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A New Name: The Ghost Dance Project (aka NAMS)

I can't believe that it's August already. I'm still working on, and struggling with, finding the right aesthetic and final object for the NAMS project. When I get it, I'll know it. It may take a while. As I always say, first things first, in that order.

It's impossible to explain how important these decisons are. I want to be able to reproduce the work without using any digital technology. That means I have to make wet collodion negatives. I'm okay with that, but I also want to keep my options open to making positives. I may end up making both a positive and negative of each scene, still undecided. Then there's the format question. How big of plate do I want to make? What are the logistics and costs involved? I'm still working on this question, or problem. So far, I've been making Whole Plate (6.5" x 8.5") and Half Plate (4.25" x 5.5") negatives and positives. What I'm thinking about now is Half Plate negatives that I can enlarge onto silver gelatin paper. This would give me the portability (you should see some of the places where I have to get a camera and a dark-box!!) and the ability to make really nice, very large, silver gelatin prints. I like that idea. 

What I have ruled out is dry collodion. The aesthetic of dry collodion doesn't appeal to me. And it doesn't work for this project, at all. If I were to go the dry plate route, it would be be dry gelatin. And if I were to do that, I might as well use film. The dry aesthestic doesn't fit for me.

Daguerreotypes are out, too. The aesthetic is not even close to what I want for this project, not to mention the cost. That leaves wet collodion and calotypes; everything else has been ruled out. I haven't completely ruled out dry waxed paper negatives (Calotypes). This is a real possibilty for me. My dilemma here is that I would want to make them 16" x 20" (40 x 50cm). That means I would need at least five plate holders that size to take to the field with me. 

I'm in no rush to make this happen. I'm hoping by the Autumn of 2016 it will be finished. The only thing I'm concerned with is doing it right. To make this happen, I have a long "to do" list and it seems to be growing every day. I know I need to quiet my life. I've been too busy and have had too much going on. Some big changes on the horizon; I'm moving house and studio to a new location, outside of the city of Denver. I'm also going to cut back the online activity. I'm going to close the forum and redirect the URLs to this site - www.studioQ.com - and I'm going to get off of Facebook. These are just the start of changes so I can make this project happen. All positive and good changes for me. People will wonder what happened to me. Tell them, "He's Ghost Dancing - he'll be back in a while". (Insert smiley face)

The first change is that I've deceided to call this work, "The Ghost Dance" project. 

The Ghost Dance, also called The Ghost Dance of 1890, was a new religious movement which was incorporated into numerous Native American belief systems. According to the prophet Jack Wilson's (Wovoka) teachings, proper practice of the dance would reunite the living with the spirits of the dead and bring peace, prosperity, and unity to native peoples throughout the region. The basis for the Ghost Dance, the circle dance, is a traditional ritual which has been used by many Native Americans since prehistoric times, but this new form was first practiced among the Nevada Paiute in 1889. The practice swept throughout much of the Western United States, quickly reaching areas of California and Oklahoma. As the Ghost Dance spread from its original source, Native American tribes synthesized selective aspects of the ritual with their own beliefs. This process often created change in both the society that integrated it, and in the ritual itself.


In the coming months, I will be launching a campaign to raise money for a 13" x 11" hardcover book of the work (a very nice coffee table book). I'm as interested in producing a book of the work as I am in showing/exhibiting the work. They will cost about $85 USD per book. I wil do the design and layout. I'm going to try to raise $12,000 so I can get 1000 copies plus shipping and other fees. My goal is to sell them and give the profit to the American Indian College Fund. This will apply to the work being sold in galleries/shows or online as well. 

This project is proabably the most import work I've done. Not only is it personally important, but it's also important in the sense of history and education for future generations. i hope you will consider helping me make this happen.