The Hamburger Eyes tale is one that has been told time and time again. Moving from a cheaply made Kinkos Xerox zine to transforming into a epicenter of the awesome, the trippy and the just plain weird, the influence Hamburger Eyes has had over the years is undeniable. Hailing from San Francisco, this is the first official studio tour of the mystical Photo Epicenter.
The man behind the mag, Ray Potes.
All photos by Oscar Mendoza
Arriving at The Hamburger Eyes Photo Epicenter is really intimidating. There’s so much history to the magazine and the photographers involved, it’s almost daunting. I figured I’d work for maybe a week and not really make the cut, but the Hamburger Eyes collective is one of the warmest, most welcoming and supporting crews I’ve ever had the pleasure of considering myself a part of. Everyone involved is genuinely excited about any and all forms of photography and art, on top of just being a generally down group of dudes.
The space itself is amazing and inspiring. There’s always somebody working on something, be it a show, a book or the magazine itself. There’s tons of books and magazine to browse through while waiting for a print to come out of the Kreonite, if you’ve got money to burn, there’s a convenient shop area with zines, books, shirts, and other art related paraphernalia. The work table is huge, convenient for organizing lay-outs, there’s a great amount of natural light, something I have never come across in a color darkroom and makes color correcting a lot easier. You get two enlargers per room, one of which allows for printing up to 30” x 40”.
The black and white darkroom is a one person private room with your choice of a processor that spits dry rc prints in about 60 seconds or wet trays that allow for 30” x 40” rc and fiber prints.
Working for Hamburger Eyes was awesome. Half the time we just brainstormed on how to make our first million, the rest of the time was spent critiquing our own work, the work of our colleagues, setting up shows. It was an exciting and humbling experience. We met a lot of people we never thought we’d meet when the space was still running shows, got to pretend we were big shot dudes showing up at openings all over the place, known as “the guys who work for Ray.”
Ray Potes himself is quite possibly the best boss you could ever have. It’s as if everything you’ve done for him is some huge favor he’ll never have the means of paying you back for, no matter how simple the task. Incredibly forgiving and able to think on his feet and is completely open to whatever suggestions you may have. Super passionate about photography and has a distinctly unique way with words when speaking of the work he does and promotes.
(Clockwise from left to right)
1. Community bulletin board, postcards for shows, etc. There’s a ton of copies of Vice in those newspaper vending machines, but no one really knows… till now
2. Black and white chemistry for diy film and print processing. We usually ask you bring your own and write your name on the bottle you use.
3. Various art books, mags, etc for wasting time or maybe inspiration? You decide.
1. Chemistry stains your clothes, so stain the bridge instead!
2. Enlarger and mini light box for split second decision making!
3. Enlarger lenses and scopes so you can stay sharp.
1. One of my favorite Stephen Simikich photos and framed prints from previous shows. Every gallery has a lot of this.
2. Ray’s curated selection of up-for-grabs.
2. Screens for printing
1. Being in alley = FLY INFESTATION, so we zap them dead.
2. My girlfriend, the Kreonite processor. This puppy spits prints out, dry, in 2 minutes. She needs a lot of TLC.
1. Cheap storage
2. Our indoor zen garden.
Color printing paper storage, make sure to only open in complete darkness.
1. Scanners, X Box, the essentials for any well to do business.
2. Not a joke, you really do have to pay us $3 to waste our time.
1. ZINES, buy some, support independent artists!
2. Back issues, soon to be filled with the next issue.
1. Hang in there!
2. “This place is so ghetto” – Ray Potes
3. It’s certainly not getting any better.