ron reeder

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about kyoto

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This portfolio contains images of the shrines and temples of Kyoto, Japan. Kyoto harbors about 2000 of these structures, each one an oasis of antiquity set in the fairly ugly bustle of a modern city. Many of Kyoto’s temples were founded before A.D. 1000. And despite wars, earthquakes, fires, and woodrot, it is commonplace to find buildings that are 500 years old or more. Thus, to enter the grounds around a temple is like stepping into a time machine. Blink and you can easily imagine you are in the time of the Tokugawa or the Ashikaga Shoguns.

My personal interest in Japanese culture began when my parents went to Japan as missionaries shortly after WWII. I lived there, near Yokohama, for six years and absorbed the language and customs by osmosis. Later, after graduate school, I returned and spent one year working in the Biochemistry Department of Kyoto University. Most of my free time was spent poking around temples. Since that time I have visited Japan briefly for business several times. At the end of April, 2005, Judy and I returned to Kyoto after an absence of nearly 20 years. We spent two weeks single-mindedly photographing its temples and shrines. This portfolio is the result.

The images in this portfolio are printed in palladium on hand-coated Arches Platine paper. Making these prints employs a happy mix of classical analog methods conbined with some of the latest in digital tools. The initial images were captured with a 4x5 view camera (Linhof Super Technica) on Tmax 100 sheet film. After developing the negatives they were scanned with an Imacon 646 virtual drum scanner and massaged in Photoshop to yield the timeless, rather romantic look I was after. My method for introducing either light or dark flare into an image is described in the Articles section of this web site.

To make a palladium print a sheet of Platine was brush coated with sensitized palladium solution, dried, and contact printed using an enlarged negative that must be the same size as the final print size. I make these enlarged negatives by printing a digital file onto transparency material with an Epson 4000 printer. My approach to making digital negatives is also described in the Articles section. Palladium prints consist of highly inert palladium metal deposited within the fibers of a high quality acid free paper. Thus they are among the most archival of all photographic prints. The rich warm color comes from the color of the metal itself and is not the result of toning.


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