Treasure From The Trash

Mission Statement

A few years ago, photographer Steve Gatlin came upon a box of old cameras sitting next to a dumpster. The cameras were being thrown away in order to make room for new digital cameras to be used by the local high school. Upon examination of the box, Steve found a Yashica-Mat, Twin Lens Reflex (TLR) camera (circa late 1950’s) among the other broken cameras. The camera appeared to be in working order, so he kept it as a collectable and it has been on display in his office ever since.

Now Steve is ready to put the camera to the test. He plans to shoot a wide variety of people, places and styles with this “trash” he rescued from the landfill. He will also document the experience through interviews and scenic footage along the way, creating a video archive of the entire experience.

Steve is actively seeking grants and sponsors for this unique project. Contact him for more information here:

Laurel, Mississippi:

I traveled to Laurel, Mississippi, in the Spring of 2010 to photograph the wedding of one of my cousins. The morning of the wedding I took a stroll around town before things got started.

Dance Class in Denver: January, 2009

Shot on TMAX 3200 ISO, pushed to 6400. Ascential Dance

Fort Bragg, CA

Ukiah, CA

Around the Office:

These are a few shots I fired off on a roll one morning around the outside of my office.

Reyna & the Sunflowers


Carmel, California

2009 Paso Robles Film Festival – 11/21/2009

This year my documentary film “The Sandals – Summers, Songs and Sidebars” was selected to play in the Paso Robles Film Festival.  So I took a little drive down the California coast to be there for the screening and Q&A and support the festival with my presence.

One of the highlights was a special evening of tributes to 60’s rock and roll in one of the local vineyards. Gary Busey was there rocking some Buddy Holly tunes, so I snapped a few shots…

A quick trip to Finland – 11/14/2008

Recently I had the pleasure of taking a quick trip to Finland. Yeah I know, “A quick trip,” to “Finland!” It’s not exactly like saying I took a quick trip to the store, grandma’s house, or even to another state in the same country…. but I can explain.

I was contacted by a film festival in the small town of Salo Finland about showing my short documentary “Arch’s Iguanas” ( in their festival. The tie-in was that the Finnish band “Rebound” ( had a song on the soundtrack, and the band is based in the same town as the festival, etc……

So I contacted the band and asked them if they were interested in covering my expenses to come there for the festival, and in exchange I’d shoot a music video for them while I was there. It was a “win win” plan all around, so off to Finland I went.

I was only in the country for a total of 3 1/2 days, so we had to work quick. The video shoot went very well, the movie was well received and I made some great new friends. The ONLY drawback to the whole trip was that it was WAY too short. Not only was this my first trip to Finland, but also anywhere in Europe or Scandinavia, so I was sad to leave so quickly. But, I’ll always take what I can get and look forward to someday returning to see my friends and more of the country.

Of course, even with such a short time I HAD to take a roll or two with the old “TFTT” camera. Before I left I grabbed a couple rolls of Kodak E100 film and the results are posted below. The first few shots are from an old bridge in Salo we visited, the remainder are from my last afternoon when I was back in Helsinki walking around and exploring for the afternoon and into the evening.


Salo #2

Salo #1

Salo #3

Salo #4

Around Helsinki #2

Around Helsinki #2

Around Helsinki #3

Around Helsinki #4

Around Helsinki #6

Around Helsinki #6

Around Helsinki #7

Around Helsinki #8

Around Helsinki #9

One of the friends I made there was another photographer named Vika Valter (Victoria Alexandrova). She and her husband were friends of the band and after an impromptu screening of Beauty 24, Vika volunteered to do a Beauty Project shoot. We headed over to a suspension bridge they knew of and here’s the result. Thanks Vika!

Salo Bridge

Please visit Vika’s website to see her incredible images:

Rocco Deluca @ The Hotel Utah – 8/30/2008

In the month of August, fans of Rocco Deluca were treated to three consecutive Tuesdays of live acoustic sets at the Hotel Utah in San Francisco. A friend and I went to the first show on the 12th and had a great time. Having seen Rocco and his full band perform last year when they came through on tour I knew we’d be in for a treat, but this show was beyond my expectations. The venue itself is small. Like, not much bigger than your average living room. There is a balcony where 12 people or so can peer down over the railing almost on top of the act, but that’s about it. It’s a great venue to see performers up close and personal. Perfect for a show like this!

So I decided to go back for his third and final week to soak up some more blues/folk/gospel tunes, only this time I took the Yashica-Mat to try my luck with some high-speed film and see what I could get. It’s been a while since I’ve experimented with 3200 speed film, so what better place than this to go for broke and see what I could do. The lighting was low so I made the call to push the film to 6400 and risk even grainier results in exchange for resorting to using a flash. I felt that the venue and performances warranted some special.

I got there early, almost right when the doors opened so as to get the best seat possible. I was able to grab the front seat, front and center, unobstructed and perfect for shooting.

The first performer was Greg Dale from the San Francisco based “Sorrow Town Choir.” His style of “Deep Crisis Rock (Borrowed from the band website)” definitely served as a fine opener for the evening yet to come. I snapped a few shots and managed to grab this one for keeps. Learn more about Greg and his band at

Next up were the L.A. based duo the “Pawnshop Kings.” These guys controlled it from ever aspect of their performance. All of their tunes contained an energy and emotion that pulled the listener in deeper as the show went on. They cut their set short in order to allow Rocco to get to the stage sooner. The only excusable action for this was that they then joined him singing backup towards the end of his set.

I grabbed one of their CD/DVD combo packages and thoroughly enjoyed the album and short documentary that accompanies it. Bravo! Check them out here:

Here are a few shots of Scott and Joel, the “Pawnshop Kings.”

Finally Rocco took the stage for what was another brilliant performance. His acoustic blues variations of songs from his album are top notch and probably the way they “were meant to be heard,” as he puts it. If you aren’t acquainted with his music visit his site for more goodies:

Here are a few of the pictures I grabbed with my “Treasure From The Trash.”

Then the “Pawnshop Kings” joined in for some backup vocals!

Film used: Ilford Delta 3200 Pro, push processed to 6400.

Venue: The Hotel Utah Saloon:

Baby Grace @ 10 months – 8/29/2008

Grace and I spent the day together last Monday so I decided to break out the Yashica-Mat and shoot some pictures of her at the park. We found a little area with some nice trees and shade and laid out one of her blankets.

I brought her “bubble-gun” with me to see if I could get some shots of her playing amongst the hundreds of bubbles this thing puts out per minute. But the wind was a little too strong so they ultimately blew right by her and are barely detected in the shots…

Nonetheless we ended up with some fun shots and a special day thanks to my “Treasure From The Trash.”

Film: Kodak Professional/Porta/160 VC (Vivid Color)

“Beauty” meets “Treasure” – 8/28/2008

It was bound to happen quickly, and it did. Within the first few rolls of film on my new project “Treasure From The Trash,” I was going to have to introduce the camera to the “Beauty Project.” It’s only fair right? Here is this new camera that I’m trying to get to know. We’re trying to build a working relationship together, so it would be rude of me not to introduce the Yashica-Mat to the “other project” I’ve been working on for several years now.

So with that I put the call out to a few models in the Monterey area and before long I had a volunteer. We met at a beautiful location that stretched out from the shore with rocks to climb on and a lovely view of the city behind us. Although my camera settings are dialed in for what I need to do to capture “Beauty” shots, the feeling of using a different camera did take me back a ways to when I used to fumble around in the dark making sure everything was just right. It was good for me, and I hope you’ll agree from these shots great for the “Treasure” project. I’m sure I’ll be shooting more in this style, with this camera, soon. Any volunteers?

For more about the Beauty Project visit:

Film: Kodak TMax 100


The second Roll – 8/21/2008

So, after my “focus” issues from the first roll I decided to shoot a second one again in the backyard with my lovely assistant Grace. This time with distances guessed first, then checked with a measuring tape for accuracy. I was pretty much spot on with my guesses, and I intentionally used an f-stop of 5.6 to provide a shallower depth of field causing me to be more accurate. It worked. You can tell from the first shot to the second that little Grace was getting a little tired of “modeling” for me that day.

Film: Kodak TMax 100

The First Roll – 8/19/2008

Well, after having the Yashica-Mat serviced and tested for functionality it has received a clean bill of health. So it’s time to start shooting!

The first thing I decided t do was take myself back to the basics. After-all, I’ll going to try and create this project based on a camera that I’ve never used before.

So I popped in a roll of TMax 400 and went out into the yard with Grace to do some basic shots. I recorded the f-stops, shutter speeds and distances for each shot of a 12-frame roll of medium format film.

The results were OK. I managed to capture a couple of nice pictures of my daughter that I’m sure we’ll treasure forever. As for the setting I realized that the focal length needs to be observed closer on the dial than in the viewfinder. Basically, a lot of the shots were blurry and out of focus. Lesson learned. Now it’s back to measuring distance in my brain by looking at the objects in the frame….

Film: Kodak TMax 400

2 thoughts on “Treasure From The Trash

  1. What a find. Many of the photographs I shot was taken with a Rolliflex. There is a series of two elder ladies in the Haight /Ashbuy talking to each other are some of my best series, (will send to you at some period soon. I am kind of slow in fulfilling my promises. I love the twin lens reflex. I think I will,obtain one very soon.

    Back to the shots you sent me. They are supreve. It is amazing what black and white can accomplish in terms of quality in black and white. I do have some diffiiculty in adopting digital images, But I cut my teeth in the dark room, as I observed the magic of images emerge form the develop and on hypo.

    Yes I would like a copy of the images you spoke.

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