Junk Jaunt Shopping, Custer County

Junk Jaunters, Custer County

Junk Jaunters, Custer County

Oh, what fun. Lured by the romance of finding hidden treasure, knickknack and antique hunters rummage a county fair building packed with items during the annual Nebraska “Junk Jaunt.” The 200-mile, 500-plus vendor trail includes more than 20 towns, whose residents will see visitors from half the states in the US.

I was lucky enough to travel two days of the Jaunt this year with some of my best students, and in Broken Bow, we found our own treasures…photographs.

The PlainSky, Nebraskans Show: The Complete Works No. 6

Carhenge Doorway: PlainSky, Nebraskans No. 6

Carhenge Doorway: PlainSky, Nebraskans No. 6 (24″ x 16″ on Red River Arctic Polar Luster)

I return to the one-day, one-image release of the complete “PlainSky, Nebraskans” show as it will debut at the West Nebraska Arts Center in Scottbluff, Nebraska, on March 1. The collection of 40 images, ranging from 10 1/2 inches by 15 1/2 inches at the smallest to 36 inches wide by 24 inches high at the largest, will be accompanied by the first signing of my book of the same name.

I’ve been asked by a number of people about how the images are made. The largest print is a custom-made print by Denver Digital Imaging on a Chromira LED photographic printer (yes, it’s a traditional photograph development method) on Fuji Crystal Archive Super Glossy paper. I’m going to start noting the paper types and printing methods each day as I post these, and more information about how it’s done can be found on my tech blog, Field & Studio in the coming weeks.

The other prints, all 24″ by 16″ or smaller, are made on my Epson Stylus Pro 3880 color inkjet (these prints are called giclées) using a variety of papers. Black and white images are printed on Red River Arctic Polar Luster paper; color prints are on a variety of papers, including Red River Arctic Polar Satin, Red River Polar Pearl Metallic 255 GSM, and Canson Infinity Arches Velin Museum Rag. It’s impressive how many pros have fallen for the giclée process, including Bill Frakes of Sports Illustrated, a bunch of the folks at Luminous Landscape, and Terry Cockerham in Dallas. Santa Fe Photographic Workshops is a staunch proponent of giclées as a central process in photographic creativity.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: National Geographics and Television in School Lunch Room, Seneca

National Geographic Magazines and Television, Seneca

National Geographic Magazines and Television, Seneca

District Six died more than 15 years ago.

It sits at the top of the southern ridge in Seneca, its Nebraska sky blue north wall peeling paint, its doors ajar, its roof rotted and open to the sky in many places. At the corner of the cafeteria one afternoon, I found these National Geographic magazines and old television, the gold border of the magazines a stark contrast to the brown, sienna and green of decay that dominates the rest of the room.

It is a stark reminder of the future of many small western Nebraska schools, as they face diminishing class sizes, reduced funding, and dying communities.

PlainSky, Nebraskans: Ranch Shed, Sioux County

Shed, Sioux County

Shed, Sioux County

Wandering around a ranch this January during a heifer spaying session, I found this weathered shed, its west wall a testament to both its age and exposure. The ranch has been in the same family for more than 110 years, constantly enduring the varied, violent extremes of weather to which the shed bears constant witness. Moreover, the plates themselves tell of the change in heritage and diversity as such pressure begin to encroach on this lost corner of Nebraska.