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5 Takes: Positively 5th Street Photolab Project


Fraser Bonnell
Fraser BonnellAlthough I have taken pictures casually all my life and had learned the rudiments of cameras and lenses, I did not think of taking photography seriously. That has changed. Not quite three years ago, I got a digital SLR, and began taking photographs seriously. Initially I had no clear direction, and photographed whatever took my eye. I still do that, but an important moment came when I discovered faces.

Taking photographs has changed me. I look at much more than I ever did before, and see a lot more. I’ve reached a point where dealing with my photographs has become like work—in a very good sense. I always carry a small digital camera, and have learned one lesson: if I see a picture, I take it. Not following this rule has cost me some pictures that I regret not having.

In the past two years, I’ve been fortunate to be able to photograph classes and rehearsals at Berkeley Ballet Theater (BBT), a Berkeley dance school with facilities in the Julia Morgan Center. I am grateful to BBT for giving me the opportunity to visit and take pictures.

I wouldn’t have got where I am without a little help from my friends. For almost two years I’ve participated in Joan Bobkoff’s portfolio workshop at Photolab. This group has provided constructive criticism and encouragement.

Cathy LozanoCathy Lozano
Photography has been an interest of mine for a very long time. It may have started when I was very young when Dad made us stand very still for what seemed an eternity, while he held his camera waist high, looking down into the view finder and then, finally, he’d wave his hand giving us the signal to “defrost” from our pose. That could be the reason for my preference to capture candid photos of others, capturing a natural state. I have photographed flowering plants, animals and special events, such as street fairs and cultural celebrations. Currently, my subject has been dogs at play.

A selection of images from my collection of captured moments while visiting Point Isabel in El Cerrito, California. are displayed here at Photolab. This selection of images include dogs at play in the bay, a dance in the sky performed by some of the wildlife living nearby, and incredibly beautiful sunsets we sometimes take for granted.

Eric Kaufman-Cohen
Eric Kaufman-CohenMy interest in photography began in college in the 1980’s. However, it wasn’t until 1990, when I returned to San Francisco, after spending several years abroad, that I began to take photography seriously. At that time I found myself living next door to a photography gallery and darkroom, and my interest in photography was rekindled. I dusted off my grandfather’s Rolleiflex and began working in medium format. I continue to shoot with the Rollei, as well as a traditional SLR. I have not made the leap to digital, and at this time have no desire to.

These images capture the texture and feel of the city, in this case New York. The concrete, steel and
brick that surround you as you walk down empty streets, past doorways, walls, and buildings, layered and splattered with images; the messages scratched, painted and sprayed upon them. The energy and art that emanate from the city itself are the core of these images. The most perceptive, and
complimentary, remark made about my work was that one of my images looked like it could be a cover for an album by the Velvet Underground - the preeminent New York underground rock band. It is that sound, that texture, that energy, which inspire me to pick up a camera.

Martha Snider
Martha SniderMy first exhibited piece of art was a drawing of a duck included in a collection of student art at the Alabama State Fair. I was eight years old.

There was then a hiatus in my art career while I completed elementary and high school, college and medical school, and three years of post doctoral training. A hiatus, that is, if you don’t include elaborate art projects illustrating science papers and hundreds of hours as a documentarian, which is much of what practicing medicine is about.

Since the time of the duck drawing I have wanted to write a book. After numerous starts, I now have a completed draft. Naively I had thought that a book would start with words. This book, however, started with a series of photographs and a class with other photographers.

The book from which these pages are taken is “image driven”. It has been far easier to write and to stay with the project since the photo documentation process began. The Positively Fifth Street Portfolio Group has been instrumental in my getting the writing done.

Here are some of the pages and images from the book. Enjoy!

positively fifth street photolab project

April 27 to June 20, 2009

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The Positively 5th Street Photolab Project evolved from a series of workshops in portfolio development offered at Photolab in Berkeley,
California. Join the group...

Photo by Cathy LozanoThe photographers currently involved in this “Positively 5 St. Project” are a diverse group. Included are a doctor, a lawyer, a graphic designer, a state investigator and a retired computer engineer. All of the “Positively 5th Street” participants share is a commitment to creating a body of work with visual impact and a consistent point of view. The P5SPP has worked together as a group more than a year (in its current incarnation) sharing information on all things photographic and reviewing and editing each other’s work.

Photo by Eric Kaufman-CohenUnder the guidance of Joan Bobkoff, photography instructor at Laney College, the Positively 5th Street Photolab Project has provided a creative space for each person to pursue his or her respective project in depth.

Photo by Martha SniderSome members come to the group with a well-developed concept and with much of the work already shot. Others discovered their theme or vision in the course of our workshops and brought in new images to reviewed and incorporated into already selected work.

Photo by Ted WilliamsRegardless of the various ways members of the Positively 5th Street Photolab Project approached their work, everyone was pleased with the high quality of the emerging portfolios. All members of the P5SPP were enthusiastic about having a group show at the Photolab Gallery, as was Andrea McLaughlin, the owner of Photolab and curator of the Photolab Gallery.

Photo by Fraser BonnellEach photographer has written his/her own artist statement, so you will learn more about the artists and their work directly from the sources. All the photographs displayed in the show are available for sale and price lists & contact information for each artist’s work can be found in the gallery.

If you are interested in learning more about the P5SPP, visit the workshop web page. Additional literature is available at Photolab. You can also contact me directly at


-Joan Bobkoff

Ted WilliamsTed Williams
In the summer of 2008 I received an incredible gift: the chance to spend a month at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Banner, Wyoming and do nothing but explore my surroundings and photograph what I saw. I became engaged in the vast open landscape, man's attempt to tame it, and the forces nature uses to return man's efforts to the soil. Time and the elements are powerful weapons in the earth's arsenal.

Biography: Born in Fort Worth Texas, 1951. I've been interested in art all my life. Drawing, painting, writing as a child; studied art and commercial art/printing in high school. Junior College as fine art major; drawing, painting, art history, printmaking, photography.

College in graphic design and printmaking. Active in ceramics, photography and taught silkscreen printing. Sole proprietor, graphic design business since 1984, designing and producing annual reports, marketing literature and identity programs for corporations. Design work recognized by Communication Arts Magazine, Print Magazine, The Society of Publication Designers, The Mead Annual Report Show and the New York Art Directors Club.

I live in Oakland, California with my wife and our 16 year old son.

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