Thinking about giving up.

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Stephanie Brim, Jan 22, 2009.

  1. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    I'm having a horrible time justifying keeping the Speed Graphic and other related gear. I've been going back and forth for about a week on it. The skinny, really, is this.

    I don't have time. I really don't. I can't shoot what I want to shoot with it because there just isn't time enough right now. There may be in the future when I no longer have a really small child, but I'm wanting to spend more and more time playing and entertaining her and less and less on elaborate photography projects. Lately I've been so excited about the prospect of doing some alternative process stuff that I've forgotten to ask myself when I'm going to be able to even do any of it. I've been having a hard time finding the time to go down and develop film let alone coat paper myself.

    I'm starting to ask myself what's important. I mean, yeah, I should take time to myself. This, right here, is time to myself. But when Rinoa is awake and active I want to be there, not in the basement developing 12 sheets of film 4 at a time.

    I'm thinking that sticking to 35mm and 120 right now is a good idea. Rollfilm is easier for me to process. You get more shots per roll. It's more portable. The lenses are faster. These are all things I need right now with a small child.

    So yeah. Just ranting. Asking for thoughts as well, though. I know it's a decision I have to make for myself. Maybe a little support from other parents who shoot large format will help.
     
  2. glbeas

    glbeas Member

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    If you pack the gear away properly with dessicant and a good cleaning you can bring it back out anytime you feel ready and resume your efforts.
    Even so they were called Speed Graphics for a reason, with practice they can be used as quickly as some medium format cameras using the rangefinder. And it sounds like you need a 12 sheet Nikor tank for your film, that or a rollfilm back.
     
  3. Dave in Kansas

    Dave in Kansas Member

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    Stephanie,

    Been there, done that, kind of anyway. My photography work was at its height back before I was married. Marriage slowed it down quite a bit, then when the kids came along, the dark room and processing film almost stopped - actually it did stop a few times for extended intervals. During those times I just shot 35mm slides and prints. Every few years I'd get the 2 1/4 TLR out and get some nice B&W of the kids doing activities. My Speed Graphic hasn't been out in 20 years, but that's about to change. I just bought some new film last week.

    Yes, it takes time and it's time you don't have now, but don't give up completely. Just pack most of it away (Don't sell it. You'll regret it later.) and keep handy whatever you want to use to capture images of your child. You'll probably have to cut way back on your dark room work.

    The times when children are small actually go by very fast, at least when you reflect back 15 years or more from now. It may not seem like it at the time though. Now that my kids are teenagers, I like to think that I have more time to get back into photography, but it's sure not like before I was married. I'm trying to get them interested in shooting film now.

    Good luck.

    Dave
     
  4. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    +1
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Another vote for keeping the gear for another day. Make it a special-event occasion to break it out once or twice a year (do a family photo at Christmas, on Rinoa's birthday, etc), so you can continue to get value from having it.
     
  6. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    I know how you feel. My son is 4 now, and the time I spend with him is more valuable than anything else. I cannot live without photography, so I still do some "projects" (kind of, not really structured, not too demanding).

    I was on the same path about LF some months ago, and was almost ready to sell all my gear. i finally decided to wait a little, kept it in the closet and used the TLRs more. LF is more for the holidays, when I have more time with my family and can therefore spend some for me also. But I think it would have been a huge mistake to completely quit LF.

    When Thomas was younger, I had less time, now I can go for a walk with him, and take the Yashica and make a few pics while he's playing around. That's one of the reasons why my photography is very linked to river Loire at the moment.

    I also rant from time to time, but at the end of the day I'm enriched spending time with him and could not do without.

    Just my thoughts.
     
  7. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    One thing I've considered is keeping the lenses, but selling the body. The other thing I've considered is that if I'm only going to be shooting when I have a decent amount of time, why not go ahead and make the plunge upward in format when I finally do go back to shooting? I'm more interested in alternative processes every day. I can see myself taking the time, when I have time, to do something like that. Adam won't be working overtime forever and I really am trying to get more serious about what I want to do with photography. Starting this spring, I plan to take Rinoa out every day on a walk, and I plan to do a few things in a makeshift upstairs "studio" to further my education of lighting and composition.

    This is the first time in my life that I've been pondering the idea of selling something where the motive isn't financial need. It's more the fact that I don't like to just let equipment sit.
     
  8. Andrew Moxom

    Andrew Moxom Member

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    Stephanie, I would also advise you to keep the gear unless you want to use the funds to get your enlarger that you are needing? MF and 35mm will get you by for sure in the interim, but I would still advise keeping your gear and using it when you can. I was in a similar boat to you when my daughter was born back in 2003. 4x5 and MF gear, not being used very much, I had no time for taking images let alone printing anything as I was busy with the new born and other family related time that is required. I was contemplating going digital after I felt guilty having so much gear sitting around doing nothing. At that point, I found APUG 2 years ago and decided upon keeping my gear. Now my daughter is 5 and I use my gear more now than I ever did than when I did not have kids. So I know you can make it work if you adjust your life to allow for it, but it is your decision afterall. Again, I would keep your speedy for future stuff.
     
  9. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon, Stephanie,

    I have a number of cameras I haven't used in years--including a Miniature Speed Graphic. Absent a sudden, pressing financial requirement, I don't even consider disposing of any of them. Partly that's because of persistent GAS-related tendencies, but also, I guess, just because I tend to be a keeper (old photo magazines going back to the 1960's for example) instead of a discarder. I figure the old Speed Graphic may just come in handy someday because replacing the Raptar lens and its iffy shutter wouldn't be much problem should the "need" to do so someday strike me.

    Even if you don't use the Speed Graphic for years--or decades--what's the problem in keeping it? It can sit at the back of a closet for a long time without the slightest difficulty and probably still function when you re-discover it. On the other hand, if you an absolute desire to say good by to it, I'd be glad to take it off your hands!

    Konical
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hey stephanie

    i can see how you feel as though the extra cameras
    are deadweight, especially in this bad economy .
    not to mention you don't have time or energy to shoot with it.
    im not sure if you still have the view camera, i would get rid of IT, and keep
    the speed put away until you have more of a chance to use it.
    it took a while, seemed more like an eternity, before i had the time to shoot
    with a large format camera, our youngest is 4 now ...
    but it gets easier and you will somehow find more time to do the camera thing ...
    but i have to admit, i shoot rolls a lot more( 35, and 1/2 frame), and a graflex slr mostly,
    which is almost like a roll film camera and i shoot it like one :wink:

    good luck with what ever you decide to do ..

    john
     
  11. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    Stephanie

    I've cycled between 35 and 8x10 for 40 years. The pictures are equally good,
    just sometimes the moment wants one camera, or another.

    Look at the wonderful pictures from 1910-1930, made of families, kids, moms... wonderful.
    Many were made with 5x7 and 4x5, and few were ever made BY the mom. The point is THIS: you can use a good 35mm camera with simple technique, and make better images than the best shooters could make at the time with their 5x7. Period. It helps, though, if you believe you can, and you can !

    Be a Mom. Have fun. Do the pictures, but do it the easy way. Make something to give the little girl when she is all grown up. I envy you.
     
  12. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    The first time you look at a ground glass image is magic. There's no other word for it. There's something about viewing things so ass-backwards that just works.

    The other thing I actually LIKE about my Speed is that it's the roughest of the rough cameras I've ever owned. The thing is in good shape for its age, but the leatherette finally just peeled off the front door and I took it completely off. I don't ever give a second thought to taking it out and using it as I would something that's perfect. The ground glass is clear and easy to see, even without a darkcloth. The rangefinder works, but I haven't calibrated it yet.

    There are so many reasons why I want to keep it, including the fact that I just love setting the thing up and looking through it...but I just don't do it. I kind of feel it's being wasted.

    I'm going to think it through a little more before I make the decision, but don't be surprise if it pops up here in the next week.
     
  13. Colin Corneau

    Colin Corneau Subscriber

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    It's a lot harder to get back into it from scratch than it is to simply pick a camera back up again.

    Take the long view, here.
     
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  15. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    I have a 612 rollfilm back that works very nicely on my crown graphic. Just something to consider. I think there are enlarging 617 backs that you can put on there too.
     
  16. tac

    tac Member

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    Consider this;
    Pack away the Graphic and get a smaller, more portable camera, say a Nikon or Olympus, and switch to C-41 film which can be processed and printed at a shop, most anywhere. You can order 8x10's of any negative which warrant enlarging. This costs a bit more, but in exchange, you get more free time to play with the baby, and, it's actually a cheaper way to learn lighting , composition, etc.

    It's a different aesthetic from what you describe, but it can be quite rewarding. Later on you can go back into LF and alternative process. And you have a wonderful subject ay hand who virtually requires a fast-working 35mm approach.

    good luck!
     
  17. GM Bennett

    GM Bennett Member

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    Hey, Stephanie -

    I sure understand how kids can consume your time; I have four of them. At least photography is something you can share with your kids as they get older. If your kids happen to be your models, it's hard to shoot spontaneously with a 4x5, although the Graphics are easier to use handheld, at least. My 4x5 gear gets used sporadically, but I'm glad to have it when I feel like shooting large format. I would vote with those who recommend holding onto your Speed - the intrinsic value may be high, but the resale value is so low that it'd make more sense to stow it away, and it'll be there for you when you get the urge to shoot large. Graham
     
  18. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    MANY years ago I came to the same point, which way to go.

    I had placed an order with Zone VI 4X5 for a camera, two lens, and some other items and waited for it to be produced. There was a fair amount of time waiting on them at that time.

    While I waited I begin to wonder if it was really the right choice with two youngsters and a demanding job.

    Long story short, I requested a refund, had paid in full up front, and decided to dive head long into my 35mm gear. "For me" it was a good choice, not suggesting it would be for you.

    Now I have a next to new Zone VI 4X5 and four lens, for a lot less that the original deal with only two lens, and enjoy using it.

    I suspect in your heart you already know what you are going to do. Which ever you chose, I wish you luck and good shooting.

    Mike
     
  19. George Collier

    George Collier Member

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    Hi Stephanie - another vote for keeping the camera - think of all the down time it already has.
    You never know when a spring day will dawn and the idea will come to you of taking Rinoa and the 4x5 out into the warm sun to try something. Just keep some holders loaded, and exercise the shutter now and then. Meanwhile shoot the smaller stuff.
     
  20. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    Reread your own post from yesterday on cooltouch's thread about reacquisition. With the Graphics, I promise, you will eventually want another one and when you do you'll pay a lot more for it than you realize from the sale of the first one. Sold my first one - which came free - about five years ago. Bought a replacement back in August for a lot more money.
     
  21. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

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    It's the Alt process stuff that makes me want to sell it. I really do want to go bigger. I completely understand the fact that bigger means more money, but when I'm going to be shooting for contact printing kallitypes and salt prints the big negatives would be much better used. There's always shooting the APHS film.

    I have...a lot...of negatives to print as well. As in a daunting amount. 100 or so. Just getting an enlarger now after almost 5 years of shooting is killing me. I'm adding more every day.

    I think that selling it is the right thing for this moment. Especially if I end up wanting an 8x10 down the road. I'll keep my two favorite lenses (the Apotar I pulled from the folder and the no-name RR) just in case I decide to go 4x5 or get a reducing back.
     
  22. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I would hang on to it, regardless of how much you're using it now. You never know, once you have some time things may be different.
     
  23. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Melchi turned two in December, and since he was born, I've photographed him with 35mm (SLR), 6x6 (SLR), 6x7 (8x10" view camera and sliding back and 2x3" Technika), 6x12 (Noblex), 6x17 (Technika with RF), 4x5" (Technika with RF), 5x7" (SLR), and 8x10" (view camera), and I'd say my favorite shots are with the 5x7" Press Graflex (SLR) and 8x10". With its fast rack and pinion focusing and reflex viewer the Graflex is ideal for chasing toddlers. With the big cameras, I've often just left them set up on a tripod around the house ready to shoot with filmholders loaded nearby, and I've been able to be pretty spontaneous with them.

    I generally keep up with the film processing, and often I get behind on printing, but I'm really glad I have some large format images of Melchi as he's been growing up. I don't feel that I need to print everything--just the best ones. I agree with those who say to set the Graphic aside if it's getting in the way and you don't have time, but hang onto it, and there will be a time when you want to use it, and you'll be glad you did.
     
  24. AutumnJazz

    AutumnJazz Member

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    Use the Speed Graphic to take pictures of her! Ship the film out, or process while she's asleep.
     
  25. Blunt

    Blunt Member

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    Bigger negatives aren't always better. IMHO Some of the finest photographs I have in my collection are 4x5 or smaller.:smile:
     
  26. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Alas, most new parents need to catch up on their own sleep while the baby's asleep, not to mention other logistical issues like not being in the darkroom when the baby wakes up, nursing, etc.