Patience Comes Slowly

t is difficult to be patient. Not until my late twenties did I start dabbling in photography, and I was in my mid-thirties before beginning any serious work. Despite feeling like the extra life experience was in some ways beneficial, necessary even, that late start combined with being self-taught has always made me feel rushed, like I fell behind behind and am running out of time. Spending time on social media does not help. Seeing all of the things that everyone else is doing, watching progress and success in real time, or at least the illusions we present online, can easily lead to questioning oneself and feelings of inadequacy.

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Sally Mann at the National Gallery of Art

This past Sunday Sally Mann came to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC where she did a reading from her recently published memoir Hold Still, took questions from the audience, and then signed copies of her book. For those who do not know, in addition to being a photographer, I am also the rare book librarian at the National Gallery -- as day jobs go, one could do far worse -- so a certain bias is probably inevitable. That said, any misquotes or misinterpretations found here are completely my own, and do not represent the views of the artist or the institution. I will admit that although I bought the book several weeks ago, I did not have time to read it before the event. But after hearing her read a few excerpts and speak, I have been eagerly plowing through the entire thing.

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An Unexpected Key to Photography, part 1 of X

Last week I posted a link to this article on Facebook and it has been on my mind ever since. It originally appeared on Medium here. In it Severin Matusek discusses the advice that renowned documentary photographer Sebastiao Salgado gives to an aspiring photographer. Basically Salgado's advice boils down to becoming knowledgeable about the world, specifically the subject matter you want to photograph. As Matusek points out, this is quite different to the advice one usually hears - "shoot more" or "practice" or "study the masters."

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Welcome to the Antiquated Modern!

Greetings from the all new home for Yuri Long Photography's personal projects - the Antiquated Modern. Not to worry, gentle reader, I am still available for portrait commissions. Please visit my other site (which will be getting a facelift as well) for more information and to book a session. The purpose of this site is to share the work that doesn't fit into neat little boxes, the stuff that comes from my constant need to play and learn and love. 

I hope you enjoy seeing the work here, all of which will be made available in some tangible form over time. This blog will feature in depth descriptions of particular images, behind the scenes looks into my working process both out in the field and in the darkroom, as well as other cool art and photography news and notes that I find interesting.

You will also find news about the current state of various projects and their availability in the Print Shop, which currently features a small selection of recent prints. You can also sign up for my email newsletter to keep up to date with new posts and when new work is available to purchase right from your inbox.

To get started, here is one of my most recent pieces:

Stillness #7, Washington, DC 2015

Portra 160 + Mamiya 6 + The FIND Lab

A couple of months ago we were supposed to do a family portrait session on this beautiful Sunday morning, right at the peak of the cherry blossoms' bloom here in Washington, DC. Sadly, we had to postpone the session due to a toddler feeling under the weather. But as I'd already blocked out the time in my schedule, I decided to go out and shoot anyway. This year has been crazy, and I really haven't shot as much as usual, especially in my home city. It was a beautifully crisp spring morning, and I was happy to work on some of my ongoing projects.

One of them is a project called "Stillness" where I explore ideas about peace and emptiness through compositions that make use of natural reflections. It was a great day for this kind of thing as the tidal basin was nice and calm. It was incredibly crowded, even at 7:30am, but i managed to find a few nice vantage points to sit and meditate for awhile.

Many of the cherry trees at the tidal basin have grown such that they extend over the walkway ringing the water and descend toward the water below. I really liked this particular spot where it seemed the tree was reaching out, almost yearning to dive into the cool blue basin. I used a shallow depth of field to focus only on a few blossoms tumbling precariously toward the surface of the water, while still giving a sense of the overall space through the trees in the distance reflected in the water as well. It is an image about bringing one's heart to a moment of calm before taking the risky plunge that will sooth and renew.

Several images from this series, including this one, are currently available in the Print Shop if you are interested. Printed on Hahnemuhle Fine Art paper and treated with an archival coating to increase longevity, these inkjet prints come matted and ready to frame.