How much is just geekery and does it really matter?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Ghostman, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I have been doing my own developing for a couple of years now. I am learning more than ever through experimentation, practical application and reading. I find I go through a lot of 'the more I learn the less I know'.

    This is the internet and I think it's very often dangerous. The opinions and geekery about subject matter lead me to believe that there are more people with Asperger's than I thought.

    There are so many techniques out there that it just becomes a mine-field. Standard developing vs stand developing, this developer vs that developer, this tank vs that tank, everything vs everything to the nth degree.

    Do some of these things really make a difference. What got me going was that I started reading about stand developing, why do it, what are the pros, the cons? etc. I try new developers from time to time and I try different films. I like the science, but I like the picture and I just want to get into the darkroom with a good enough negative and print a picture. I find it's better for me to follow a standard (generally the manufacturer's and then tweak it to my situation). Use the same set of products and try and try again until I get the results I want and then try to continue to get those results.

    By results I mean to a good enough standard for me to work with in a darkroom and produce a good enough picture that pleases me and others.

    Surely what matters is what you take into the darkroom and print on paper. It's a craft, a science, yes, but can we become bogged down in microscopic details?

    Can we easily become bogged down in geekery or are there really superior results to be found in engineering things to the nth degree?
     
  2. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Do you know? I think you may be right. I have amassed a good deal of information over the passed 50+ years some of it quite useless today but a lot of it is still relevant. A lot of it is in relation to equipment that has long since died and been thrown out. However when it comes to practical photography, I know what I like photographing and have found out what works for me .In addition I do what I like doing in the darkroom and stick with it. I very rarely vary my processing (different developers/film/paper and the such)and am quite happy just to get on with it. Call me boring - yes you are probably right but hey-ho that's me. (But don't mention digital or I can change in an instant - it's not photography!)
     
  3. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    What matters is that you standardise technique and don't chp and change just for the sake of it. Over the years I've used quite a number of developers but in fact I've usualy stuck to one developer/film combination for a few years at a time.

    Ian
     
  4. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    I too have found that following the manufacturer's instructions is normally the best course for me, I do that clear through, not just for developing.
     
  5. johnielvis

    johnielvis Member

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    yeah--you gotta find what works for you--you can use what other people do as pointers to a direction to go in, but there is NO way to duplicate what someone else does to the last detail--even the water used matters when you get down to it--different emulsion runs of the same film ARE DIFFERENT--your light meter is different from someone else's....

    so find what works to give the look YOU like with your techniques and with your materials...it'll take a long time and you'll learn what works and hopefully why---and when you finally are getting the results that look like what you want, you'll be sounding just like a geek too....you have no choice...doing the work makes you learn all of this kind of stuff and then you become a geek.

    EVERYTHING makes a difference to the person doing it--either an actual difference that is measurable or a perceived difference--do the things that make a difference for you--do nothing because somebody makes their bold statement of "this is how it's supposed to be done"....

    you can save a bunch of time by looking at the internet techniques and results to see where you DONT want to go too....

    if something sounds intreguing, TRY it...see if it DOES make a difference TO YOU...if it does, then you know...if it don't, then you know that it's BS or just doesn't apply to you (different circumstances)
     
  6. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Stephen Shore said something along the lines of; when a child is learning to walk, he doesn't think about walking, but where he's going. I bought Barry Thornton's Edge of Darkness book last year, which covers development, acutance and this vs that to the nth degree. It's surprising how much of it is irrelevant now - and I'd dare say most of it didn't matter much in the first place. With all due respect to the man, I'm sure he provided hours of contentment for a lot of darkroom hobbyists, but I'd never want to see their pictures. The only craft books I take seriously are by accomplished photographers - these are the only people who can teach us what technique really means. Second time I've mentioned it this week, but get John Blakemore's Black and White Workshop. You come away from reading that book with a real earthy sense of photographic craft.
     
  7. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    Read "Way Beyond Monochrome" first. Then you can say for sure. :smile:
     
  8. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    As everyone else said, it's what works for you. The nice thing about APUG is the sharing, you'll get to see there are other options if you want to experiment. I'm sure you can make the wheel rounder, but to what extent is up to you.

    .
     
  9. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    As far as photography is concerned I would suggest that you ignore the internet and get a good book on photography and read it thoroughly. The net is filled with a lot of isolated information much of it wrong. It contains very little of general purpose use. I would suggest the Ansel Adams series particularly The Negative and The Print.

    As far as stand development is concerned this method is not a general purpose development method. To understand it read a book on The Zone System.
     
  10. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Many of the geeky things do have some merit. That said, it is a mine field, especially for the novice. Many unfortunate people never develop the skills to make exceptional results because they are all over the place chasing the magic bullet. Magic bullets are only useful if you have a magic gun to put them in. A magic gun is acquired by mastering a basic process in an uncomplicated way, backwards forwards and sideways. Only after that is accomplished does one have the chance of improvement through the nuances subtly offered by the exotic.
     
  11. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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  12. Bill Burk

    Bill Burk Subscriber

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    I divide my attention between three alter-egos... The photographer, the lab-rat and the printer.

    The lab-rat is welcome to geek out to eternity...

    The printer keeps demanding something worthwhile to print...

    And somewhere along the lines the photographer does his best to deliver.
     
  13. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Some photographers like to test lenses, cameras, film and chemistry and yet create soulless photographs and that's fine. For me, Geekery and technique should serve the art.

    I'm sure it's like wine making or cooking. Science should serve the art.
     
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  15. EASmithV

    EASmithV Member

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    I use stand development as my standard developing technique, I love it. Rodinal 1:100 and Tri-X / Foma 400
     
  16. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    The differences between different films and developers can be very slight. Do yourself a favour and choose one film and one developer and use nothing else for a year. That's the easiest and quickest way of gaining consistency and producing good negatives for the darkroom. Leave the chopping and changing and experimentation until you've mastered the basics.
     
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    You're absolutely correct. I'd even go so far as to say use one lens, too.

    And by the bye, "geekery" is not the right word. "Nerdery" would be more correct; a geek was a sideshow freak who bit the heads off snakes and chickens.
     
  18. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Don't be such a geek. :laugh:
     
  19. lxdude

    lxdude Member

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    Hey now, don't bite his head off!
     
  20. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Godless heathens, the whole boiling of you.:whistling: No respect for language.... buncha geeks.
     
  21. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Don't forget there are also art geeks, who have no respect for those incy wincy details - or art in most cases. They call them Lomogra... oh, to hell with it.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/in...tography-lomography-travel-photos-in-pictures

    I thought the faux panorama with the horse looked interesting, but on closer inspection, meh. That is to say, I didn't like the details. Shoot me - but preferably with a decent camera.
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    From the comments section of the Guardian artical: "it's not "Lomography" it's PHOTOGRAPHY. Stop enabling these people!

    "Lomo" and "Lomography" are the brand names for a bunch of scammers who basically sell existing cameras (or silly, painted versions of existing cameras) in fancy packages for twice the price. Cheap cameras with plastic lenses, Russian knockoffs of fancier cameras, 35mm film and 120 film - all have existed for decades, long before the Lomo folks figured out that they could bilk idiots by putting a $40 Holga in a colourful box with one roll of bad film and charge $80 for it. Get your Holga on eBay from China where they are made and save a bundle.

    You can pick up great, simple, cheap cameras (Agfas, Holgas, Kodaks, Kievs, FEDs, etc) at jumble sales, second-hand shops, or on the internet (eBay etc) for nothing. Do that, take pictures, and call it what it is - analogue photography."
     
  23. batwister

    batwister Member

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    Agree with that comment, but I fear people really get in a tiff over their perception of the characters making these images (hipsters), not so much the 'product' or results. I'll always be convinced that people can produce strong images with such processes and equipment. When it poses as art though, you can't help seeing the person behind the picture. This hipster witch hunt might transform into a more general analog photographer witch hunt someday. We're just a more developed version of Lomographers all said and done.
     
  24. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    Nerds are the inhabitants of Nerdistan. :smile:
     
  25. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    +1
     
  26. Bruce Robbins

    Bruce Robbins Member

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    It's not analogue photography - it's photography. Photography was the name used when we were all using film. When digital came along, it was digital that required the differentiation, not film-based photography. Therefore "photography" is film and "digital photography" is pixels (if I had my way it would be "digital imaging"). "Analogue photography" is a complete misnomer probably put about by digital imagers. Let's face it, if they knew any better they'd be using film. :D