Sunday, December 27, 2009

christmas time

I went to a party at Frank and Vivian's on Christmas eve. Frank reminded me that blog posting is for yourself. As Isaac Brock is singing to me right now, "it's hard to remember." So, here's to re-commencing.

Today I met some high school friends at the Hope and Olive: Jessy, Casey, Jaimye, Liz and her husband Robert. After lunch we walked up to the Poet Seat Tower.

oops, i forgot the color balance

Saturday, September 12, 2009


We went to Elizabeth Lord's wedding today. I don't know how to spell her new name so I'm using the old for now. Here it is: Schaufelberger. You can see pictures at my flickr site over there ---> Also check out pictures from the parade on Thursday.

Tiffany and I are moving, slowly, to Shelburne Falls. I'll try to update as we make major moves.

Friday, September 4, 2009

another stab at flickr

hello, if you're interested check out pictures posted on flickr from Frank and Vivian's party a couple weeks ago. I don't remember everyone's name so please feel free to comment. check them out here or on the sidebar.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

collaborators wanted

A few months ago I posted a want-ad for a friend. I received only one brave applicant who saw through my thin veneer of exclusivity. So, I am re-posting the position in more people-friendly terms:

ISO human for long-term/short-term artistic collaboration. Human must have skills and sensitivity. Communication welcome through USPS or email welcome. Collaborators must not be deterred by large gaps in response(we all have important things that take time, right?) Themes may include, but are not limited to, disappointment, isolation, death of loved one, loss, vision, gender, cartography, stratification(economic and geologic), chess, road kill, romanticism, formalism, scataphilia, cameras, exercise, box building, cooking.

Send your notions to:
Clayton Salem
6 Main St
Greenfield, Ma

or email me

This posting can also be found on the Western Mass craigslist > community > artists

Friday, June 26, 2009

big prints

For a while I've had in my head this way of pushing my epson 4800 to print large format pictures. It's pretty obvious, but I'm cutting images in half and in thirds and printing out "panels" of those images. I'm definitely pushing the print quality to the edge and maybe a little beyond. I'm also unsure of the final format; I have a few ideas I'll share later. The two forest pictures are from 4x5 negatives, the deer is from a 6x7 negative.

Here's a picture illustration of my process. A couple of issues: cutting glass was a new idea in order to speed up the proofing of pictures. You don't see it, but the glass fits into the scanner and hold an 8x10" sheet of negatives flat to the scanner, much like you would in the darkroom. The other thing you don't see is the film development, but it's much like in any darkroom except I'm squatting over the shower basin. The third thing you don't see here is the larger proofs I print out to fine-tune the image and the splitting of the image in photoshop. I guess some things you'll have to just imagine.

Developing in the shower

The clean-up

Cutting glass for contact sheet scanning

Good cut/bad cut

Scanning negatives

Printing out contact sheet

Looking at contact sheet

In process

A couple other larger format prints

The almost-finished picture

pictures from the late spring

Here are some things that remembered to take pictures of this spring:

Hanging out at Katie's
she claims to be androgynous, but she's sooooooooo cute!

Sonya was there
battering chicken and my fingers
student work - i should've given out more A's
I rode out to the Eunice Williams' bridge


then i treated myself to a sandwich at Bart's
Yesterday Chris Zinn and I hung out here's the result.... click.

Monday, June 22, 2009


yes yes yes and no. i want to talk about atheism, anarchy, authority, but each time i sit down to write it comes out all wrong. this format - a public journal, is not for me. to much exposure, not enough thought. i haven't posted for a month because of my discomfort. i've finished teaching for the term and so the only things i can post about, things that might have some interest are my personal inner thoughts, and the picture work that i'm making. i can't very well talk about job because of the hipaa law i've spoke about earlier, and my inner thoughts i'm saving for myself. so all that's left is my picture work. okay, that's the direction i'll take for the next few posts.

but first,

here's some video still captures from iran:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

the dark disc in the sky

Yesterday my team went out to the Ashfield Lake for a goodbye group for the grads. This is a group of students that have been with me my entire time at Swift River. They swam, we ate food from the Ashfield Lakehouse, we played Frisbee. Then, last night, I woke up with a terrifying image in my head -- it was from the frisbee game: a long floating pass into the endzone, the boys gather around looking into the bright white sky. The frisbee hangs in the sky vibrating and growing larger. I squint and feel the shuffle of bodies around me. We are caught for a moment staring at the growing disc, darkening the sky, blotting out the sun, the sky the trees. I freeze, unsure of what to do, I know I need to jump, but the shuffle around me, the pain in my eyes and the growing disc threaten immenent doom.

I didn't catch the firsbee, in fact, I got knocked in the head by somebody's elbow, but that moment is haunting me, worrying me. To leap would be an act of desperation, as if the frisbee is a black hole and to leap, to bend my knees and leap, I might throw myself into the abyss. Fear of loosing myself, and at once the desire, nagging, burning desire to loose myself into that leap, to reach for the sky, for the black hole, to reach,to stretch towards the thing, the shimmering, shaking thing, growing darker, bigger, vibrating, swallowing the sky. I know, and yet, I cannot act. I can only pray that with practice I may learn to leap up into the dark disc.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

100 things

When I was seven I counted to 100. My dad recorded each number in his slanting chaotic script. It was the first of a dozen accomplishment in this life -- it's been slow going. The other day I started saying the number 100 in my head over and over again when I realized that certain things, upon reaching 100 are accomplishments by themselves. Some of the things I was thinking about: 100 post cards, 100 prints of one certain size, 100 push ups(100 days in a row, yeah, beetch!), 100 seedlings, 100 houses, 100 miles, etc.

I guess the nice thing about 100 is that it maintains a certain childhood innocence as a "big number." Sometime in high school I learned that 100 dollars wasn't as much as I thought it was. And 100 people was a crowd, but not a huge one. In this inflationary culture when we're working our way from the gigabyte billions to the terabyte trillions the lowly 100 is very^10 small. However, an individual with only two hands one mouth and two feet can still approach 100 as a truly monumental task.

I won't promise to do any of the things on my 100 list right now; I'd be working towards 100 things I didn't do, maybe in 100 days.

Friday, April 3, 2009


I'm running at 55mph these days, you know, the limit in times of scarcity. I mentor trouble teens, teach them photography and now I'm working on a short movie. Idle hands are the devil's playthings(or whatever). I have a lot to offer, so it's sort of like I'm the very popular guy, everybody wants to participate in what I'm doing. But they're all teens, and our relationship is, by nature, prescribed by the mentor/menti, or teacher/student boundaries. That's a good thing and necessary for that part of my life, but I'm feeling a lack in the other. All of my creativity is going into work. That's okay, but when work is bounded by very strict laws about privacy, rules about intimacy and establishing good boundaries, well, I'm limited. And without creative relationships outside of work, I'm stuck.

So, I'm looking for a friend who wants to work on a project. Something big, something huge, ambitious and over-grand. Someone who can withstand my stony-faced disregard, ignore my whining and self-loathing, someone, anyone, who can keep up.

**this is not an equal-opportunity offer, applicants must be male, or of male persuasion and be between 5'9" and 6'1". Applicant much not work with teenagers or children, must enjoy working in silence, and performing manual labor. Applicants must have better musical taste than me and be able to provide musical entertainment when required. Attractive applicants are desired, though not too attractive, you know, cute, or hunky, but not so drop-dead gorgeous that you outshine me. Applicants must enjoy beer and liquor, but not drink too much because the last thing I need is a co-dependent. Smokers are acceptable, as long your brand isn't Camels, though, with cigarettes the price they are maybe you should quit, we could buy ink and paper for the price of those cigarettes, I mean, come on, eight dollars a pack. Applicants should be C++CAD. Applicants must furnish proof that they have spent some time in a mental health facility. Applicants must not wear green. Applicants must have a cool haircut. Please send application with a self-address stamped envelope to:

Friend c/o
Clayton Salem
6 Main St
Apt 4
Greenfield, Ma 01301
literate and have familiarity with

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

another quick one

Today was our lesson on shutter speeds. The students use my camera to capture motion blur(dark against light, light against dark) and freeze-frame. We didn't get to panning, maybe on Friday.
Mr. Salem loves being in pictures
Motion blur
I've been planning to make some big prints using two or more pieces of paper. Here's a first attempt, of course I forgot to put something in for scale, let's see, the clock in the lower left is about five inches wide...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


We turned the classroom into a Camera Obscura. I couldn't post the "class portrait in camera" because of the hipaa laws. This was the test shot. Check out Abelardo Morell's Camera Obscura work .

Thursday, March 12, 2009

putting things on hold

Yeah, it's that time of year -- acceleration in spring. I'm teaching again, today is day one of the trimester. If you don't know, I work full time at a boarding school in the residential department. They've given me the opportunity to teach photography. It's a great way to make extra money, and to make me an valuable employee in these high unemployment times. That leaves me little time for the myriad projects simmering in the back of my head and under piles of unattended to bills, notes and objects of interest. It also leaves little time for this journal. I may have to post just to get some things out of my head and into the world, but I don't expect to be posting regularly. Not that I do anyway...

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

new camera fun

So I was cruising craigslist the other day, something I shouldn't do if I'm trying to save money, when I came across an unbelievable deal on an Omega View with three lenses and accessories. For those of you LF camera geeks the lenses are: Caltar IIN 210mm, Fuji 150mm and the creme de la cream, Rodenstock Grandagon 90mm 6.8...sweet. Normally you can't find that last lens for the price he was asking for the entire kit.

Turns out the guy, Dave, is a professional from southern Connecticut. I made the trek down to Hartford and met him in a laundry mat parking lot. Really nice guy, someone offered him more money, but since I'll be using it for education purposes, he held onto for me. Awesome, great guy.

So, of course I very excited to try it out, but I don't want to wait for film to develop, so I set the cameras like this:
With Tiffany as subject
dark cloth goes on
and... snap
funny faces, thanks Tiffany for riding down with me...and thanks Dave

Monday, February 23, 2009

I need your help

Actually, I'm putting a hold for better names. Please stand by...
Here's what's going on: I'm putting my personal image collection for sale on an online craft sales website. The plan is to sell higher resolution digital images, my own, for personal and commercial use. Basically I am putting my images out as if I were my own stock agency. The difference is that they come from one source (me) and the files cost much less(still working on the price per image, but think itunes). Is this a good idea? I don't know, but I'm going to try it out.

So, what I need help with is a good name. On the side I'm putting up some options that I'm thinking about, but please feel free to suggest others. I'm leaning fishyly because I like canned fish, and it also sort of sticks with the idea of many cheap things packed together.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Walking through Greenfield

93 Conway St
A couple posts ago I talked about making a picture-map of Greenfield. Conway Street runs from Main St. out to the highway where it turns into Leyden Road. I may not follow it that far, but I've posted from Main St to Philips St here.

Oh, and I've also started an etsy shop to try and sell off the pile of prints flopped around the house: here, thanks Tiffany.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Catching up on some stuff

I went to Hunt's the other day to pick up some odds and ends. They have a bin of old lenses. I found a 50mm 1.8 nikkor, score! It is filled with dust, the focus and aperture rings are loose and it's an AI lens, which mean no metering, but for 5$ it is a deal. I'm psyched that I now have a medium telephoto for my d90.I don't have pictures of the lens, but here are a couple pictures from the lens:
It takes nice breakfast pictures
Oh, and it came with a soft focus filter attached, hello hollywood.
I'm proud of my fern and my light box.
this isn't with the new lens, I just like it.

Wasting away on a Tuesday

If you know my schedule you know that Tuesday is my Sunday. This means that I end up wanting to do a hundred things on Tuesday and end up diddling away the day. I said last week that I would do another screen print and show you the process, but I've been waiting for a new screen that I ordered from Dick. It will probably arrive in an hour or two.

Until then I thought I would start another project: photo mapping of buildings in Greenfield. The plan is to create a database of pictures of houses in the neighborhood and link them to the maps in Google Earth(G.E. from now on). As I look into it I realize that it is more complicated than just up loading and linking. To do it right I will probably have to get my own server to host the KML files. The other issue is that, like much of the internet, popularity reigns. You can go on G.E. and see pictures in Greenfield, but they are either "points of interest" or a quirky pic of a snowman. The images chosen are inevitably those deemed appealing to the masses.
Does this point to the inevitable contradiction of populism? See it like this: the most popular images are Eiffel Tower, Daytona Beach, Grand Canyon, Piccadilly Circus, places well known to all people. On G.E. you will find many pictures of these well known places. But the houses that most people live in will not be hosted on G.E. because, after all, who wants to look at pictures of your neighbor's house; it's right there. I guess my hope is that a program like G.E. allows could raise up those banal structures that surround us to object worth looking at. I think they are. Until I've figured out how to by-pass the editors at G.E. you can look at my first step on panoramio here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Last night my mom hosted a pre-birthdya party for me. Tobey was there, and Frank and Vivian too. Of course Tiffany was there. And my mom and I. We talked a lot about blogging and wondered at Tiffany dropping her Tiffany in the Trees blog which had a significant number of subscribers. I didn't take any pictures, but trust me there was a lot of food. Instead we'll look at some odds and ends from the past couple of weeks.

Walking across campus we spotted this beautiful Venus and Crescent Moon alignment. One of the students insited I take a picture. Now it looks like momma blur and baby blur.
Soup and Games at the H&O.
I had some heavy duty dreams last night. This is an illustration of one part. The eyeball floated out of my forehead and stuck to the ceiling.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

silk screen printing

My latest hobby:
Single color Tiffany presaging her migraine on tshirt material
Four color Bina, Mike and Jaimye watching TV on Bristol

I'm very new to this and I am sure that there are better ways to do it. Maybe in another post I'll show you my technique. I could use some pointers from experienced printers out there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

sick like a dog

I caught a cold over the weekend. I haven't left the house since Sunday. Yesterday I was a wreck. At least today I had the energy to take some pictures:

This is what my view was all day yesterday
Mmmmhhh... starting the morning right
Hello handsome
I dozed in front of this yesterday. At least now I'll no exactly where I was for the inauguration: on the couch.
I was dreaming about this apple yesterday as I lay in bed parched and hungry. Tiffany brought me home two. So juicy, so crunchy.
The leftovers, I was being picky.
On and unrelated note, some of the seedlings are coming to life.
my basal temperature is 100.3, which either means I'm menstruating or I've got a fever.