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Occupy Wall Street Portfolio in Photo technique Magazine

occupy wall street_Obama

Discret. 26 Octobre 2011, Zuccotti Park, Manhattan.


We bought our house 15 years ago. Two doors down lived a fellow and his wife. We eventually started to talk, and when we had our daughters, they became friends. During those years we have had countless dinners together and countless walks strategizing the political future of the nation.

The fellow, Rodrigo Dorfman, turned out to be a filmmaker, and last June he asked if he could make a documentary about me. For years he had quietly observed me do my thing and had started to envision a story, a character. I respected a strategic delay of a few minutes but eventually gave him the only possible answer, and we filmed epically during the summer of 2011.

Rodrigo and I had both lamented for years about the political apathy in America, why Americans seem- ingly never take it to the streets as in notably Latin countries, from France to Argentina. Consequently,
when Occupy Wall Street exploded the status quo (although the movie was already in editing stage) we had to include our vision of the movement regardless of the impact on our timeline for submitting our film to festivals.
I photograph a lot of different situations, from nature to protests, urban myths and political events. I shoot as much as possible with a Hasselblad 503 CX, unless it is indoors. That allows me to make prints up to 43 inches wide. Size matters: a photojournalistic style photograph that large is like a sledgehammer com- pared to a regular hammer. When I need to be lighter, faster or more intimate, I pick up the Leicas.

The Leica M is the ultimate in comfort and elegance for reportage. It is quiet, quick and the lenses are super crisp. Ultimately the Leica is more conforming to the traditional “raw” feel of photojournalism, while a Has- selblad photograph, with its optical stylization of the out-of-focus and its crystalline resolution and square- ness, has a more sophisticated allure.

For all its press coverage, it was difficult for me to know what to anticipate at OWS. Would the lack of light mandate the use of the Leicas? Surely there would be a need for the Blad, but who wants to haul that all day and have it in the way for little use? I am not good at compromising and therefore needed to decide on location.

We adapted our traveling style to the 99 Percent motto and went up with an overnight bus. It would test our physical resilience and we arrived in Chinatown later than planned due to a mechanical failure of the bus. I ended up using the Hasselblad very little, although it produced a couple of extremely precious photographs. But on the whole, because of the low light level, the Leicas were technically required, as well as better suited to this rather unglamorous environment.
For gear I typically have two Leica M6 TTL bodies with me: one with Ektar 100 film, and one with Ilford FP4 Plus film. I can hand hold to 1/15th, 1/8th if I have to, and I also use a Manfrotto monopod when needed. Except for the Hasselblad that I just carry on my shoulder, everything fits in pouches on my Think- tank pro speed belt, the only belt that stays at the right length even under stress. The Leicas fit nicely in Thinktank “Skin 50s.” This is the best and fastest way I can deal with my gear as well as last a whole day with this kind of load. I also have a beautiful Thinktank Airport Security rolling case when the full Hasselblad gear, including the shifting bodies, is needed.

In places like OWS I am definitely happy to shoot film. Because of the larger dynamic range it can absorb (which there was huge) due to the difference between the light down low and the sky or the reflections of the glass of the buildings. My Hasselblad scanner can extract every detail on the negative, and all that has more resolution than the digital capture equivalent. It is more work for sure, but I also like the organic nature of the photographs. A little grain gives substance to an image, while no grain is “plastic looking.” I don’t do “faux grain.”

I am a one-man orchestra. Apart from the raw materials, I do everything including mixing my own chemical formulas. I process my black and white films in PMK, the developer that should warrant a statue somewhere for its inventor Gordon Hutchings. I also process my own color, thanks to my JOBO processor that Greg Blank resurrected from the dead. The JOBO gives me the cleanest possible color negatives I have ever achieved. I proof scan everything with my Epson V750 and Silverfast Studio 8 (see the article in July/August 2010 photo technique).

Coming up with oversized enlargements from negatives captured on the fly requires low blood pressure and low speed film. I use Noise Ninja soft- ware which is a must in color and in the stratospheric levels of enlargement ratios in black and white. I also use Perfect Resize from OnOne Software, without which I could not fully enlarge the Hasselblad negatives.

The new keystone of my production is my Eizo ColorEdge CG 275 W monitor which gives me a lot of viewing real estate. It is a high precision device, with a built in calibration system that has resolved the color management issues that had plagued me since switching to Snow Leopard. I print most of my work on Museo Portfolio Rag, which gives me the crispest prints with the right amount of warmth and the highest Dmax I have found.

Following the completion of Rodrigo Dorfman's film on my work, Monsieur Contraste, Photo technique magazine has published in its May/June issue 2012, a portfolio on my series on the historic Occupy Wall Street encampment in Zuccotti park, Downtown Manhattan.
The article is in the left column and the pages of the magazine are inserted (click to enlarge). The article may be dowloaded in pdf format here.

The entire Occupy Wall Street series may be viewed on this blog

Greg Blank (my Jobo repairman) may be reached at 410-795-7734.


Suite à la finalisation du film sur mon travail par Rodrigo :,
Monsieur Contraste, le magazine américain Photo technique publie dans son numéro de Mai/Juin 2012, un portfolio sur ma série traitant de Occupy Wall Street,
le site historique du mouvement qui a changé la façon dont l'Amérique ressent son establishment. L'article (en Anglais) est dans la colonne de gauche, et les pages du magazine sont insérées (cliquer pour agrandir). L'article peut être déchargé en format PDF ici.

La série entière peut être vue dans ce blog,


Le 2nd Tour 2012 à Raleigh

2012 French election

2012 French election_Raleigh


Les Français de la moitié est de la Caroline du Nord, ont voté à Raleigh, Samedi 5 Mai, dans le bureau de vote installé sur le Campus Américain de l'école Skema, à NC State University.

Suivant un processus bien documenté, les Français d'Amérique du nord souvent morphent avec leurs voisins autochtones, et si ils ne l'étaient pas déjà, deviennent conservateurs grand teint. L'on dit qu'il s'agit là d'un processus de sélection naturelle.
French election 2012_Raleigh

L'on observe le même phénomène mais à l'envers chez les Américains de France. Ci dessous le résultat de l'urne, nous sommes nombreux toutefois à nous réjouir que les Français de la métropole aient corrigé le tir:

222 votants (participation38%)

216 suffrages exprimés

Nicolas Sarkozy: 129 soit 59,7%

François Hollande: 87 soit 40.3 %

Le billet relatant la ferveur du premier tour à Raleigh est

The French from the East part of North Carolina were able to vote in Raleigh for the second round of the French Presidential election, Saturday May 5, 2012. The vote took place on the campus of the French business school Skema, at NC State University.

It should be noted that as the results below verify, and following a process of natural selection, the French living in the U.S. tend to be more conservative than the vintage ones from Europe, save a few exceptions. The opposite would be true for the Americans living in France.

There are still quite a few of us who are elated that the French from the hexagon saved the day and civilization with it.

222 participants (38%)

216 valid balots

Nicolas Sarkozy: 129 (59,7%)

François Hollande: 87 (40.3 %)

The first round account may be found

French election 2012_Raleigh

French election 2012_Raleigh

French election 2012_Raleigh

French Election 2012_Raleigh

De gauche à droite: l'envoyée de l'Ambassade, Sandrine Falgon, Marie-Claire Ribeil Consul Honoraire, Christian Foubert et Jean-François Provost, citoyens volontaires.

French election 2012_Raleigh

Hélène Crié en vert, annonce les voies, Marie-Claire Ribeil Consule Honoraire préside au bon déroulement du dépouillement.