Sunday, August 28, 2011


Please send an email to with your name and address and you will receive a DVD copy of the short adventure/thriller film, The Rest Are Missing. This film is not yet available online or anywhere else. Just send me a mailing address and get this short film in your mailbox totally free.

You may be asking yourself: Why should I get some random film mailed to me?

1- This film is awesome.

2- It's completely, 100%, no strings attached, free. All you have to do is send your mailing address and you will get a plain DVD in a case, no ads, no probing personal questions.

3- You will have a copy of a film that only a handful of other people have ever had access to. That way, when your pretentious friends come over, you will have something other than Old School and and a pirated copy of I Am Legend to offer.

Mostly, it will show that you support young, aspiring artists and have a few moments to send an address and watch an interesting short film.

Plus, if you hate it, you can destroy it then, hopefully, come back to this blog and tell me why.

You address is secure and will not be shared or saved.

The Rest Are Missing
Santiago Meyer
Nicole Davis
USA (2011) 

Someone has gone astray. 


Sunday, August 14, 2011

New Photos

Here are some photos of a Sleepy Hallo Show I did today. I will post more in a slideshow tomorrow, for now here is just a little taste of what is to come. Please do not copy these.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Help -The Review

USA (2011)

Get out your handkerchiefs ladies, this one is a tear-jerker for sure. It may surprise some how melo-dramatic it is. From the trailers one might be under the impression that this film is a funny comedy about mistreated, sassy black women and the white person who swoops in to save them from their troubles. But it is a bit deeper than that. It is not necessarily a movie for all people, and I can already predict some of the criticism. It is, perhaps, overly dramatic because everyone spends a lot of time crying (including a few in the audience). It is also extremely heavy handed with stereotypes. But overall, the things that make this film weak do not overshadow the things that make it good.

A film about race will always draw criticism from educated people on all sides of race relations. But honestly, most of those people need to shut the hell up. This film is not historically accurate, it is not trying to convince anyone of anything. The film does not speak for the entire civil rights era. At its core, it is a movie about a friendship between women. For once, there is a film about women who are less than perfect, who don't have fancy jobs in big cities, and closets full of shoes. Why do we have to argue about whether or not this film perfectly depicts history, when we can talk about how amazing it is to see some decent actresses in a decent movie.

Maybe I am the only person sick of films like The Ugly Truth and The Bounty Hunter. Maybe I am the only one who is sick of seeing Anne Hathaway in sappy, poorly written, garbage that they market towards women. Maybe I am sick of Sarah Jessica Parker being considered one of the great thespians of our age. Maybe I want something more. And I think you should want more too.

I enjoy films about down to earth women, the types who are not obsessed with their hair, and getting a man. I like seeing a different side of womanhood and I think this film does it more successfully than a lot of the 'chick flicks' you see today.

Skeeter (Emma Stone) is a head strong, ambitious soul discontent with watching the awful treatment of the black housemaids in her Mississippi town. She sets out on a passion project to write a book that is not only unprecedented, but also illegal and dangerous, about the women called 'the help.' Stone's performance was pretty darn good. I love her look, her voice and the way she presents herself. At 22, I am so surprised she carried her role as well as she did. It is great to see her in a more grown up role and I can't wait see what she does next.

'The help' includes seasoned actresses like Viola Davis, who plays Aibileen, and Octavia Spencer who plays Minny, both of whom have filmographies longer than most of the most of the ladies in Hollywood today. These two have such amazing chemistry and together their relationship is the power behind this film. Stone may have the name recognition, but Davis and Spencer are the talent that make this film possible. Aibileen is a quiet, stoic but powerful. She is experienced, smart and strong.  Minny is sassy, comical, and driven by emotion. But she is also a victim of spousal abuse and cruel treatment from her employer.  Together the two maids represent the discontent that was brewing in the hearts and minds of not only young black people, but the older generation unwilling to take inhumane treatment anymore. 

The Help 3

This film is good. If you are interested in films like these, then I think you will enjoy it. Just don't walk into the theater thinking you are going to learn anything about race or the civil rights era. Walk in thinking how great it is to have a film about women that doesn't pander to the lowest common denominator. 

It is also worth mentioning that the costumes are amazing

(B) I enjoyed it, but it will not suit all tastes. It is heavy on stereotypes and perhaps a bit melo-dramatic.


I am still in the process of figuring out my new Nikon D70. Today I decided to drive about 20 minutes away from my hometown to the country side. It is a beautiful summer day and I was feeling inspired. Although after struggling with exposure in the noon day sun, I decided to cut my day short. But, for me, any photo expedition that results in 1 decent picture is worth it. So here is one I really liked.

These bulls were not pleased by my presence. They stared me down as I approached their enclosure. I took a hand full of images, but I decided I was too far away to get anything good and I didn't dare get closer. I love animals, especially awesome looking farm animals, but these things were huge.

The image is not worth putting in my portfolio, but it is worth sharing here because it will be nice to see track my own progress.

Long Horns 

The issues I had:

This image was WAY over exposed. I shot this at a F/7.1, I think. I used an ND filter, which I have never used even on my film camera. I like it, but I still have a lot to learn about the finer points of its uses. I spent just a few minutes in photoshop and it really made all the difference. It took the image below and made it presentable.

Long Horns

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

My New Nikon Lenses

18-55mm Lens with VR

I am loving this new camera. Once I have a complete knowledge about the workings of the DSLR I will go out and take more interesting pictures to share with you all. The end of summer is upon us, which means Minnesota State Fair, the Renaissance Festival and the Uptwon Art fair, which are all prime photo events. This lens will be perfect for all of that. Let me know what you think!

55-200mm Lens with VR

Friday, August 5, 2011

My Super 8 Camera!

Isn't it pretty! I love this camera, I am looking for an opportunity to use it. It has the most beautiful humming clicking sound that audibly lets you know you are shooting film. For those of you who consider yourself adventurous and unconventional should consider using this amazing format. I am in the market for a super 8 projector so I can write, direct, shoot, and project all of the work I do with this camera. I would love to make a music video or a zombie movie using this beauty.

These images are mine, and totally unedited. The first pictures from my new Nikon D70 uploaded to the internet. 

My First Digital SLR!

I just got a brand new (used) digital SLR camera and I couldn't be more excited. It is a Nikon D70 with a 35mm-70mm zoom lens. So nothing mind blowing, but still an excellent, sturdy, beautiful piece of machinery.

I have shot almost exclusively 35mm film since I began my education in photography many years ago. For a very long time I was anti-digital. I believed (and still do to a certain extent) that digital cameras allow photographers to be lazy. I often see people with incredibly expensive digital cameras set things the auto function and allowing the machine inside the camera to do all the work. Digital cameras allow amateurs with lots of money to be taken more seriously than poor, but educated, photographers because the rich can afford this years newest, most expensive model of digital camera. There are also great photographers with great cameras, but those people aren't my competition.

People who hire photographers always want to know what kind of camera they use and give very little regard to that photographers overall education and understand of the art itself. For me, photography has never been about having expensive gear, it has been about being a perfectionist as well as a little experimental.

I used the same Canon Elan II 35mm traditional SLR for nearly 10 years, so upgrading to a Nikon digital SLR is a huge step for me. The reasoning behind this purchase is the simple fact that people want digital. It's fine for me to shoot 35mm for myself, for my art and for my sanity. But, if I want to market myself as a photographer and filmmaker I need to have what the people want. It is getting to hard to convince people that 35mm negatives, scanned into photoshop is as legit as a digital image. People just don't want film anymore, I blame the technology renaissance.

A lot of the work you see in the slideshow above is 35mm black and white as well as color. My skills in these areas give me a massive advantage over photographers who know very little about traditional processes. I can take apart and put together a color print processor used in color film developing. I can spend hours, upon hours in the darkroom perfecting one aspect of a 3x5 photograph. I know how to manipulate chemicals and times to create subtle but transformative effects. I can sepia tone by hand, I can hand paint a photograph with real paint, not photoshop. I can liquid emulsion just about any object, I can shoot Polaroid and then manipulate that polaroid in a darkroom. On top of all of this I consider myself a bit of a Photoshop guru.

So while I am moving away from traditional processes, my skills in all these other areas will inform my art as I continue my professional transformation.

PS. The images are mine, they are crappy cellphone photos that I lit the best I could.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

CAPTAIN AMERICA REVIEW: I kinda want my money back...

USA 2011

Captain America is not very good, but I can't exactly figure out why. It could have been the tackiness of the Red Skull character, it could have also been the less than spectacular action sequences. I expected a lot more from Captain America, and I am surprised I was as disappointed as I was.

To the films credit, some of the production design was pretty interesting. Some of the scenes felt like the future was melting into the 1940's. Things were distinctly rooted in the WWII era, but the weapons, the architecture and certain aspects of costumes and landscape were high tech, sci-fi. I really enjoyed that aspect of the film because they were not trying to replicate the 40's which can have disastrous consequences. Instead they created an unique filmic atmosphere that fit perfectly within the world presented on screen.

I was slightly impressed with the young, blonde Captain, Mr. Chris Evans. I thought he did a fairly good job. His acting is by no means spectacular, but he is believeable, genuine and he takes the role seriously. Evans suffers greatly from the crappy writing and cringe worthy dialogue. There were a few funny quips, provided by Dr. Abaraham Erskine (Stanley Tucci). However, once his character was killed off, the dialogue took a nose dive. The other chuckle worthy moments were unintentional and came from half-baked special effects and cheesy lines.

The film suffers heavily from mid-grade special effects much like the Green Lantern. The only thing that saved this movie from being as bad as the Green Lantern was Howard Stark, and the other avenger characters. I like how Nick Fury was incorporated into the film, even if it was at the end. The presence of Samuel L. Jackson will give any film a boost in this reviewers opinion.

Final, and most important point. They writers, and director missed some really important opportunities with Captain America's alter ego character. I was not convinced for a second that some small kid who got picked on could have enough will and passion to be Captain America. Steve Rogers (Evans) was believable as the shy, insecure guy, but his motivation for become Captain America was non-existent. Suddenly he's just wearing a blue suit and asking his comrades to call him Captain America. If I was on that base, I would have told Steve Rogers to quit being a diva and put on the same uniform as everyone else.

C- It wasn't the worst superhero movie I've ever seen, but if you haven't seen it just go ahead and skip it.