Thoughtful Dog Publishes “Cock’d,” A New Short Story by CB Adams

Thoughtful Dog, an online literary and lifestyle magazine, has published my latest short story, “Cock’d,” in its April 29th issue. This is the first of what I hope will be the renaissance of my fiction-writing career after a more than 15-year hiatus. “Cock’d” opens with a reference to Rod Stewart, but it is Steve Winwood who wrote the theme song for this moment:  I'll be back in the high life again/ All the doors I closed one time will open up again/ I'll be back in the high life again/ All the eyes that watched me once will smile and take me in.

I’m not sure that publishing a short story constitutes the “high life,” but then again, for those of us who write serious short fiction and work to find a home for it, this is as good as it gets. Writing is hard and slow. I accept that challenge. My relationship with the process of attempting to get that work published is like Fatal Attraction. I start off submitting with naïve, hopeful anticipation and as the rejections pile up, I realize I’m involved with Alex who keeps telling me, “You are a cock-sucking son of a bitch. I hate you. I bet you don't even like real girls, do you? Ha! You disappoint me, you fucking faggot!”

Some days, I’m not up to this challenge. Still, I write on.

“Cock’d” represents the process at its easiest. It received only 14 rejections before Thoughtful Dog Editor-in-Chief Loie Sayers accepted it for publication. Because I am a Missouri-based writer, I typically submit my work first to appropriate Missouri literary journals as a show of support to this state’s literary efforts. They passed on “Cock’d,” but Thoughtful Dog, which features literary fiction as well as interviews, essays, and articles on the art of writing and the literary life, got it. Thoughtful Dog is earnest about publishing good writing and literature without taking themselves too seriously, and “Cock’d” certainly fits into that aesthetic.

So, the story is written. The story is published. Now it needs readers. It’s online, so it is easy to find and read. Follow the links, then follow me if you want. I’ve got one story making the rounds with more than 50 rejections and more work in the hopper. Stay tuned. Keep reading.

 

 

Two CB Adams Photographs Chosen for ‘Comestible’ Exhibition at Columbia Art League

Adding to Virginia Woolf’s observation that “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” the Columbia Art League’s (CAL) new Comestible exhibition would include “see well.” CAL, located at 207 South Ninth Street, Missouri Theatre Center for the Arts, Columbia, MO 65201-4817, invited artists “to explore our love of food, its role as both a necessity and a luxury in a world where gluttony is far outpaced by hunger.”

Among the featured themed artworks are two digital photographs on metal by Missouri writer and fine artist, CB Adams. One, “Le Nid,” (20x20) is a richly toned, composed image of a pear-shaped apple nestled in a bird’s nest. It is part of My Personal Local, an ongoing project of photographs taken on his property and in his home. Both photographs are for sale and are stylistically similar with shallow depth of field, unusual composition, and deeply saturated colors.

“’Le Nid,’ means nest in French. It was pure happenstance how this image came to me. I had was completing some yard work late in the day, that time they call The Golden Hour, when I pulled an abandoned nest from some shrubs. I had also been cleaning up fallen apples from my mini-orchard of heirloom apple trees when I discovered an odd looking, pear-shaped Lady Apple. The two seemed to beg to be combined,” Adams says.

The other photograph, also part of My Personal Local, is titled “of Tree of Sky of Mind.” The photograph (24x36) captures bare tree branches reflected on the surface of a tumbler of dark tea.

“When you visit my home, you know you are visiting a photographer because I always keep a variety of cameras, both digital and analog, lying around. I never when a ‘photo opp’ will present itself. This photo is a case in point. I was in my kitchen, getting ready to enjoy some Golden Monkey tea, when I saw the sky and trees reflected on the surface. The light was changing fast and my Nikon was struggling with the auto focus. I took several shots, but only this one turned out,” according to Adams.

Adams chose to have these photographs printed on metal because he liked the clean lines offered by this process. “I really tried to match the print with the presentation by using the metal process,” he says. “I didn’t want even a traditional frame to compete with the images. I don’t sign the front of most of my photographs for the same reason. For me, the image is much more important than the person who took it.”

The Comestible exhibition begins on March 14th and runs through May 5 with an opening reception on March 17th from 6-8 p.m. Related to the Comestible exhibit is Let Them Eat Art!, a fundraising event for CAL, on Thursday, April 13 from 6-8 at the CAL Gallery. The event features Columbia-area chefs who create tapas-style food inspired by individual works of art in the Comestible show. Tickets cost $35 per person and are limited to 100. For more information, visit the CAL website or call the gallery at 573-443-8838

CB Adams is an award-winning short story writer and fine art photographer. Adams has had photographs in numerous exhibitions nationwide, including RAW: St. Louis Presents Grandeur, Food Glorious Food II and Under at the Influence at Art Saint Louis, Sacramento Fine Art Center's VISION 201, Soulard Art Market's Urban Architecture II, The Foundry Art Centre's Unrefined Light: Image-Making With Plastic Cameras (St. Charles, MO), SAANS Gallery's The Holga Show 2008 (Salt Lake City), and Somerville Toy Camera Festival (Boston).

Adams’s fiction has appeared in Zoetrope All-Story Extra, River Styx (twice), Missouri Writers’ Biennial (two stories), The Distillery Artistic Spirits of the South, Blue Penny Quarterly, and elsewhere. He received first place in Missouri Arts Council’s Writers’ Biennial Competition and the MISSOURI WRITING! Competition The independent weekly newspaper St. Louis Riverfront Times named him “St. Louis’ Most Under-Appreciated Writer.”

Adams can be contacted through his website: www.qwerkyphotography.com.

 

 

I've Become the Chris Crocker of Short Story Writers

Dear Lit Mag Editors,

You have turned me into the Chris Crocker of the literary writing world, forced to wear a blonde wig, cower under my bedsheets with a camcorder, and plead that you “Leave My Story Alone!” as black rivers of mascara slalom down my face with a velocity that would make Tammy Faye Baker envious. In just one year you have reduced me from a hope-filled, cautiously confident writer of short stories with a modest, but not unimpressive of prior publications, into this mewling jumble of unworthiness, low self-esteem, and vituperative rantconteur.

I was lucky that when I began having my work published back in the 90s, the publications came easily. Editors sought me out, asked for new work to consider, and put me into print. Then came That Story. I was high on it, the world, alas, was not. I received plenty of personal rejections from editors, but no consensus as to what needed fixing. Call me immature. Call me a King Baby. Call me arrogant. Or just call me stupid. Because I let that story and its non-publication become not just my writer’s block, but rather a Writer’s Bloc, a Siberian proportions.

So I quit the writing biz until last year, when I picked up That Story, reimagined it, recast it, and rewrote the shit out of it. I started work on other stuff, too, but the first baton in my return to the lit mag marathon was to be That Story. To right a wrong, of sorts. Now, as it nears the 50 rejections mark, that old frustration knob keeps turning toward 11 in volume, especially after last night when I received a rejection from a journal. It was personalized and indicated a good level of knowledge of That Story. That was encouraging. Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t last because the note started out praising it as a “well-constructed” story, then proceeded to list the reasons the readers couldn’t justify “moving the story forward”: -- all of which pertained to its structure. Huh?

Back in my MFA days, I would have shrugged off a critique of my work like that. That’s much harder to do after almost 50 rejections and is compounded by feelings of being a writer who is out of step with current trends in publishing. And it’s hard right now because I received a second rejection for That Story last night, a standard rejection that stated it wasn’t a “great fit.” Whatever that means. At least “great fit” doesn’t contradict itself.

Everything these days seems to be on a spectrum, from autism to sexuality. So why shouldn’t rejection be on a spectrum as well? On one end of that spectrum, it is astounding how some journal’s readers/editors treat submissions, and by extension writers, so cavalierly, especially given than most of them are also writing and submitting themselves. If I read the excuse one more time about the onslaught of current submissions, the billions-and-billions of stories that lit mags receive, I’m going to puke. I’m sure it’s true, but all of us are caught up in this schizophrenic, vicious cycle: more and more writers submitting more and more stories to more and more magazines with more and more ease (I love the online services that make sending out work an exponentially easier task, if you can afford it) while being assessed by an ever-tightening circle of readers. And I’m not including the “more and more” pressure to publish that writers who rely on the academic world for their livelihood tell me they feel. It’s an exhausting cluster fuck for all of us involved.

I don’t have a solution, but I fear that it hurts writers. It hurts editors. And it hurts readers and supporters. That cannot detract from the fact that this system sucks. And yet, good work does find its way into print and cuts through the clutter and finds readers. I see and understand that contraction, and am flummoxed by it.

But I digress. My intent is to give voice to my frustration about my story. When I was younger, I was perplexed by artists who spoke with despair about not being understood. Now I not only get that notion, I feel it, gut level. And what a lonely place that is: to pour oneself into work that is not appreciated, or not appreciated enough. One of my writing mentors believes that if readers don’t get a story, then the writer needs to work harder. That can be true. But I would counter that for at least some of us, the reader needs to work a little harder, as well.

As a photographer, we learn from Robert Capra that “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.” As a writer, the reverse is true, especially when the writing itself is complete. The short story form is elusive and vague, yet specific, too.

My commitment to finding That Story a home will continue. I have seen advice to others that sometimes one has to abandon a piece, especially when the responses from editors do not point to some sort of consensus. I am not of that mind. I believe in That Story. I will continue to work on it and I will not abandon it. And I won’t let it prevent me from completing new work. I’ve learned that much from this process.

It’s just this (and I understand my experience is only The Writer’s Plight): I have gestated a good piece of work. I need a midwife to deliver it into print. Unfortunately, almost 50 midwives have told me my baby is ugly, or perhaps, just not un-ugly enough. But I will continue to hawk my baby. There’s only about 950 other journals to go.

CB Adams 'Expresses Self' at Soulard Art Market Exhibition

CB Adams, a St. Louis area photographer and writer, will be featured in the "Express Yourself" all-media art exhibit at the Soulard Art Market & Contemporary Gallery, 2028 S. 12th St., Saint Louis, MO, 63104. The opening for this juried all-media art exhibit featuring self portraiture by local artists is  Friday March 13th from 7-10pm. There will be refreshments and live entertainment by Kevin Renick and Ted Moniak. Admission is free.

Adams's self portrait, titled "No Mas" is a photograph created using a lensless pinhole camera using black and white film. Th exposure for the image required almost three minutes.

No Mas, pinhole self-portrait by CB Adams

No Mas, pinhole self-portrait by CB Adams

About "Express Yourself": Since the beginning of artistic expression, nearly every artist in every medium has modeled for themselves in their own works of art – revealing the vulnerability of their inner selves, or perhaps deceiving others by presenting themselves as they wish to be seen. Whatever the intent, self-portraits are the ultimate form of self expression. 

About CB Adams: Adams is a storyteller whose mediums are the written word and camera-rendered light. He is a writer and fine art photographer based in St. Charles, MO. His works of both persuasions have been published and exhibited nationally. Adams’s monochrome and color photography is mostly captured non-digitally using toy/plastic, pinhole, and/or vintage cameras and printed traditionally using silver, paper, and stinky chemicals.

Adams's other recent exhibitions include Art Saint Louis’s Under the Influence and Food Glorious Food shows, Nave Gallery’s  Somerville Toy Camera Festival in Boston, ArtsEye Gallery’s 6th Annual Curious Camera Event in Tucson, Columbia (Mo.) Art League’s Interpretations II, Soulard Art Market’s Urban Architecture II, SAANS Gallery’s The Holga Show in Salt Lake City, Sacramento Fine Arts Center’s Annual Photography Show, and Beyond the Lens VIII at Framations Gallery and The Foundry Art Centre's Unrefined Light: Image-Making With Plastic Cameras – both in St. Charles, Mo.

Adams holds a Master of Fine Arts Degree from University of Missouri – St. Louis. He has published short fiction in several literary journals.

About Soulard Art Market: The Soulard Art Market & Contemporary Gallery (S.A.M.) features monthly exhibitions in our main gallery that showcase a rotating selection of the area’s most talented artists. Exhibitions and events are free and open to the public, (unless otherwise noted) and most artwork is offered for sale. S.A.M. is operated by a core group of resident artists who each maintain a personal display space as well as coordinating the monthly main gallery exhibitions. S.A.M. is home to some of the area’s most respected artists working in a variety of media including: drawing, painting, digital and traditional photography, mixed media, sculpture and jewelry. Located in the heart of Soulard on the corner of 12th and Russell, Soulard Art Market is a fantastic arts destination.

 

2028 S. 12th Street

St. Louis, MO 63104

(314) 258-4299

www.soulardartmarket.org

 

Two Photographic Works by CB Adams in Interpretations II Exhibition

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Qwerky Photography, the illegitimate brainchild of photographer and writer CB Adams, announces that the artist has two photographic works on display now at the Columbia Art League (CAL), 207 South Ninth Street, Missouri Theatre Center for the ArtsColumbia, MO 65201-4817. The show will be up until October 31st. Adams' photographs are "ofBonesofDreamsofMemories," taken with a vintage Russian Kiev 80 120 film camera, and "Trodden," taken with a vintage 120 format Diana camera on Chinese Shanghai 120 film that was processed in Caffenol, a homemade film developer made from cheap instant coffee, vitamin C, and washing soda. A slightly different version of "Trodden" was included in the recent Somerville Toy Camera Festival in the Boston area. That photograph was titled "Bhru #17."

Trodden

According to CAL Executive Director Diana Moxon, "Interpretations II: A marriage of 40 visual artists and 40 literary artists, each submitting one work of her/his own choice with any theme. Then, an art swap: Each visual artist receives a work from one of the writers; each literary artist receives an artwork. The task for each artist and writer: to create a second work of art or piece of writing, which is his or her interpretation of the other artist’s work. The result: A show of 80 artworks and 80 pieces of writing. The aim of the show: A reminder that we all see the world differently; our interpretations of the world around us are uniquely ours. How will each artist interpret the other artist’s work? How will the viewer interpret the written words and artworks in the show?"

CB Adams Work in Food, Glorious Food Exhibition at Art Saint Louis

Tea Tree by CB Adams

As a photographic artist, I seek out only those exhibitions that really interest me and those that I hope are open to my style of work. One of the highlights for me is the upcoming Food, Glorious Food at Art Saint Louis. Friends and family became tired of me constantly saying, “I really hope I get into Food Glorious Food.” To make matters worse, I did not receive notification that one of my two entries, “Tea Tree” had been accepted for almost a week because the email was blocked by my spam filter. Still, I’m in and I’m thrilled.

Art Saint Louis brings art and food together for a block party celebrating the exhibition Food, Glorious Food in the gallery/café at 1223 Pine Street in downtown St. Louis. The opening is more than just an opening – it’s an event. Please join me on Saturday, July 26 for all the best in local food and art.

 Jurors for Food, Glorious Food are Allyson Mace, Publisher and Founder, Sauce Magazine, and avid photographer and art supporter; and Sara Choler Hale, artist and founder of Fair Shares CCSA.  Food, Glorious Food returns to a popular theme introduced two years ago in Art Saint Louis' 2012 exhibition series. The art takes inspiration from all aspects of food, from farm to fine dining. The exhibition features 76 creative treats by 51 local artists and includes paintings, woven pieces, ceramics, assemblages, fiber sculpture, drawings, printmaking, photography, and much more. All pieces are available for purchase, and none is priced more than $400. “Tea Tree” is priced at $120!

The main course, of course, is the art exhibition – but there’s much more on the menu! Food trucks will offer delectables outside the gallery and the baristas of Mississippi Mud Coffee Roasters Café will create hot and cold drinks made to order inside. The adjacent Kauffman Park will house live painters, chalk artists, live music and more – plus plenty of room for picnickers.

Food trucks rolling in for the opening event on July 26 include Bombay Food Junkies, The Sweet Divine and Zia’s. There will also be live artmaking by artists Michael Anderson, Lon Brauer, Jennifer Hayes and Erin McGrath Rieke, and chalk art created by Chelsea Soronen and Rusty Conklin of Chalk Riot. Guests are welcome to contribute their own chalk art designs with chalk provided by event sponsor Artmart.

The exhibition is on display at Art Saint Louis July 26 through September 11, 2014. Gallery is free & open to the public Monday 7 a.m.-4 p.m., Tuesday 7 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Closed Sundays & holidays, including Labor Day holiday & weekend, August 30 & September 1.

Four CB Adams Photographs in Beyond the Lens

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Photographer Mark Douglas juried the Beyond the Lens VIII competition sponsored by Framations Custom Framing & Art Gallery, 218 North Main Street, St Charles, MO, 63301. Douglas chose four of my photographs for the show: “Tassels & Fronds,” “Ground Control,” “Spina Mechanica” and “Qanik.” The show runs from January 31 to March 6. The opening reception is Friday, January 31 from 6-8 p.m.

When I dropped off my entries, I was more than a little worried because my works are so different from those already submitted. I saw lots of color, lots of digital, lots of nature, wildlife and landscapes, and lots of other technically accomplished photographs.

AdamsC2.jpg

As I fretted about and questioned the appropriateness of my entries, I remembered this quote from Henri Cartier-Bresson (my go-to guy): “Photography has not changed since its origin except in its technical aspects, which for me are not important.”

I realized that I am comfortable with my own photographic aesthetic. I enjoy and actively pursue the technical aspects of film and vintage and toy cameras. I have good digital equipment, and one of my entries, “Qanik,” is a digital image – the first that I have ever tried to exhibit. But my passion is analog photography. My approach is not for everyone, but I hope there’s an audience for it.

One indication that there is occurred last February when photographer Michael Eastman chose “Spina Mechanica” for inclusion in Soulard Art Market’s Urban Architecture II exhibition. My photograph was also awarded 2nd Runner Up from approximately 100 other entires.

A Little About Mark Douglas

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A native Saint Louisan, Mark Douglas attended Northeast Missouri State University (now Truman State), earning a BA in Fine Arts Studio, with an emphasis in printmaking. In 1992, he earned the Master of Fine Arts from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, again with a printmaking emphasis, and a secondary emphasis in photography. Since then he has taught photography and graphic design at SIUE, and is now Department Chair and Head of Photogra­phy and Graphic Design at Fontbonne University. It was in graduate school that Mark became intensely interested in photography, both black and white and then pho­to-based printmaking. This evolved into alternative photographic processes, using them as a base for mixed-me­dia work. Since 1988, he has exhibited in some 50 group shows, and has had approximstely a dozen solo exhibits. Mark is currently represented by the Duane Reed Gallery in Saint Louis.

In addition to quote above from Bresson, I remembered something another photographer I greatly admire said. His name is David Carol. He posted this on his Facebook page, and I had to dig to find it again because I did not write it down at the time. It’s a good observation about pursuing your own photographic interests and offering the results up to the world.

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“I think that if you present an honest representation of yourself in your photographs then you win. I think if you can take pictures that satisfy yourself over and over again then you win. I think if other people get to know about you through your photographs then you win. I think if the thought of galleries, contests and other people never enter your mind while you're taking pictures you win. I think the greatest thing about making "stuff" be it music, photography, sculpture, literature and so on is that you can do it for yourself and it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. I think if other people like your work on your terms you win, they win...its a win-win,” Carol wrote.

You can contact me at cbadams@qwerkyphotography.com. You can view examples of my photography and blogs at my website: www.qwerkyphotography.com. You can also stay in touch with me by Liking my Facebook page or Following my on Twitter.

CB Adams: The Pinholista Interview

Today, the pinholista website published four of my recent pinhole camera images and a brief interview about me and my work. Alex, who runs the site, wrote this about his endeavor:

Pinholista.com is my personal blog and is here to celebrate pinhole photography in all its forms. My focus is on analogue pinhole photography but not to the exclusion of digital images. In the future I am hoping that you will find news, reviews, city guides and, of course, some of the best pinhole photography on the web (as well as my own tawdry attempts). In time I also hope this will develop into a community for pinhole photographers however experienced, and will certainly offer help, hints and tips to those just taking up this form of photography!

To make this site better I need your help. I’d love to feature your pinhole photography and link to your pinhole related website. I also want to build up a series of city guides for the travelling Pinholista so that wherever you go you can find a spot to shoot, eat, drink and chill. Finally, I know there are lots of talented camera makers out there, and again I’d love to feature you. So, if you do want to contribute then please do contact me.

Please check out the interview here.

 

Sacramento Fine Art Center's VISION 2013 Artists

Photographer Brandy Worsford, the judge for the VISION 2013 14th Annual Juried Show at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center chose two photographs by CB Adams for inclusion in the exhibit. One photograph titled "Tassels & Fronds" exemplifies Adams's black and white toy camera work. The other, "Qanik," is the first time he will have a digital image in a show.

The exhibit, at 5330-B Gibbons Drive, Carmichael, CA, 95608 (916-971-3713) opens October 29 and runs through November 23. The Awards Reception will be held on November 9 from 5:30-8:30 pm.

 

It's Da Photo-bomb!

Thanks to everyone who came by yesterday to participate in my Photobomb Portrait Event at Soulard Art Market. Let's just say, film was burned! I'll be in touch when your portraits are ready for review. Keep supporting your local artists.

Camera Man.jpg

Yo Quiero Photobomb!

I think I need a bigger box...camera, that is.

I think I need a bigger box...camera, that is.

Tickets? You don't need no stinkin' ticket to attend PHOTOBOMB Portrait Event at Soulard Art Market on Saturday, April 13 from noon to six. You don't even need no stinkin' reservation, but you can just to make sure CB Adams brings enough film.

Think of this as a drive-thru portrait session. Stop by. Chat with Chas. Pick a camera loaded with some fun film. Stand still and smile (or don't, it's your portrait).

The address is 2028 S 12th St, St Louis, MO 6310. Phone:(314) 258-4299.

It's Not Easy Bein' Green

Kermie says, "Make a Rainbow Connection at PHOTBOMB, April 13 from noon to six at Soulard Art Market."

Kermie says, "Make a Rainbow Connection at PHOTBOMB, April 13 from noon to six at Soulard Art Market."

But it's easy to have your portrait taken at PHOTOBOMB, the event hosted by Soulard Art Market and featuring the photo stylings of Mr. CB Adams. This event is free and open to old and young, singles, groups, families, and other people who hang out together. The date is this coming Saturday, April 13, from noon to six.

This is your chance to have your portrait taken with an old-school film-based camera using God-honest film (the kind with sprockets!)

But wait, there's more. You'll have to wait a couple of weeks for the lab to process the film. I'll scan your image and make it available for a modest investment.

Reservations are not required, but they will help me judge how much film to bring. You can contact me at cbadams@qwerkyphotography.com. Check out my website site qwerkyphotography.com. And/or follow me on Twitter @hansduker.

Pee Wee, What's Today's Secret Word?

Pee Wee Loves PHOTOBOMB

Pee Wee Loves PHOTOBOMB

PHOTOBOMB!!!

It took a 100-year snow a few weeks ago to force the cancellation of my PHOTOBOMB Portrait Event at Soulard Art Market. It's been rescheduled and reloaded for Saturday, April 13, from noon to six.

This ain't one of those wine and cheese fa-fa-fa art to-do's. It's a one-of-a-kind opportunity to choose from one of four unusual analog (that's film to you) cameras and have your portrait taken free by award-winning photo craftsman CB Adams.

Film won't be around forever -- and neither will this chance. So April 13, ladies and gentlemen, while we still can, let's have a PHOTOBOMB!

Stop by. Say cheese. Stroll around the gallery. See ya there! You can pre-schedule your sitting by contacting me at cbadams@qwerkyphotography.com.

PHOTOBOMB RELOADED

The Snow Gods tried to shut down my PHOTOBOMB Portrait Event on March 24. But the biggest snow in 100 years only delayed the inevitable. Mark your calendars, sundials and sextants. PHOTOBOMB RELOADED is scheduled for April 13 at the Soulard Art Market (http://sam.soulardartmarket.org)  from noon to six. You can get there from here at 2028 S. 12th Street Saint Louis, MO 63104 (314) 258-4299. How It Works:  MEET: Artist/Photographer C.B. Adams. CHOOSE: From one of four vintage cameras. SIT: for your portrait.

Your portrait will be Qwerky Style with a funky camera and interesting film. The portrait is no obligation. After the film is processed, check out qwerkyphotography.com to see your portrait, you can get a print at a reasonable price. There's a discount if I can use the image on my website. Film supplies are limited. So come early to ensure your get the camera/film of your choice.