Joys of the latent image

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I spent 4 hours wandering Muir Woods in California Sunday and shot 4 rolls of film. They're sitting at home waiting to be processed when I have time this weekend. I'm feeling the joy of the latent image. I'm anticipating the fun I'll have processing the film, printing it on fiber based paper. It's all so therapeutic.


    How many of you feel that when they've shot some film, but can't process it immediately? Digital photographers are deprived aren't they? Instant gratification kills that joy.
     
  2. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    All jokes aside, this is true for me. Instant gratification is not all it is keyed up to be. The beauty of taking time to get results, is that during the process there is more time to think and to enjoy each step.

    To me, undeveloped film is a very valuable thing that I protect dearly, because I'm afraid of losing what is on them. It's stressful to take exposed rolls of film through customs at the airport for example.
    Even though I enjoy having a little treasure trove of exposed film waiting to be processed, I am also a bit anxious to get it done. If there are too many rolls in queue it actually feels like a burden. :smile: But that's part of the beauty too, the excitement of finally getting the film processed, to see what's on the rolls of film. When they are finally developed, the joy of validating successes or failures is a lot of fun, and to make contact sheets to make sure processing is going as it should, and so on is magic.

    To finally get to print negatives on silver paper is the best part for me. It's a feeling of completeness and a satisfaction to have come full circle with the picture. Each frame is like a little project.
     
  3. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I have found that all latent images on film are perfect, after development not so much.
     
  4. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Basically, Inkjet printing isn't therapeutic. I don't get to print enough in the darkroom. I probably print one for every 30 images I scan. I do proof-contact prints though, which confirm I have nice photos in analog form. That's satisfying even if it's not a final product. I'm not worried the photos won't come out well while the rolls or sheet holders accumulate enough for a time-efficient developing batch.

    Even shooting digital, aside from chimping, I don't get around to unloading the memory card for instant gratification. I'm a busy guy work work, family, etc.. My instant gratification comes from the three minutes it takes for my bunn coffee maker to brew a pot. I unload the digital camera once a week sort of like I develop film probably once a week.
     
  5. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I know what you mean. When I shoot digital, I worry about the post production afterwards. Downloading the images into Adobe Bridge or Aperture and sort, color correct and adjust hundreds of images. I find it pure drudgery. Some digital photographers shoot thousands of images because they can. They think they're saving money by not shooting film. But now digital photographers have to spend time chained to a computer. Ugh.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2014
  6. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    Exactly what I think, cheers ^^^^^ OP.
     
  7. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    +1

    And I've been known to develop film from a shoot before downloading from an SD card shot at the same event.
     
  8. kb3lms

    kb3lms Subscriber

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    Absolutely!

    And then there is that occasion when you've found an exposed roll that you forgot about. The guessing what might be on it and the surprise once you find out what it really is!

    Doesn't get better than that!
     
  9. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    The latent image is probably the best definition of photography as conceptual art. How about an exhibition of latent images and the observer has to guess what the picture is?
     
  10. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    ah, yes...the joy of the latent image...I hiked to the top of Maguire peak yesterday...stopping all along the way to make photographs with the beautiful zero image pinhole camera. I've a roll of 120 and four sheets of 4x5 waiting for me to process....maybe tonight? :smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 21, 2014
  11. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    So does this make analog photography more of a journey than the destination? About instant gratification killing joy, it may apply for love making too :wink:
     
  12. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I haven't been to Muir Woods in over twenty years, but can often be spotted in summer months on the ocean side of Mt Tam, with my 8x10
    propped up somewhere. More often than not, I just like looking at the opalescent image on the groundglass, and will not even actually take the shot. The hunt is just as important as the kill. But I try not to wait too long to process a batch of film or else I'll just get too far behind with my various darkroom chores.
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    Analog photogaph is a such a joy!

    Jeff
     
  14. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Yes! :wink:
     
  15. Nige

    Nige Subscriber

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    I developed a couple of rolls that based on the contents I determined I had taken close to 20 years earlier. About 10 years ago I sat two films (one had been removed from the camera mid roll, the other I think was fully used) to the side and are waiting to develop them. I was planning on doing it once I'd forgot what was on them. One I can remember, but the other I can't remember, so it must be time to soup it!
     
  16. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    There's a destination?
     
  17. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I think the journey can be important, for sure, but also feel that it's individual. I very much dislike developing film, for example, but love to print. In the end, though, it's all about the print, and that, to me, is the destination. So to me both the journey and the destination are important.
     
  18. senorverde

    senorverde Member

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    Ode to the latent image!

    All jokes aside, I do feel like some sort of alchemist in the darkroom. I know the image is there, and it's up to me to coax it out. After I get it out, I can control it (push/pull, purposeful reticulation, &c.) and be its master. Huzzah! :D And, we repeat the chore again when printing!
     
  19. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    As I've stated before, I don't feel the two processes are that much different in how I approach it.

    I don't feel any differently with digital than I did with film in the "waiting/anticipation" regard, simply because the image in the camera of a digital camera although readily available to view is just the beginning. The same as a negative and contact sheet. Besides when you OTR in digital and shoot raw you don't get a great looking chimp anyways.

    Christmas morning for me when you start to get to work in the printing for analog and the manipulation in the computer for digital to realize what you were trying to achieve when you shot it.

    If you shoot and merely print digital I can see where people don't get it. The analogy of the two is not hand printing VS digital printing, it's hand printing in analog vs manipulation in the computer for digital. This is where the two use the artistic side of the brain. The actual printing in digital is quite superfluous if you have your system set up correctly.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2014
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Digital cameras sure do skip better across a pond, so indeed do have a relevant application.
     
  21. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    I've enjoyed reading this....sometimes I've found undeveloped rolls lurking at the back of the proverbial drawer from years ago and it's nice to be reminded of moments enjoyed.
     
  22. fretlessdavis

    fretlessdavis Member

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    Yup. I basically jumped ship on digital, trading it away for a 645 rig because of this. I spend all my days working on my computer, so why would I want to spend more time on the computer after hours?

    Plus, after a summer monsoon shoot on BLM land, I took the greatest care shooting digital, and haphazardly shooting away a roll of Provia in an ME Super, I spend hours fine tuning white balance, after spending hours sorting through dozens of photos, all bracketed, trying to decide what to print. My slides came back after all that, and my colors were dead-on how I wanted them...

    With B&W I usually process right away, but I'm still excited about what's on the roll. I usually spend less time per shot getting a good wet print than I do fiddling with digital images. I go through color film slowly, and I've even had rolls of 135-36 spanning months. When I finally finish them, I handle them like they are the holy grail... treat them like there's nothing in the world more valuable, drop them off at the post office, and wait on pins and needles for their return.
     
  23. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    I thought the whole idea of photography was to escape everything digital (including this office computer). Leave all the obnoxious gadgets home.
     
  24. moose10101

    moose10101 Member

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    Maybe if it had been invented in 1985.
     
  25. frank

    frank Subscriber

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    Death. No rush to get there. Enjoy the journey.

    With regards to prolonging lovemaking, isn't there a French (who would know better?) term calling orgasm: little death?