Feedback of our Hologram Classes
Feedback from people who have taken our holography classes.
Emily Pelstring, Assistant Professor of Film and Media, Queens University, Canada
Thank you so much for the workshop last week–it was the best combination of an art and science class. I am fascinated by holography and excited to have a new medium to explore. After seeing your setup and going through the process, it seems thrillingly possible to get started. I’ll keep you updated as I pull together the things I need to do this at home…
Becky Kale, Owner of a real estate research firm, Chicago, IL
My husband and I took a trip to Manhattan to see the sights and squeeze in a few holography classes with Jason. He was very accomodating and we were able to work out our schedule. We took the introductory class, as well as a class on setting up a holography workspace. We learned a lot of stuff in an easy to understand manner. Jason is a great teacher and an interesting person and we really enjoyed learning from him. He also emphasizes that you don’t have to get really fancy and complicated to start making holograms. We are looking forward to making our first holograms at home and hope to take a few more classes down the road!
Stephen Siegel, Master of the Audio Visual, Monroe Township, NJ
Almost 30 years ago I was visiting a friend named Laura. She showed me a hologram she had created that was hung on the wall. She had created it herself and was very proud of the depth it displayed. I examined the piece and thought to myself: “Why would anyone hollow out a space in their wall to hang this thing?” I discretely lifted the hologram and discovered a flat wall! Now remember, this was before holograms were used on everything from record album covers (remember records?) to credit cards. I was flabbergasted.
Laura and I spoke about the hologram and she offered to take me to meet the holographers themselves. Thus, I met Jason (aka Dr. Laser).
I signed up for his class, and found, as have many of his students, that he made the science of holography palatable (if not entirely comprehensible to us non-science types). And, he was able to make it possible for even the most science-challenged of us to produce successful holograms (mine of a pewter dragon). But more than the fun of learning, and the pride of producing a work of art, was the fact that I, like many of the other students, was able to form a lasting friendship with Jason that continues to this day.
I would certainly recommend his class to anyone.
Kevin O’Sullivan, Animator – film maker, NY
I’m a 3D animator/film maker and I’m interested in all aspects of visual media. I’ve always been interested in holography but I never really understood how it worked. When I found Jason’s site I was surprised to find a web animation of a 3D computer animation hologram. I had to find out how this process worked. I took Jason’s holography class and he explained to me the theoretical physics behind the photon dynamics of holography and he showed me the whole process from the mixing of the developer to the actual making of the hologram using a laser. Jason then explained to me the process behind the 3D portrait of Andy Warhol. He filmed Andy Warhol in a chair and sequenced film with a holographic device that embeds all the frames of the regular film on the holographic film(you have to see it to understand what I’m saying). Jason taught me that holography can be used as a fairly inexpensive artistic medium. Holography is a science and an art and it is reserved for those of us who wish to explore the bounds of contemporary media. Jason’s class gave me new insight as to how I can use my 3D / photography skills in a new medium that I never even knew existed, 3D and holography.
Kristine Witzel, New Media Artist, Santa Barbara, CA
The hologram workshop was fun and fabulous! Dr. Laser’s down-to-earth explanation of the science behind the technology helped me to better understand how a hologram is made. The entire process–from setting up the film, to shooting the picture, and then developing the photo, or hologram, was fascinating.
I would recommend this class to anyone who is curious about holography and does not have the time to read through pages and pages of engineering books.
Angie Haprian, Ohio
About 10 years ago, I met a guy named Jim who was really interested in lasers and holograms. I didn’t really know much about holograms except that they were on stickers and cereal boxes. He explained that there was so much more to it than most people knew.
Some years later, I took Jim, who is now my husband, to see a holography and light exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art in Ohio called “Visions into the 21st Century.” After seeing that show, I was hooked on the idea of holography as an art form. I began looking up everything I could on the Internet, and I happened upon “Dr. Laser’s” website. I applied for a travel grant from the University of Akron, where I was majoring in photography. I was awarded enough money for both me and Jim to go to the Holographic Studios in New York City and take an introductory class.
Jim and I had a blast with Jason! He was very entertaining and made it so easy to understand the concepts behind making holograms. We got to tour the gallery and studio, and make a hologram to take home with us. He spent more time with us than the three hours we paid for, and the time flew by. It was worth every penny we spent. My husband has already accumulated a couple of small lasers over the years, so now we’re saving up our money to buy film and equipment to make holograms at home.
If you are thinking about learning how to make holograms, or are just curious about the process — heck, even if you just want to meet a really cool guy — then you should definitely get in touch with Dr. Laser.
Janet Sassi, NYC – writer / mom
I am an escape artist by nature. Perhaps that is why I am a writer. My interest in holography grew out of a fascination for alternative worlds, fictive recreations of people, places and things. I am fascinated by any process that creates a three-dimensional portrait of somebody who is, in essence, not there.
There are not many people who cultivate the magic of holography above all else, but Jason is definitely one of them. Stepping into his small studio/gallery on East 26th Street is like entering a time portal, where moments past have been captured, and can be reenacted over and over again. Holography plays with time. So we can see Andy Warhol turning a page in his newspaper or Phyllis Diller staring at us.
I first met Jason in 1999, when I was developing a short story character that was a holographer by trade. I needed to do research. Our initial conversation about holography overwhelmed me — as I’d been bamboozled for years by “Hollywood Holography”, the magic of the imagery, I’d never considered the science behind it. Jason sat there spewing out terms “diffractive light”, “interference”, “object beam”, “ripple effect”, “corkscrew shapes”.
“Are you with me?” he asked.
Sensing I’d lost my way in all the theory (which I had), he then took me downstairs to his lab to shoot a hologram of a piece of coral. The lights went out, the laser came on and the red particle light streamed across the room, illuminating the coral like a beam of fairy dust. Laser light hypnotizes me every time. Laser light is alive. It crawls with energy and seeks something solid to wrap itself around, to ensconce, forever immortalizing a moment. It is a beautiful thing, in part because its beauty is trumped by function.
A few months later, I brought my daughter back to Jason’s studio to do a science project. We took Jason’s three-hour workshop, recreating a statue of Michelangelo’s DAVID (an experience which has become a premier scene in my book). Jason spends the first 90 minutes teaching the science aspect of making a hologram. My daughter, an 8th grader, fared much better than me in absorbing the science behind the process. For the next 90 minutes, she and Jason worked side-by-side in the darkroom, exposing the film, then mixing chemicals, and dipping, washing and drying the final image which even after all the work — still retained an other-worldly quality. She gave the statue hologram to her dad for Father’s Day (hey Jason, a great idea for others, don’t you think????).
Nowadays, we visit “Dr. Laser” a few times a year, just to catch up on things, talk over the state of the world, or to buy holograms for gifts. Over the years I’ve participated in the creation of various holograms with Jason (most recently Santa Claus), absorbed the science behind holography and met his family. Jason’s destiny seems to be to take the most mundane moments of life and fashion each moment into a kind of eternal flame. As that has always been my goal, too, I feel I have a lot to learn from him — even today.
Jennifer Young, NYC – attorney
I visited Dr. Laser’s Holography studio shortly after I moved to New York a few months ago. I was interested in learning more about Holography because as a child, I visited the now-defunct Museum of Holography in New York City. Dr. Laser’s holography studio is the only holography studio in New York.
After viewing some of Dr. Laser’s work, I decided to sign up for a lesson. Dr. Laser met with me on a Monday afternoon and provided me with private instruction on how to make holograms. Although I have no scientific background, Dr. laser was able to provide easy to understand explanations of the science behind holography.
After explaning the science and process of making a hologram, Jason assisted me in making my own hologram. I chose to use the image of a Conch shell, because of it’s textured surface. The result was great, and I now have the hologram on display in my apartment.
Overall, the lesson was a great experience. Dr. Laser was a very knowledgeable and patient teacher, and I now have a unique peice of art from my experience.
Maureen Babb, Florham Park, NJ
My friend Jay asked me one day if I’d like to go with him into NYC to visit this guy Jason who owns a hologram studio. Jay had met Jason years ago when he worked in the city and I had heard Jason’s name mentioned quite a few times. Jay has holograms all over his house hanging on walls, from the ceiling by nylon thread, propped on bookcases, and laying on tables. I had never given much thought to the hologram as an art medium, but the more I studied the pictures, the more curious I became about the process.
One fall Friday afternoon, Jay and I trekked into the City to visit the Holographic Studios. My first thought from the outside was, hmm, not much to see here. When I stepped inside I was taken aback by the dark interior and all the plastic covers bending out from the walls. And what the heck is that huge, round, black thingy in the center of the floor? From the back room emerged a tall, slender man with a big smile who Jay introduced as Jason, a/k/a Dr. Laser. While the guys talked for a while, I took a self-guided tour of the gallery. Wow, I thought, this stuff is really cool! Once the introductions and niceties were over, Jason turned on some lights and the party started. What amazing work he has displayed, ethereal visions that move about effortlessly behind shades of Plexiglas. My favorite was Oswald getting shot because it just looked so damn real!
After a thorough once over, the lesson began. Jason (now officially in his Dr. Laser role) sat us down in his office and took out a pen and paper. Oh boy, I thought, he just drew an atom this is going to be a long afternoon. Mixed between scrawled scientific notations and his own sometimes frenzied body language, Dr. Laser imparted on us the meaning and purpose of light, all the while regaling us with stories of the myriad people he has met throughout his career and lifetime. He’s got some very interesting autographs scribbled right on the wall.
The trusting pupils we had become, we followed Dr. Laser into the bowels of his laboratory, with its barely passable hallways, eerie shadows, and odd smells. Here, it was obvious Dr. Laser was at his best, marking and aligning, cutting and conforming, tweaking and taping, until everything was just right. The specimen for our lesson was a beautifully shaped piece of coral. Just when everything appeared to be all set to go, Dr. Laser summoned us back up the stairs out and out to his garden. What a tranquil oasis he has created nestled in the concrete jungle of NYC. Seeing the look of confusion on my face, however, Dr. Laser explained that all of the equipment needed time to settle… there could be no vibrations or the film could be ruined.
After about 20 minutes, we ventured back to the laboratory. The equipment and specimen were thoroughly checked and it was time to shoot. Let me just say here that I had never seen anything like the equipment he uses to create his holograms. I wasn’t sure whether I was awed by it all, or frightened! In any event, this part of the exercise was particularly fun because it was complete class participation. I was instructed to remove the obstruction and set the laser beam free while we all counted to 12… project complete. I thought, “what an awful lot of preparation for such a short performance”. The film was processed and developed and we inspected our final product. There was a bit of disappointment over a burn in the film, but Dr. Laser explained that “things happen”, and maybe 10 seconds would have been better.
In any event, although my hologram is not perfect, it is a perfect reminder of a really fun afternoon made up of many, many parts… from the science and math class, to Dr. Laser’s comedic wit; from the adventure of exploring the depths of the studio, to Dr. Laser’s entertaining storytelling; from the works of art throughout, to the history (or future) the works represent. I will never look at a hologram the same way again. Where I used to just look at it and think, “that’s cool”, now I also know how to create one and where to go to do it.
Kudos, Dr. Laser. You have a wonderful gift.
Thanks for sharing it with me.