July 31, 2003
mixed media

I'm still doing a lot of experimenting with my Canon 10D, trying to make digital pictures that don't look like digital pictures.

Here's the same sunflower as in the digital pinhole shot I did, only now, experimenting with output on an Epson and what you can do with a little water and white acrylic paint. I guess this is really mixed media.

Posted by kia at 12:45 AM
July 27, 2003

Audrey is moving back to Seattle, again. She called us this week to tell us her car broke down halfway, so she is passing the time with the kind brothers and sisters in Arcata before she continues her journey north. I'm a little jealous. I wish her lots of luck finding a house, a job, and a more sane existence than the last time she lived up there, with Johnny.

I've wanted to photograph Audrey since fifteen seconds after I met her behind Elsie's. She was Johan's new housemate, this crazy, skinny, frenetic girl, smoking cigarettes and taunting all the boys who were completely in love with her. I never got around to it, turns out she's sort of self-deprecating and shy behind the loudmouth, badass exterior. She's also completely beautiful even when she's trying to avoid the camera.

Posted by kia at 10:26 PM
July 25, 2003
digital pinhole

I love my Canon 10d. Someday when they make cheap 20 megapixel cameras I will hate it, but for now, it is all I'm shooting with.

I only have 1 lens for my camera, a cheap Sigma zoom lens, but yesterday I made another one with a generic $2 camera body cap, a few pieces of gaffer tape, and a brass shim with a hole poked in it. Well, I guess it's not a real lens, but it has increased my camera's repertoire a bit. I spent all afternoon taking digital pinhole camera photographs.

The wonderful thing about pinhole optics is that there is no focal plane or depth of field. No matter how close or how far away an object is, it is always equally in focus - there's no "falloff" of focus, as there is with glass lenses. Since the hole I used was relatively big (the diameter of a sewing needle), and sharpness is related to the size of the pinhole, the images my camera takes are all in focus, yet nothing is sharp.

The pinhole is big enough that on a sunny day (or if I let my eyes adjust) I can actually see through the pinhole lens so I can tell what I'm taking a picture of. All my film-based pinhole cameras rely on luck and Polaroid film to know what you're taking a picture of. The long exposure and small amount of light coming through make for an interesting film-grainy texture and desaturated colors. It really looks more like film than film does sometimes.

See if you can guess what this is without looking at the filename.

Posted by kia at 12:45 AM
July 13, 2003
meriko makes an interview

As part of a clever little blogmeme, the lovely Miss Meriko sent me a series of interview questions. I'm trying my darndest to avoid working on this packaging project for my graphics class, so what better reason to answer her queries?

What's your favorite molecule, and why?

I haven't got a favorite molecule in particular, but my favorite type of molecules are chiral molecules, also called enantiomers or "mirror molecules". Enantiomers are chemically identical, all the same atoms stuck together with all the same types of bonds, but since certain chemical bonds happen in such a way that they can be in clockwise or counterclockwise position in relation to each other, these types of molecules exhibit the property of chirality: they are right- or left- handed - mirror images of each other.

Naturally occurring amino acids (proteins), sugars and nucleic acids (DNA) all exist only as right- or left-handed forms. The left-handed form of glucose, for example, is still sweet like natural glucose, but it's undigestible - your body can't metabolize it. Lots of drugs are made with either the left-handed or right-handed isomer of a chiral molecule. If you get a formulation that isn't pure - if it has too much of the wrong isomer - you sometimes end up with negative (or at least undesired) effects like with "bad acid" (It's not speed in your LSD you damn hippie! it's just too much of the wrong enantiomer!) Thalidomide is also a chiral drug - one enantiomer had anti-nausea properties that cured morning sickness, the other caused terrible birth defects. A glitch in the manufacturing process meant too much of the wrong enantiomer, and wham - flipper babies.

Lately, our friends the drug companies are separating out and patenting enantiomers of different drugs: Nexium? Prilosec? Same thing. Same effect. Prilosec is a racemic mixture of R- and S- omeprazole, meaning it's a 50/50 mix of the right- and left-handed forms of the molecule. But the drug's patent expired in 2001, so they just re-released it as Nexium, with only one of the enantiomers, and patented it until 2014, with the same purple-pill packaging. Patients (and inattentive doctors) just go for the new "improved" purple pill, and pay twice as much for what is essentially the same drug. Ka-ching! Score one for AstraZeneca!

Anyway. There are lots of interesting properties of chiral chemicals which I will surely bore you to tears describing any further. I first got interested in them in high school after reading Martin Gardner's Annotated Alice books containing his deconstructions of the mathematical and scientific logic in Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. I was fascinated by the idea of mirror-image chemicals, ones that do one thing in our "natural" world, but have "looking glass" artificial counterparts that do something totally different. The book is an incredibly interesting and even an easy read (and he does a much better job of making math and science sound cool than I do). I highly recommend it if you haven't read it yet.

Dr. Johansen geeked out on o-chem a little too much there. Deep breath. Next question.

Tell me about the best meal you've ever had.

Also a hard one. I think it's a multi-way tie between the first time I ate at Vij's in Vancouver after the opening of the first art show I was ever in, ordering all the appetizers at once (goat cheese fondue!) at the Palace Kitchen in Seattle, the dinner M and I had at St. Orres' in Gualala on one winter evening a little over two years ago for our almost-anniversary, lunch at the (sadly) now-defunct Empanada Parlor in Austin with Kyra and Justin, and all the times we got really drunk and Johnny and/or Heather decided to experiment in the kitchen with a) dynamite, b) deep fried chocolate plantain wontons or c) duck leg confit. All different circumstances and all different food, but they have a few distinct things in common. Each time was a new adventure, an experiment, a discovery - a new combination of flavors that I never would have thought to put together myself. Each place had a special ambiance that made the meal transcend the ordinariness of just another good meal. Each time was a meal shared - not just eaten together with, but shared - with good friends. I don't have nearly enough of those transcendent food experiences, these days, especially now that I lack the disposable income to splurge on good meals out and all my friends live a thousand miles away or more.

Your pictures seem to capture more of people than the meat on their bones. When you're looking through the lens of a camera at a person, what do you see?

I'm trying to keep their eyes in focus. I always fuck that part up. I think anything else is subconscious - I always get a little surprised when the film comes back.

What's the name of the best movie you have never seen?

2001. I've probably seen it in its entirety, but never in order, and never for longer than 20 minutes at a time. I always fall asleep.

What's your favorite dream?

I'm riding a ferris wheel with a friendly group of three-foot tall sentient Oreo cookies. We are hanging out, enjoying the nice summer evening, having a marvelous time, when the carnie stops the ride and makes the cookie I'm riding with get off the ride. Then he makes it leave because it's not a real Oreo cookie. It's a Hydrox cookie! I've been trying to analyze that one for years and I still can't figure out what it means.

Would you like to be next person in the interview chain? Send me a comment, I send you questions, you blog and the chain goes on...

Posted by kia at 08:48 PM
July 08, 2003
happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday. My 27th birthday, to be exact. I was born just after the Bicentennial in 1976, which means that every year my birthday falls on the day after everybody gets back from their 4th of July holiday and goes back to work. It also seems to fall an inordinate number of years on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I'm not sure how that works, but I suspect that Leap Year is trying to screw my party plans.

I was supposed to be born in June, but I missed the Bicentennial by a few days, being that it took me almost a whole extra month to cook. Mom got sick of being pregnant and they induced labor and took me out via caesarean (with a full head of hair, no less). I think it is a metaphor for my whole life. This might also explain why I have been in college for 7 years. I think I would still like to cook a little longer. 27 years does not feel like it has been that long.

My baby book has a 70's style illustration of a chubby-cheeked baby Betsy Ross on it, sewing an adorable little American flag. Everything surrounding my birth has little American flags on it, or stars, or cute baby eagles, or smiling wig-wearing baby patriots holding fifes. There are no cute little American flags or baby eagles anymore. Now they're all stuck to the back of big, menacing All-American pickup trucks, angry cartoon eagles pissing on Osama Bin Laden, or Saddam Hussein, or the French. I hope at least on my 50th birthday, at the Bicenquinquagenary (it's a word! I looked it up!) there will be cute baby eagles again. I miss cute baby eagles and non-threatening, sweet little American flags. The bellbottoms and muttonchop sideburns can stay in the 1970's though. No need for those to come back.

Age 26 did not have much to offer in the way of the good life, so I am hoping that 27 will be better, more glamorous, more exciting! Less filled with Oh Shit! and more filled with No Shit! I'm going to be a Graduate of Art Center! I'm going to start my Whole New Exciting Life! I'm going to be a professional Somethingorother! I'm going to go into student loan repayment! Hm. Better not to think about that part.

For my birthday present to myself, I bought a new shower curtain. To celebrate, tonight I'm going to do my homework that's due tomorrow.

This does not bode well.

Posted by kia at 09:33 PM
words and images are © copyright 2002-2005 kristen johansen or their respective authors. please do not reproduce without permission.