Best of West is almost here!!

On May 4th Best of West 2009 will open in the hallways of A building. Best of West is our annual showcase of artwork created by our students throughout the 2008-09 school year. If you have not already turned in work to Mr. Callaway, Mrs. Corbett, Mrs. St. John, Mr. Kahre, or Mr. Berryman please do so this week.

Mr. Berryman is currently accepting work from both Photography 1 and Advanced Photography students. Photography 1 students from the Fall Semester are strongly encouraged to turn in up to two of their best photographs to Mr. Berryman.....this week!! Please spread the word among your friends that have taken photography class and encourage them to participate. Best of West is viewed by hundreds of students and parents during the time that it is open. This is an excellent opportunity to show off your creativity!!


Nick Scott's BIG Cyanotype

Last December I posted about alternative photographic printmaking techniques...such as the cyanotype. Nick Scott, one of my multi-advanced photography students has always wanted to create a cyanotype and now that his senior year is almost coming to a close he wanted to make sure to check this off of his "things-to-do-before-I-graduate" list.

But, like most things that Nick does, he wanted to go BIG....big negative equals big print! Please enjoy this photo-documentary of Nick's cyanotype process!

The digital negative will be held down onto the prepped paper with a piece of large plexiglass.

Nick standing with the cyanotype for a sense of "scale".

Placing the digital negative (printed on 13x19 Pictorico film) on top of the sensitized paper.

Exposing the negative to UV light from the sun. This exposure was slightly over 11 minutes.

During the exposure the cyanotype paper will start to turn a darker shade of blue,
evidence that the paper is absorbing UV light.

Here is what the paper looks like after the exposure is complete and the negative has been removed.

The only "chemical" needed to develop the exposed image is water!
The print is washed for at least five minutes under cold water.
Here you can see (on the right side of the print)
the chemicals washing away.

Nick shows off the finished print!


Andrew Martin: TPAC's Young Artist of the Year!!

Way to go Andrew!! The selections for the Topeka Performing Arts Center's Young Artists of the Year have been announced and our very own Andrew Martin won in the Visual Arts category. Please enjoy these six images that helped to secure this honor for Andrew. He is a very talented young man and will continue to amaze us all during his senior year!!

Interdependence, Gold Key, 2009 Scholastic's Art & Writing Awards

Bank, Silver Key, 2009 Scholastic's Art & Writing Awards


Brian Slater: photographer

I've been waiting a long time to create this post. Since I started this blog I have wanted to showcase Brian's amazing talent! He is a past student of mine...from waaay back...and he currently resides in Kansas City. I asked him to write up a brief summary of his career since graduating from T. West:

"I graduated from West in 1997... I was going to go to KU and study biology, but it just didn't sound that fun... Having fun in life seems way more important to me than nice cars, houses, and 401k's. So i turned down my scholarship, and instead accepted a full scholarship to go study photography at Highland Community College. Another T West grad, Tim Fisher went to HCC for art, and went on to great success and fame with MK12, a flash animation firm based here in Kansas City. You might have seen some of their work with MTV and most recently on the intro credits and computer interface parts of James Bond - Quantum of Solace. The instructor at HCC is a gent name Glenn Gross, and he's still teaching there. Glenn has a masters in photography, and studied under the Ansel Adams camp, and another famous photographer at MU Columbia. When i was in college, digital was still up and coming, and we learned the traditional ways... I can't stress enough the importance of the Zone system, and having solid technical understanding of the traditional silver gelatin methods. Even if you shoot strictly digital, you'll never really understand how to "see" a scene, and know how it will translate in 2D, without understanding how exposures are made. Mr. Berryman at West was a crucial figure in my life. He really sparked an interest inside me to be more of a visual artist, and also, an example of how to "be cool" and still have all these great qualities that I didn't see in a lot of adults around me. Glenn gave me a really solid technical mastery, and helped push me creatively, technically and and visually. You can't just shoot when you feel like it, or only do the bare minimum to complete your assignments. If there isn't a burning desire to photograph and interpret the world around you, then you should probably consider a different career. Doing something for a living is a good way to ruin a perfectly good hobby.

After west I moved to Kansas City, to stay close to my father who was ill. My first job after college was managing the photo lab inside the Sam's Club, followed shortly by a highly sought after job at Custom Color, processing slide film in the E6 department. Working at Custom Color was a great opportunity. Now defunct, at the time Custom Color was one of only a handful of Kodak Q Labs in the country... used primarily by professionals for their very high standards of quality control and precision. My technical background allowed me to quickly learn how to control the chemisty, and gained me the trust of many photographers at the time. I was actually the youngest person they'd ever hired, so it took a while to gain the trust of the pros with their slide film. We processed nearly all the studios film at the time, including Hallmark. I left Custom color in the summer of 2000, to move to Chicago. I landed a graphic design job, downtown at a firm, and was trying to get my foot into the door at some studios, but my fathers cancer took a turn for the worse, and I moved back to Topeka to take care of him until he passed away. I moved back to Kansas City in early 2001, and was fortunate to have some good contacts and was able to freelance assist for some of the best photographers in the city, including Nick Vedros, Don Wolf, Mark Lozano, Tal Wilson (also a KCAI instructor), Mike Martin, Ron Berg and Matt McFarland, as well as Rush Wade and a handful of others. I was also able to do some test shooting for a local modeling agency. I learned unique things from each of the photographers I worked with, and was really blessed with some of the opportunities presented. After 9/11, things took a huge downturn in Kansas City, which once had a thriving photo scene. I took a job doing graphic design for a printing company, and have been doing graphic design as a 9-5 since. It allows me a lot of time to play in Photoshop and Illustrator, to surf the web and see whats going on around the world, and research other visual artists. There really is something profound to be learned every day. I would say my relationship with Mark Lozano has been one of the most important to me. Not only has he become one of my closest friends, he's also my Judo sensei, sounding board, collaborator, and he's gracious enough to let me use his studio on the rare occasions I use strobe and studio backgrounds. I'd thought about going on to an Art Institute, but every editor, photographer and creative director that looked at my portfolio told me not to waste the time and money. I'm a firm believer that a quality education can be had for the cost of a library card, internet connection, and alot of personal drive and ambition. Also, take time to think about thinking, to analyze, percieve, to study light, to meditate, and to really figure out who you are and what you have to relay about the world around you. You can learn a lot by studying other peoples work, but its hardly a substitute for your own voice and your own vision.

I dj'ed for 6 years, so it provided me the opportunity to work with alot of artists and musicians in Kansas City, many of which have since gone national and international. I'm primarily only interested in photographing people who I find interesting, and I have the financial freedom to pick and choose jobs as they come along. A short list of clients would include Datura Records, Fudge Factory Sounds, Innate Sounds, HHA, and a list of organizations and publications that I've sort of forgot about.

The opportunity to travel to Honduras just sort of fell in my lap. I went with my sisters church through a missions organization, and I was honored to be able to go and meet all these incredible people, and to serve God. Really, all my talents and intelligence, and incredible opportunities that I've been presented in life are from God, and I try to acknowledge that first and foremost. I'm just blessed to be able to be used as an instrument of his will, and to help witness the human condition, and relay it visually to others. I felt it was really important for me to take honest, unbiased portraits. While they may not have alot of the material things that we take for granted in America, they have so much more than we do, spiritually... Things we can't buy in stores. I didn't want to go and bring back a bunch of Sally Struthers' commercials' type of images of sad looking kids in filthy clothes... or to make images that depicted them as something they weren't. And while, yes, they live in a level of poverty few of us could imagine, The Honduran people are beautiful, intelligent, loving, clean and proud people. It was truly a blessing to be able to experience the people and have such incredible access to them, and have some deep, meaningful interactions with them.

For the rest of the year, I'm looking at a possible mission trip to Kenya in June for 10 days, trips to Chicago, New York, Boston, Los Angeles, Hawaii and a possible return trip to Honduras to distribute prints to the families in person. I may also be going to an Indian Reservation in Arizona in October to help build a school. I'm also venturing into the world of film making, and learning how to get the most out of the D90's high def video features, and learning video editing software."

And now, a selection of images from Brian's photography website, forwardsbackwards.com:

(the following three images were taken on Brian's 2009 visit to Honduras)


inscape 2009 Release Party

Last Tuesday evening I attended a reception to celebrate the release of Washburn University's art and literary magazine inscape. That evening was also a celebration for one of Topeka West's advanced photography students, junior Emily Park.

If you remember a post back in November, Continuing a tradition of excellence..., Emily was one of four artists whose artwork was selected to be included in the 2009 edition of inscape. Emily (and her parents) arrived just a few minutes before the start of the reception after Emily had finished pitching a softball game in Holton. She was tired but also honored to be included in such a prestigious event! During the reception I asked Emily her age. She replied "17." To which I replied "Not too many 17-year-olds can say that they are 'published'."

Congratulations (again) Emily!!


The B-Boy Photography of Carlo Cruz

Carlo Cruz's images are wicked cool! Cruz specializes in breakdancing photography and combines HDR software and Adobe Photoshop to create his gritty, raw images. You definitely have to check out his website....the layout and graphics are amazing!!

Website: www.carlocruz.net

Interview with Carlo Cruz: celebreak.net


If You're Gonna Go, Go Big!

Most professional photographers amaze me. I envy their talent and their creativity. The two photographers that you will see in this post are no exception. Their photographs are amazing but what really impresses me is their scale! Or, the sense of immensity that comes through their photography!! After viewing the videos and the images I think you will understand why I placed these two guys together...


"As a completely self-taught artist, master photographer Peter Lik (www.peterlik.com) started in Australia and soon expanded his vision worldwide. Huge panoramic photographs of landscapes showcase the brilliant colors and elegant, spiritual terrain in Nature. These images speak for themselves and leave the casual viewer breathless. The truly conscientious observer will experience fine art. When you come to Peter Lik Galleries, you will be able to experience a kind of natural lifestyle, accented with exotic high-end furniture and sculptures.

Once you are ready to purchase, each fine art image comes in several different sizes. Clients are able to choose the frame and liner for their piece. Peter Lik Galleries also provides shipping worldwide. Peter Lik is the most awarded photographer in history and remains a leader in fine art photography. His quest for the perfect shot never ends. He explores this world driven by a vigorous determination to express his vision of beauty and his profound respect for nature.

In 1997 Lik took the courageous step of entering the competitive world of publishing with the birth of Peter Lik Publishing. He began with specialized panoramic postcards and the range of small hard cover books that have become his trademark. His first large format coffee table book “Australia - Images of a Timeless Land” is a stunning showcase of Lik’s most emotive images. Peter has since gone on to publish an additional 3 coffee table books including 'Spirit of America' and 'Las Vegas and Beyond'. Sales for these books have now reached over 1 million worldwide.

The success of his publishing company provided Peter with the platform to fulfill a lifelong dream of opening his own galleries selling limited editions of his work. He opened his first gallery in his hometown of Cairns and due to overwhelming demand it was followed by the opening of another 3 galleries throughout Australia."


"Waimea Bay shorebreak surfing pioneer, husband, and father of two, Clark Little (www.clarklittlephotography.com) has gained nationwide recognition for his photography with appearances on Good Morning America, Inside Edition, and many local news stations across the U.S.

It all started in 2007 when Clark’s wife wanted a nice piece of art to decorate a wall. Voluntarily, Clark grabbed a camera, jumped in the water, and starting snapping away capturing the beauty and power of monstrous Hawaiian waves from the inside out. “Clark’s view” is a unique view of the ocean that most will only be able to experience safely on land, while studying one of Clark’s photos.

Now with a camera upgrade and an itch to get that better shot, Clark has taken this on full time and has moved his office from land, to the inside of a barrel. Since the recent stir of Clark’s work, his images have been run on the Today Show, ABC World News Now, Paris Match (France), Hana Hou (Hawaiian Airlines) magazine, Surfer magazine as well as multiple publishers and newspapers in the U.S. and overseas."

(note the hand coming out of the water...that's Clark Little!)