras I decided to try out a new one.

Pinhole will make an appearance in next fall’s “Naturalists” exhibition at Dayton Visual Arts Center. Here is the starting point, a test roll with a Holga 120 WPC. I may play around with the shutter, the shape of which I believe is causing the semicircular vignette at the bottom of the frame.