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Thursday, 17 October 2019


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Wonderful. Thank you.

Love that head shot!

An "old soul" of a child warning adults of the dangers they have (un)knowingly created- shouldn't it be the other way around?

On a related note:

Hey, Mike. Along with more than 3.100 other folks, I follow Shane Balkowitsch's wonderful work in Instagram, where I first saw these lovely images. Thanks for featuring his work.

Guess Greta has had her 15 minutes of fame now.

I read and shared the image, message and link to the story. Thanks for posting this Mike.

I wrote with the post" This is a testament to the power of photography. We try to document those rare moments and individuals that affect the entire world who then move us to do better."


I saw the image in this post (in my RSS reader: who remembers them?) and immediately thought 'OK, this is why I read TOP'. I don't even really know why I thought that but, well, thank you: this is (one of) the reasons I read TOP.

What to make of the wet plate pictures of Greta Thunberg? Maybe 'Standing for Us All' will be effective communication for many ordinary folk, but I see a symbol right out of Curtis, of a noble but ultimately doomed civilization (or that's what Curtis thought and aimed to depict). But why depict Greta standing in the West with strings of beads? The Art Director had some weird ideas.
Ironically the artist's portrait of Evander Hollyfield is terrific -- it has the fierceness that probably should be in Greta's portrait. But my interpretation is obviously formed by my thinking and looking at The American Indian and its history of sadness and then revision, and the Portland Art Museum's several efforts lately to give exposure to contemporary Native American artists and their wry commentaries on their own images.

I’m a liberal and support environmentalists, but this hype around Greta Thunberg drives me nuts. Did she walk to the middle of the reservation, or take a horse? Is wet plate photography environmentally friendly? There’s this holier-than-thou attitude around her that’s close to hypocritical if you ask me. Sailing in a hyper modern yacht instead of getting on a plane that’s flying anyway, really? It’s a bit like the top Tesla, it sounds good until you realize that its production process and lifetime consumption of materials is actually worse for the environment than a small gasoline-powered car. End of rant.

The support vehicle looks like it has a heavy carbon footprint; just sayin’....

Ummmm, .....isn't the Greta publicity intensely political? And she is a ..... child. Or was.
Really, hyper yacht and the UN ? OK, next stop Mayan ruins with berry juice and clay on rocks, then Stonehenge with charcoal and stone tablets. Busy girl, along with her entourage of handlers. Gosh, what a world we live in, full of infinite wonder, and all ripe for all of us photographers. Soldier on!

Mike, thank you for linking to my little article. I must say it was a surprise to see it mentioned on these hallowed pages. Thank you so much for what you do, I'll slip away now and continue to admire from afar!

With all respect, I wish Greta Thunberg well and safeness. She is after all, all of 16. A kid, a teenager who needs to be one. She should not be a hero, a role model, or a savior. Leave her to an ordinary teenage life.

I love the work Shane Balkowitsch is doing in Bismarck. I believe the wet plate process he uses has a very narrow spectral response and it gives his images a unique quality.
TOP readers not familiar with his work will find the effort to take a look at his photographs time well spent.
I also love it that he is doing this in my old home town but that's another matter.

I love the "Standing for Us" picture, but can't help noting a few technical points. Roger Fenton was probably the last to hitch up his mules to a darkroom wagon and use wet plate techniques in the field. Adam Vroman and Edward S Curtis certainly used dry plates. But the look and to some extent the stage direction of Curtis' portraits is beautifully captured in Balkowitsch's portraits. In this one you can suspect that he overexposed the "headshot" but got it right on the standing pose. From the color photographs of the shoot, you can see that the not-even-orthochromatic response of the emulsion made her bright blue hoodie come out very earth-toned.

Greta Thunberg is an original, and I am delighted to see that this special sort of photography has helped her to make her point.

The tripod does not match the camera.

Interesting from a photographic perspective.

From a scientific perspective, decision makers should listen more to the scientists, and less to the "influencer of the day". Especially when it is a child that knows nothing about the science.

But I guess her and her family are now famous and richer for it.

Shane Balkowitsch, it might be worth noting in passing, is a relentless self-promoter who has earned the ire of a large fraction of the wet-plate community by being a little facile with the truth on occasion. Perhaps he's changed his ways in recent years.

I find his work competent but uninspired. He is, as is so common, leaning on the process to elevate pedestrian work. And, you know, it works to a degree?

I find her a little bit too theatrical. But her message is good. Young people don’t have to fight in the streets anymore for justice. They just have to register, think about things, and go out and vote. Nice portrait.

Oh Mike...did you really have to write about her too? (I am only sayin'?)

Sure could have picked a better place or group to meet up with. More than a year of notice and the Pine Ridge Lakota did not make ONE public meeting about the pipeline. They missed at least six different appointments with the Oil company representatives - on their own reservation.
Then they protest as the last hookup is to be made.
They paid kids $100 a day in cash to miss school to "protest". They threatened local farmers and ranchers and blocked access to their homes.
This kid is aligned with them? And the opportunistic Shane "all the dollars for a studio - few to improve wet plate Technique"?

A nice idea and no blame on him for trying, but would be nice to see what someone like Coffer, the Ostermans or Quinn Jacobson would do.

One would think that Ms. Thunberg kick a puppy from the reactions of some people...

I find the portrait of Miss Thunberg pretentious and manipulative- the "photographer's" attempt at mediocre self- promotion. Reminds me of some fashion shoots from the 70's or 80's done on location in indigenous villages. I'm sure the villagers were very impressed as are the Native Americans

Why does anything reported about this powerful young woman make tears well up in my eyes? So authentic and filled with what is important. Thank you for this post.

Oh my, all the cynicism in the posts. People's hearts appear to be hardening.

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