Talk about your photography

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Josh Harmon, Feb 12, 2011.

  1. Josh Harmon

    Josh Harmon Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hello!

    Part of my senior year in high school requires me to do a senior project. I chose to do Analogue Photography as my topic. Photography is my hobby, and that I have been using film as my main medium for over a year now. I will (and have already started) experimenting with most aspects of non-digital processes, such as contact printing, developing color film, etc.

    As part of this project I am required to interview person(s) that are professionals or are knowledgeable of the topic. I have decided that posting a set of open questions here would be a excellent method of conducting these interviews.

    I will post the questions below. If you do not feel comfortable answering them you can PM or Email them to me. My email is photigragraphy(at)gmail(dot)com.

    The interviews will be transposed into a formal paper for my class in the coming months. Aside from whoever views this thread, only my teacher and I will be reading the responses.

    Questions:

    1. What is your name? (Screen name is OK too)

    2. Explain how you discovered photography.

    3. How does film and other analogue processes and products affect you and your photography?

    4. What is your opinion of the "Digital Revolution"?

    5. Do you believe that analogue photography will continue to exist in the future?

    6. Any comments, stories, tips, you would like to share?

    Thank you for spending your time to help me out with my project. I truly appreciate it.

    If this is in the wrong forum please move it or delete it.
     
  2. Josh Harmon

    Josh Harmon Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Bump
     
  3. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    PM sent
     
  4. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

    Messages:
    9,083
    Joined:
    May 3, 2006
    Location:
    Ryde, Isle o
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    1. What is your name? (Screen name is OK too)

    Steve Smith.

    2. Explain how you discovered photography.

    From my father who was a semi-professional (weekends) wedding photographer.

    3. How does film and other analogue processes and products affect you and your photography?

    It's all I use so to put it another way, I am not affected by digital photography.

    4. What is your opinion of the "Digital Revolution"?

    It's just a small part of the dumbing down of society and the rush to put convenience over quality which is happening in many aspects of our lives, not just photography. Music with MP3 files is another example.

    5. Do you believe that analogue photography will continue to exist in the future?

    I think it will but smaller companies like Ilford will have a leading role. I think Kodak will stop film production in a few years time then they will probably cease to exist as they are too big to adapt themselves to change.


    Steve.
     
  5. Dan Henderson

    Dan Henderson Member

    Messages:
    1,888
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
    Location:
    Blue Ridge,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The end.
     
  6. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,420
    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2009
    Location:
    northern Pa.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    1) For starters, everyone knows me as Rick.

    2) I've been enamered with film since I was a tad, I always was fascinated by spy movies and seeing agents developing microfilm in a darkened room.

    3) Film has always helped me define myself and my personal experession of art. Films have changed as have printing papers, but the basic process has stayed the same. I believe I am a traditionalist, as are most film photographers, at the same time we tend to bend the rules of art and new products only further that end.

    4) I have five digits on each hand, and each has a specific task that film demands from them.

    5) It appears to me that every day more people are rediscovering film, and that will show manufacturers that there is still a market for their products. I'll keep doing my part to support the industry.

    6) When I was about eleven or twelve, we were living in northern New Mexico, and our neighbor introduced me to her guests, Ansel Adams and his wife(Greer Garson was the neighbor). I just thought of him as a wierd little man who had Polaroid cameras. Little did I know...
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    9,448
    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Location:
    Washington DC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hi Josh-

    My name is Scott Davis. I got into photography originally just as a casual snapshooter, taking photos with my point-n-shoot for vacations, get-togethers with friends, and the usual stuff. After graduating from college, I was facing a long unemployment and job search (it was the early 90's, and the market for folks without a technical background (like myself at the time) was grim). I decided I wanted to pick up photography to learn just enough about it to use my photos as subject matter for painting and drawing, to pass the time while I was looking for work. A book, The Ansel Adams Guide: Basic Techniques of Photography, a decent camera, and some cheap second-hand darkroom equipment later, and I was on my way to my goal. However, the moment I developed my first rolls of film and saw that indeed, I could make this alchemy happen, I was hooked. Watching the first print come up in the tray, any thought of "just enough" was eliminated, and I knew I wanted to master this medium.

    How do film and analogue processes affect my photography? Well, I've evolved a lot since those first days of the cheap enlarger balanced on the toilet, developing 8x10s in trays in the tub. Today, I'm mostly shooting large (and even ultra-large) format cameras, making contact prints in antique and historic processes. My photography would not be the same without analog media. I got into the antique and historic processes first out of fearful necessity - there was a moment where Kodak had ceased making paper, and Ilford was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, so there was a concern that commercially produced analog materials might go away, abruptly. I decided I wanted to continue to be able to use the cameras I loved, so I turned to alternative, hand-coated processes. Much like my initial experience of photography intended for another purpose, after exposure (pun intended) to alternative processes, I became enchanted with the media and their qualities in their own right, and not just as a "substitute" for silver-gelatin products.

    I currently print mostly in platinum/palladium and gum bichromate. I have also learned how to make wet plate collodion images and even took a weekend seminar on making daguerreotypes. For me, these hand-made processes are an antidote to the sterile, clinical and precise work produced by computer.

    Along the way learning about all these antique processes taught me a lot about the history of photography, which has helped me see the "Digital Revolution" as really just another step in the evolution of the medium.

    I've already hinted at what I think of the "Digital Revolution", but let me expand. It is just a tool for making images - a different kind of image, and I think it raises an extremely important question about the nature of photography itself - can you call digital imaging, "Photography"? The virtual nature of digital images until they are in fact committed to paper by ink or some other media, and their seemingly paradoxical qualities of extreme fidelity/incorruptibility (especially when copying) and extreme mutability (how easy is it to clone in a flying unicorn with a rainbow tail leaping over an F-16 fighter-jet racing past a waterfall?) problematizes the notion of what they are. Are they in fact photographs? Are they photographically oriented digital illustrations? Are they something else entirely for which we don't yet have a name? All these questions are interesting, and don't trouble me in the least except insofar as the "Digital Revolution" has reduced the availability and increased the cost of film. Digital has had its greatest impact, however, on color film, which is digital's greatest strength. My biggest fear for the outcome of the transition to digital will be the loss of color film, because it is far more dependent upon mass production to be sustainable than black and white media are.

    I think wet-darkroom, analog photographic media will remain available for the remainder of my lifetime, and perhaps well beyond. They will continue to exist as boutique products, with a corresponding increase in price, and in all probability we will see color analog media disappear within my lifetime.
     
  8. Josh Harmon

    Josh Harmon Member

    Messages:
    79
    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2010
    Location:
    Silicon Valley
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thank you all for spending the time to answer these questions. These responses will be very useful for my project. Thank you!
     
  9. CPorter

    CPorter Member

    Messages:
    1,662
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Location:
    West KY
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    1. Chuck

    2. It started in high school, I was a photographer for the school annual.

    3. It affects me greatly. I do not consider myself to be an "artist" in any real sense of the word . But, within the process of film photography and all that it entails from start to finish, there exists a deep and gratifying feeling for what I have done.

    4. I am not an opponent of progress or change. But I don't believe either, that progress or change is always a good thing.

    5. That is the 64 million dollar question. I must believe so because I continue to spend and make plans and prepare for a dedicated home darkroom.

    Hope this is helpful in some way.
    Chuck
     
  10. Guillaume Zuili

    Guillaume Zuili Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,656
    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    1) Guillaume Zuili

    2) Movies, documentaries and desire to go out and see.

    3) It is fundamental. You register memory on a negative and you make a print of it.

    4) Vast question...

    Print disappears and the screen culture replaces it.
    Basically "Instant Moment" replaces "Memory" and picture is gone when you hit the trash button. The photo album from the family, that kind of memory, is gone. I don't know what the future generations will look at when they want to look at their past.
    How to preserve files for the long term is another big issue. Hard drives don't last, OS change, corrupted files... problems are endless.
    All of that raises big red flags on me.

    It also destroyed a lot of jobs. Because it's supposedly easy so "Why I would hire a photographer if I can do it myself" ? After all... I have a camera and photoshop.

    With that terrible idea it brings down photography to a vast mediocrity in magazines and in almost every fields. When everybody can do it, it becomes cheap.

    The last window for a photographer in the end is to be an artist. The other options, one by one, are washed away.

    5) The niche should be there for a while but more and more expensive. And alternative processes are there. Why wet plate is so used now ?

    6) Knowledge from analog photography is fundamental to use digital well.
    Without that you cannot understand the dry darkroom.

    Shooting a film is a relationship with time. You don't see it until it has been processed. You think about it. Then you develop. And you see frame by frame how, why and what you did.
    There is no delete button. I like that :smile:

    Then printing is maybe the best feeling of it.
    When the printing gods are with you :smile: :smile:
     
  11. jgcull

    jgcull Subscriber

    Messages:
    912
    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    nc
    Rick, I love your story about Greer Garson and Ansel.
     
  12. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

    Messages:
    7,114
    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2005
    Location:
    In a darkroo
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    PM sent but thought I would share it here as well.

    Christopher Walrath

    As with most people I have been taking pictures for most of my life. I really started to take it seriously in the late eighties with yearbook, using my mother's Minolta X-700. Later, she started a wedding photography business so I helped out by mimicking her shots so she would have a copy of the negs.

    I didn't realize what my photography could be until on an overnighter in Nags Head with my father. We went to the Bodie Island lighthouse and I made some photographs of it amongst others from the weekend. When I went to get the prints, I found that someone had stuck a photograph in with them. I looked at the photograph. I realized that I could make photographs as well as any of the masters and before me was the proof. And to this day, I think I have seen perhaps two photographs that I thought were as good as my photograph of that light.

    I am not certain the film affects my photography so much as defines it. There is no certain look or feel that I am going for in my photography. I have always used film. It is an old friend that I do not see myself ever turning my back on. It has always been there and I think it always will be there in the future. I know how to coax the most for my negs when souping film in the tank. And I am always learning how to bring along the most expressiveness in my printing. I am sure this can be done with digital. It is being done.

    I liken it to golf. I am left handed. I golf right handed. A few years ago I was toying with thinking about re-learning to golf left handed so I could get what might be considered the best potential from my game. But why re-learn for years what I already knew and loose all of that time to improve that which I knew. So I just kept on as I was already going.

    Ansel Adams looked forward to 'electronic capture' as he stated it in an interview years ago. I am certain that some of the masters would have been excited and thrilled at the prospect of being able to put down the brush just once to see just what this new fandangled paper coated with suspended silver salts could do.

    There are many who bash digital photography as a bastard son just as there were those in Picasso's time who damned photography for trying to replace painting by making imagery more simple. There are still brushes and acrylics and oils and canvas. In a hundred years there will be film and papers and enlargers. Albeit on a lesser scale and I beleive in a more niche market than in the past.

    Digital has been put to some good uses. Digital mammography, replacing the pain for women getting examinations. This is but one awesome example of the possibilities. Digital photography is still photography. The tools are different but, when the chips are down, it is still a simple case of e=i(t), isn't it?

    I think I already answered that. But I will rehash it a little. I think that analogue photography will be in a lesser niche market and that the larger camera houses will embrace digital capture and processes wih increasing frequency. This will leave smaller companies, such as Harman Tech, to pick up the slack and they will thrive with the reduction of choices available to film photographers. Photographers and their suppliers will create a tighter bond and I beleive, albeit on a smaller scale, film photography will thrive in it's little old corner of the world.

    If anyone is truly curious about analog photography, take a camera, shoot a roll, find someone with a darkroom, soup the film and make some prints with guidance. This is the totality of analog photography and without this completion you will not know what you are missing and, perhaps, make an uninformed decision to stick with digital.

    If you do the above, you may still find you prefer digital processes, but you can't know what you lost if you never had it in the first place. You never know, you just might get hooked. And that would be a grand thing indeed.
     
  13. Moopheus

    Moopheus Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,087
    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    1. What is your name? (Screen name is OK too)

    Moopheus

    2. Explain how you discovered photography.

    In a shoebox? Not sure, but I think the first cameras I had for my own was given to me when I was 7 or 8, and I'm pretty sure I was in the darkroom by the time I was 10.

    3. How does film and other analogue processes and products affect you and your photography?

    My photography is mostly analog. It is for various reasons—inertia for one—I've always done it that way. I like the process—I enjoy messing with the cameras, the film, the chemicals. Making prints in the darkroom. It's fun, and mentally engaging in a way that other stuff I have to do isn't. I like cooking for similar reasons—I enjoy the process, and the satisfaction of good results. I find it a relief to have a way to step back from the computer and just make things with my hands. Plus I am contrarian by nature—when everyone else is rushing off the cliff, I will gladly stand by and wave at them as they go by.


    4. What is your opinion of the "Digital Revolution"?

    It is, like most things, a mixed blessing. There are benefits, but new technologies are rarely perfect substitutes for old (one of the reasons old technologies take a while to die), and the benefits don't come free; there is a cost. It's not just photography, of course—the digital has affected everything. I work in publishing and I'm old enough to remember making layouts with waxing machines and type from a phototypesetter—which themselves had replaced Linotypes. Now I can make a book in a weekend, and it doesn't even need to be printed anymore. At my day job, we hardly handle paper any more. But I've had my hands on a Bruce Rogers lectern bible—something real has been lost. For photography, it's not that hard to understand why people who mainly used instamatics on holidays and saved their photos in shoeboxes might prefer digital cameras. I think, though, if you want to do something nice, have a little art in it, you have to engage in your medium, feel and understand how it works. Painters do it, musicians do it. For myself, I find that easier to do with film and paper.

    (answers to 3 & 4 somewhat overlap)

    5. Do you believe that analogue photography will continue to exist in the future?

    Probably in some form, at least in the short term. In the long term, who knows? The future is a long time. I think we will be lucky to get through the next 100 years with some remnant of human civilization. There is a good chance we will not fix the big problems before they are unfixable, and find that Malthus was right after all. But photography as we know it is an invention of the industrial age. It involves complex machines, a high level of understanding of optics, and sophisticated chemical processes. It requires a fairly sophisticated industrial infrastructure to support it. Our equipment supply is getting older and harder to repair, and not being replenished in any significant number. Sure, a small number of people could continue something we could call photography for a fairly long time with jerry-rigged and homemade solutions as long as they can get certain basic supplies, but it wouldn't be surprising to me at all if the industrial product disappears completely within my own lifetime.
     
  14. Klainmeister

    Klainmeister Member

    Messages:
    1,492
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Fe, NM
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    1. What is your name? (Screen name is OK too)

    Klainmeister

    2. Explain how you discovered photography.

    I was handed a Canon Eos 35mm by my father and began taking BW pictures of friends and my punk rock band at a young age. I went thru a period of deaths, in which 6 people close to me in almost perfectly timed annual increments past away. Ever since, the physical attribute of film over digital makes those "captured moments" truly timeless. They possess a special place.

    3. How does film and other analogue processes and products affect you and your photography?

    It's all about process. I do landscape, so the analogue medium does not grant me the instant satisfaction of digital. I could be thousands of miles away from home and never know if the picture is what I 'saw'. The process is a journey, just as getting to a location for the shot itself. It's a philosophical disposition.

    4. What is your opinion of the "Digital Revolution"?

    It's great in many ways. It has brought photography back into the realm of the people and hobbyist. It has spurred a whole new generation of photographers and has essentially democratized the photographic publication industry. The downside, of course, is sometimes these are superficial ideas and the reality of some of the photographs being taken might as well be stealing the internal essence of a place. When I see someone claiming to be a 'pro' walk up, snap 200 shots handheld at sunset, walk back to his car and drive off, I sometimes wonder not what the customer is missing, but what he is missing. That was, and continues, to be the biggest issue with digital--lack of contemplation and process.

    5. Do you believe that analogue photography will continue to exist in the future?

    Yes.

    6. Any comments, stories, tips, you would like to share?

    I firmly believe that those continuing analog photography go out taking pictures, but ultimately, it is not the photograph they are after.
     
  15. mjs

    mjs Member

    Messages:
    1,125
    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Location:
    Elkhart, Ind
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I want to personally thank the promoters of the "digital revolution" for making film equipment affordable to persons of small means, such as myself. The availability of film cameras, lenses, enlargers, etc. has meant that I could try, and adopt, formats which were formerly too expensive for me to consider, such as 4x5 and 8x10.

    Mike