Stimulating interest in traditional photography

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by Matt5791, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. Matt5791

    Matt5791 Subscriber

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    We all talk from time to time of the demise of various traditional products, how we can start our own coating lines, make our own paper etc etc.

    However, whilst all this is of interest, to me far and away the most important and easiest thing we can do to keep as many products available to us, and keep interest alive in the art of traditional photography - is to stimulate interest in traditional photography itself.

    For example, Ilford are only too aware of this and spend a great deal of time (and money I guess) promoting traditional photography in colleges.

    I think that we should all ask ourselves, if we are worried about the future, are we making an effort to sell the idea of traditional photography to others?

    If appropiate I always take people into my darkroom and gently (ie - without going on too much and getting boring) tell them about the process. The other day a new acquaintance of mine, a couple of weeks after chatting about photography, announced that he wanted to get hold of a film camera and try processing his own films, and that he had been looking at APUG. He recently bought a Nikon FE - all from an original zero interest in photography.

    If we all keep making an effort in this area this can only be a good thing. If anyone has the time, why not run a workshop or somthing (I know some people already do)

    Traditional photography is a fascinating process and I don't think it takes a hard sell to draw people in - they just need exposure to it (no pun intended!)
     
  2. pentaxuser

    pentaxuser Subscriber

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    Matt. I think the real problem is for the person once inspired by seeing what's involved in the darkroom need to either find one available to the public or find a college near enough which runs a B&W photography course. None of the colleges I know of, allow former students use of their darkrooms so he/she has to convert a room in a house.

    Fine if it's a home owner but difficult if it's a young person living at home with parents.

    No such problem for digis of course. All of which may help explain why our game is much more open to middle aged home owners whose kids have left home and have a spare room.

    Things are sadly stacked against turning enthusiasm into action

    pentaxuser
     
  3. Shinnya

    Shinnya Advertiser Advertiser

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    This is what I do at my studio by offering classes and workshops. Certainly we offer advanced workshops like Gum over Platinum or Wet plate. But we also offer beginners classes and introduction to B/W or color darkroom class.

    People who take these beginner classes are those who are new to photography or limited experience with taking pictures and developing them. They simply want to be able to make good photographs.

    Most of these classes do not necessarily emphasize on the process whether digital or traditional and technical side of photography so much. We always talk about more about photographs in the context of visual art. So we talk about visual languages, composition, and stuffs like that than actual process especially in beginners class.

    Especially among beginners, I do not think there is too much bias toward traditional method in fact. Though it is still hard to sell these classes.

    Warmly,
    Tsuyoshi
     
  4. Tom Kershaw

    Tom Kershaw Subscriber

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    What seems reasonable in terms of installing a darkroom may depend on the geographic location of the enthusiast. My guess would be someone living in Australia, Canada, or New Zealand wouldn't have as many issues due to increased land availability compared to a resident of the UK or The Netherlands.

    Tom.
     
  5. eddym

    eddym Member

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    The other day, I was talking to a friend who was considering a new digital camera and asking for recommendations. He was looking at cameras in the $800+ range. I pointed out that:
    1) He could buy a lot of film for $800;
    2) He already had a nice Nikon SLR that worked just fine.
    His reply? "Hmmmm... yeah...!"
     
  6. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    Well, the future seems a bit nicer and quieter when all the noise is gone. I think the key issue is to be more independent. But how relevant is it to our daily practices? Is it a job or a hobby, or something we do between the two?

    I used to think traditonal photography was something like carpentry that anyone can start learning in a relatively easy setting on weekends, and by continuing to learn and practice more, they can sort of master it in some degree and be able to teach their kids in the future. I see oil painting in the same way: It's a very essential skill to have to enrich one's life. But I guess I must've been dreaming or something when I look at the picture of where we are today.

    I think the best effort we can make is to do as much as we can. Just keep practicing and don't stop. That's all.
     
  7. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    My darkroom is on the small island of a very dense population... On top of that, there are many big and small earthquakes all the time, which potentially destroy everything. I don't know what I was thinking when I built mine at home, but I've been okay so far. I do what I do to live a life. :smile: Certainly I wouldn't enjoy seeing so many nuclear power plants in this country, which there are, but the darkrooms, why not?

    Seriously, It's a matter of committing to creating some space to do what you ultimately want to do or not.
     
  8. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    One way to support traditional photography is to support organizations and schools that are keeping the traditions alive.

    Those in the Bay Area of California have a resource in the East Bay (Hayward) called PhotoCentral. They have public darkroom facilities, classes, workshops and gallery space. They will be having a benefit photo auction in the near future...how about donating work to be sold at the auction -- or bidding on photographs? (I am not connected with PhotoCentral, but will be donating a photograph.)

    I run the teaching darkroom for Humboldt State University (California) --we have an art-based wet photo program (as opposed to a program geared towards commercial work). Funds are short -- anyone feel like donating manual 35mm cameras, medium format cameras, or 4x5 cameras for our students to use? I (the photo program actually) have 3 working 35mm cameras, five 4x5 cameras and one Fuji 6x7 that I check out to our students -- not a whole bunch for 150 students every semester.

    Besides that -- keep making photographs, show them and educated your viewers.

    Vaughn
     
  9. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    After nearly 30 years of shooting film; today, believe it or not, I finally signed up for a darkroom class!

    And therein may lie a lesson. Maybe I'm an extreme case of laggard but getting folk interested (or, in some cases, rekindling former interest) in film photography does not mean firing them up on developing and processing - at least not initially.

    I would be content if the film manufacturers would go back to advertising their products once again in the mainstream media. I know Kodak has a "mixed agenda" but I cannot remember when was the last time I saw an advertisement for Fuji or Ilford in the mass media either (okay, I understand that as a B&W-only producer Ilford has less to gain by mass marketing).

    Current users of film cannot save the format. Even if everyone of us convinced one person to use film - it would barely budge sales volumes.

    At least once a week Nikon, Canon and Sony (the newbie) each have full-page end of section adverts in the New York Times for their DSLRs. These ads cost in the hundreds of thousands of US dollars so you can imagine what kind of sales volume they're seeking.

    At the same time, I really cannot recall having seen evem a small "inside the section" advert for film for at least several years.
     
  10. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    George:

    You see all sorts of posts here on APUG about Medium format and Large format being addictive - wait until you discover the joys of the darkroom!

    I find it to be tremendous fun, and wonderfully satisfying for my mixture of creative and anally retentive character traits. For a number of years I let practical circumstances get in the way of my darkroom interest, and I continually felt deprived.

    IMHO it is also the one best way to improve one's photography.

    Have fun!

    Maybe you will be lucky, and it will turn out that Roger Hicks is the instructor.

    :D :wink: :D :wink:

    Matt
     
  11. 3Dfan

    3Dfan Member

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    I think the approach can be to start them young. You can still buy children's p&s film cameras rated for kids as young as 3.
     
  12. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    Matt,

    Fortunately, I know my instructor is a female so unless Roger has had an operation that would leave Frances in a quandary - I'm safe! :wink:

    Besides, I like Roger, and I hope one day to visit him and help drain his wine cellar!

    Our "virtual jousts" are never ad hominem - we both just enjoy a good duel. Besides, it's fun to "pull his chain" now and again - isn't it?
     
  13. Henning Serger

    Henning Serger Member

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    Hallo Matt,

    I think you are right. Because a I have an experience in photography for about 30 years other photographers or people, who want to start photographing, often ask me about traditional and digital photography. I have made a list with advantages of traditional photography (over 20 points, several pages), it seems, my paper and arguments are rather convincing, because I had success in convincing a lot of photographers not to give up traditional photography or to start photographing with film.
    Everyone can do it, it is not so difficult to convince.

    Best regards,
    Henning
     
  14. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    How to stimulate interest?

    1. Mentor the young ones. Show them the wonders.

    2. Don't preach or bad mouth digital. No evangelical pronouncements why film is better.

    3. Don't talk about the doom and gloom scenrios with all the film manufacturers.

    4. Use Pareto's Law. A hybrid convert is better than nothing.

    5. Contribute in one of the print exchanges or this thread: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum47/34072-say-something-nice-about-image-previous-poster.html instead of the several the "sky is falling" reported as fact threads that seem to be prevalent in this new year.

    Regards, Art.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 13, 2007
  15. Paul.

    Paul. Member

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    Come on people is it realy that hard. We all have darkrooms of some sort, so why not adopt interested people and let them try it useing your facilities.
    Nothing succeeds like success, I was hooked when I saw my first [very bad] print come up in the dev tray. Scince then I have recived tutoring mentoring advice and help from many people, all with an interest in anolouge printing or photography, all un conditionaly given.
    Is it not time to give something back? In recognition of the help we have recived why do we not let it be known that we will help any one interested in the process to get started, including letting them make prints in our darkroom so that they can dry run the hobby without going to a lot of expence.
    Once they are hooked, probebly by the third print, help them set up their own darkroom so that the cycle can start again.
    Moaning about the lack of new people takeing up anolouge photography here will do little to swell the numbers, getting out into the wider community and saying I will help you might.
    Regards Paul.
     
  16. Antje

    Antje Member

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    What made shooting film possible for me again was the presence of a good scanner and a print shop that understands what I want... I'm hybrid and will remain so for some time, I'm sure. Especially because to install a darkroom, we'd have to move out of an otherwise perfect house.
    I benefit a lot from being half digital. The learning curve wasn't that steep, I knew how to take a good photo before I bought my Hasselblad and I can use my digital darkroom skills. It was simply getting used to another piece of equipment. One that gives me beautiful, rather large negatives. :smile:

    To be honest, even before seeing the negatives I was immediately sold on the fantastic, bright viewfinder. You could say I stumbled into traditional photography only because I'm severely myopic. But whatever takes one there must be good, mustn't it.

    Antje
     
  17. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear George,

    Might take a few days. Besides, most of it is just plonk. I just bought a dozen South African Pinotage 14.5 per cent, which is best described as an interesting wine rather than a great one. I'll have to buy another case and lay it down against your visit...

    Cheers,

    R.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Isn't the French method just to drink the best stuff first then finish off the rest when you've had too much to be able to tell how good it is?

    Steve.
     
  19. PatTrent

    PatTrent Subscriber

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    You make a good point, but having a spare room isn't necessary. I had a "spare room"/"dedicated darkroom" when I had a big house. Years before that, I used a bathroom. More recently, after selling the big house (the kids are gone) and buyer a smaller house, I use the laundry room. The laundry room isn't much bigger than an average "full" bathroom, but it works very well, even though I have two enlargers (an Omega D2V and a Beseler 67).

    So I don't think it's so much a matter of available square footage as it is a matter of dedication. Truly, it doesn't take me much longer to setup and cleanup the laundry room (or in the past, the bathroom) than it did when I had the dedicated darkroom. It just took a little creativity to configure it. :D

    Pat
     
  20. FrankB

    FrankB Member

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    At each of the UK Gatherings so far I've been approached by at least one person enquiring what all the tripods and "old cameras" were for. A polite explanation often led to other questions about whether film was still available etc.

    If you want to stimulate interest in traditional photography, it's easy; get a few of you together using clearly non-digital kit (TLR's, MF's, LF's, etc.) and go shoot somewhere public. You will attract interest!

    Remember that you are ambassadors of traditional photography(! :smile: ) so smile, don't avoid conversation, don't "preach", be pleasant (no matter how "dumb" the questions!) and leave a good impression.

    To take it a stage further, how about having a few (Sean-approved) APUG flyers that you can hand out to anyone who is genuinely interested (obviously not to be thrust on the casual passer-by).

    A lot of people have genuinely swallowed the lies that film is dead, old cameras no longer work and digital rules unchallenged. The best way I can think of to change that is to get out there in groups and prove otherwise.

    You might even get some good shots!
     
  21. Richard Jepsen

    Richard Jepsen Member

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    I have access to 1930 - 1980 photography journals and magazines at the local university library. Photography has changed so much. I show friends and co-workers well printed images and compare them to typical digital family photos received as gifts. It's easier than ever to notice the quality film provides. As traditional printing becomes less familiar with the general public, silver gelatin prints become special. Show prints and educate friends and family. People save that which is special. Some may start to practice the hobby. Traditional Brits will hang on and small firms will provide remaining printers with film and paper.
     
  22. bjorke

    bjorke Member

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    Obviously, the correct method to drum up interest will be to give Lindsay Lohan an old M3 with some accesories and then videotape her cleaning the SOOKY-M with her tongue.
     
  23. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    I don't even know what that means . . . but I think I like the concept.
    :D