I seem to always be straddling eras of technology and the Camera Obscura Project which was a collaboration with Charles Schwartz is a great example. It began with Charles’ Camera Obscura which is located on the upper east side of Manhattan with a dramatic view over New York City’s Central Park. We spent years using a digital camera to photograph the pre-photographic live camera obscura images. A catalog of the work “Visions In The Dark” was produced for an exhibition at the Alan Klotz Gallery.
Recently I produced a new 3D printed edition of the catalog images. The back of the book has a pinhole just like an ancient camera obscura. It is printed using a Makerbot Replicator 2 in black and translucent PLA with archival inkjet prints inside, the book is 3.875″ x 3.75″ x 0.5″, slip case is 4″ x 3.5″ x 0.5″; price: $1400, edition of 10
3D printed Visions In The Dark book and slipcase
Pinhole in the back of the book
A new book sculpture I’ve made is The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
This is a miniature book – 2.375″ x 1.875″ x .75″ and the box is 3.75″ x 3.25″ x 1.1.25″
Inside the 3D printed translucent PLA covers are a title page in the front and an author portrait in the back. Inside is a USB flash drive containing a text file of the complete works of William Shakespeare. I designed the book cover and box in Tinkercad and printed it with a Makerbot Replicator 2 using a translucent PLA plastic. The interior images are printed with an Epson R1900 inkjet printer. It is presented in a “hand-made” silver PLA 3D printed box with a blue velvet lining. The book is published in an edition of 10.
I have also completed a full size version of the book – 5.875″ x 4.875″ x 0.75″
larger Shakespeare book
The text of the book comes from the Gutenberg Project.
For years I have been publishing my work in book form. Mostly soft bound print-on-demand picture books. But lately I have changed how I do things.
I have been watching – and sometimes enjoying – how the publishing industry has changed. Not only can we self-publish POD books, but we can promote them on the web. We can make eBooks that are wonderfully portable and accessible. Books ain’t what they used to be. My latest work is a series of books unlike any others – they are 3D printed and cannot be read.
The latest edition of my ODDYSSEY book is an example of my latest craziness. The binding is 3D printed and the interior is the images from my ODDYSSEY project. But to see the images, to “read” the book, you have to destroy the book. The content is sealed inside the 3D printed covers.This limited edition artist’s book is handmade – sorta. With my very own hands I designed the book cover and box in Tinkercad and printed it with a Makerbot Replicator 2 using a translucent PLA plastic. The interior images are printed with an Epson R1900 inkjet printer.
It is presented in a “hand-made” gold PLA 3D printed box with a gold lamé lining. Produced in an edition limited to 10, the book is 4.75″ x 3.875″ x 0.875″. It is signed and dated on the interior pages. The box is 6.75″ x 5.875″ x 2″ and is signed in 3D printed relief inside the top.
Last week I participated in an Albumen and Salt Printing Workshop at the George Eastman House Museum in Rochester NY taught by Mark Osterman and ably assisted by Nick Brandreth. We learned how to make high quality handmade prints using glass plate negatives and plain paper sensitized with a silver nitrate solution. These historic processes date back to the very early days of photography in the mid 19th century.
For albumen printing we cracked 5 dozen eggs to separate out the whites, mixed in ammonium chloride and beat until stiff – just like making a meringue except for a slightly different recipe. After the egg whites settled back to liquid form we coated paper and after it dried we sensitized with silver nitrate. Then we exposed the paper using glass plate negatives, and then processed with gold chloride and fixed the prints before washing and drying.
Eric Baillies coating paper with albumen
Mark Osterman loads a printing frame
washing albumen print
dried albumen print
We also learned how to make salted paper prints, a similar process but without the egg whites.
salted paper print from a digital neg made from a glass plate
Finally we waxed the salt prints with bees wax and oil of lavender.
Waxing the salt prints with Eric Baillies, Mark Osterman and Maria Santo
The other students were Eric Baillies and Maria Santo. We also spent time looking at the extraordinary examples of albumen and salt prints in the Eastman House archives. Including seeing some Hill & Adamson daguerreotypes in the conservation lab.
Hill & Adamson daguerreotype
It was a great week learning and refining my skills, studying the history of photography and making friends.
Five of my pieces are included in a show titled Abstract Lives at the Arts Guild of New Jersey in Rahway September 8 through October 3 2013. Artists include Eileen M. Foti, Adel Gorgy, Frances Heinrich, Peter Jacobs, Neal Korn, Tom Nussbaum, RoCa, Diane Savona, Rocco Scary and Bill Westheimer. The show was curated by Dr. Virginia Butera of the College of St. Elizabeth.
The Arts Guild of NJ is located at 1670 Irving Street, Rahway, NJ 07065
hours are Monday – Thursday 10 am – 3:30 pm and Saturday & Sunday 1 pm -4 pm
The opening reception is Sunday September 8th from 1 pm – 4pm free admission – light refreshments will be served
Abstract Lives is the first of three exhibits at Rahway by one group of artists curated by three different curators.
If you could have a world named after you – what would it look like?
The Billiad is a quirky video from my book about what I discover when the dream becomes a reality.
When this guy from New Jersey via Cincinnati, Schenectady, Aspen and New York City finally finds his own world, locates his slice of heaven, finds that place with his very own name, what will the reality be like?
“Careful what you wish for….”
If it really is my world, would I want it to be like Westheimer Road in Houston Texas?
The Billiad is my strange trip to that special place.
The Billiad from Bill Westheimer on Vimeo.
based on the book The Billiad now available from Petey Pie Press.
Perfection is over-rated. And Charles Schwartz’ Light Reclaimed work is proof. Charles has collected imperfect old ambrotypes and tintypes that show the patina of time and he has scanned and enlarged them to make his Light Reclaimed series.
He writes: “over time I found myself drawn to boxes containing the undesirable – broken, scratched, partially destroyed images where the imperfections rather than ruining the object seemed to impart a greater beauty.”
Some might say he is just scanning, but this work is more than just appropriating images. The scans and their presentation combined with the connoisseurship and curating makes Charles’ work personal. He found them, he chose them, he scanned them, he edited them, and these are now HIS pictures and they are spectacular. Each one tells a story even greater than the story the original photographer intended.
Amazing photos and videos of Earth from space. As a lover of maps I am fascinated by aerial and space photos of earth. I love to see where we are in relation to other people and places. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/18/opinion/sunday/gorgeous-glimpses-of-calamity.html
Sometimes it takes a very talented photographer to get the great image, sometimes it is simply a matter of “f/8 and be there” and sometimes it is a matter of a great editor selecting from a huge volume of images. In this case it is both being in the right place at the right time and the editor recognizing the best images.
I have completed The BILLIAD! The sequel to ODDYSSEY is about my exploration of Westheimer Road in Houston Texas. 27 miles of ego trip condensed into a 100 page book with 67 photographs. I spent 3 days in March 2013 traveling the gauntlet of Westheimer Road photographing myself with all things Westheimer.
If you could have a world named after you – what would it look like? The Billiad is a quirky book about one man’s discovery when the dream becomes a reality. Westheimer Road is Houston’s longest road and Bill Westheimer traveled it looking for his dream land in The Billiad.
They said: “It is is big world, claim your part of it.”
Over and over again it was: “The world is your oyster.”
Again and again I heard: “You can be whatever you want.”
Never ending: “Make it yours.”
So when it all comes true…… what will it look like?
When this guy from New Jersey via Cincinnati, Aspen, Schenectady, and New York City does find his own world, locates his slice of heaven, that place with his name, what will the reality be?
I have heard it a zillion times: “Careful what you wish for.”
If it really is MY world, would it really look like Westheimer Road in Houston Texas?
The Billiad is my trip to that special place – I finally arrive at Westheimer Road and the reality hits home hard.
The book is $19.95, softcover, 100 pages, 68 photographs and available from Petey Pie Press