Wag the Dog? Is that Possible?

Discussion in 'Product Availability' started by CPorter, Oct 22, 2005.

  1. CPorter

    CPorter Member

    Messages:
    1,662
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Location:
    West KY
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    All this talk of product availability, companies falling out, film is dead, can the the hobbyiest support the company, or can the tail wag the dog-----the tail being folks like us and the dog being Kodak, Ilford, Agfa, etc, etc, etc...

    Hell, I just don't know if I want to go to the expense of building my home darkroom------perhaps I should just keep using the kitchen at night when all the rest of the world is asleep! My wife tends to tolerate the kitchen that way for about 4 days!-----It's extremely frustrating but maybe that is the safe move and I should just be happy with that.

    Good day,

    Chuck
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

    Messages:
    2,222
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2004
    Location:
    Rio Rancho,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Why not go ahead with your darkroom, Chuck? Film and paper is likely to be available for many years to come, even if some players drop from the field. To re-use your analogy, some of the dogs have restructured themselves such that they are easier for the tail to wag. :wink:

    I like to equate the darkroom investment to buying a car. We spend spend [whatever] on the new car, use it for 3 years, and end up with something that's worth 25-30% of what we paid, even if we ignore the cost of interest on the car loan. We look at the net expense as acceptable, based on the utility of the transportation provided, along with whatever pleasure we get from driving the vehicle of our choice. A darkroom is much less of an expense, and the space can usually be converted back to its former use inexpensively, should our interests change.
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,920
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Shooter:
    35mm
    if you have the equipment, which it seems to do, just build a darkroom. It doesn't have to be fancy nor cost a great deal of money.

    Make a space that you can enjoy and leave the kitchen for cooking.
     
  4. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,091
    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2004
    Location:
    fairfield co
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Dead et al

    Chuck-if you want to make art then do it. No one is going to stop you. Buy a small deep freezer and stash some film and paper. There's plenty of materials available right now and in the foreseeable future. The committment is on you.
    Support people like J+C, Bostick and Sullivan,Forte, Bergger;etc. No manufacturor tells me when I start and stop to do my love of life. Build the damn darkroom. Don't procrastinate and you won't have to worry about it.
    This is NOT an attack on you but a support for analog.
    Best, Peter
     
  5. Fintan

    Fintan Member

    Messages:
    1,793
    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Ireland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hey Chuck, go ahead with your darkroom. You'll get at the very least 10 years out of it.

    But can the tail wag the dog? Yes I believe so.

    I'd love to know what the annual spend on film/paper/chemicals for each member of APUG. I'd guess its between $250 - $500 on average. If its say $400, then thats almost $3.5 million we spend.

    Now if APUG members were really concerned about the future, they would be talking to every APs they know, getting them to join in. It shouldnt be too difficult to grow the membership to 40-50,000 making a hell of a pressure group with a big annual budget.

    You might even see APUG branded film yet, anything is possible if people want it to happen.
     
  6. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

    Messages:
    3,984
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Location:
    London
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Certainly build. Film and paper will be around for a while yet.

    The Ilford puppy is showing signs of asking for assisted tail wagging. Since the management buyout it has been asking what people actually want (such as ULF size film, 220 roll film restocked - Postcard paper, etc). Of course, only time will tell if the tail will be successfully wagging away, but at least they are asking.

    In addition, Bergger have responded positively to the question of supplying unsensitized paper as described in another thread. It could be that as the market shrinks, those still in the market will become more responsive to customer needs.

    Cheers, Bob.
     
  7. haris

    haris Guest

    I just bought Mamiya RB, and consider to buy Jobo CPE2 or like processor. What I want to say, don't be afraid. After all, if you build that darkroom, you can allways buy few hundreds (thousands?) rolls of film(s), few hundreds sheets of papers, freeze that, and you can allways buy chemicals or give to some chemistry technicians to mix developer and fixer from raw chemicals for you. So, you can have years and years of analog photography to enjoy, no matter of future photography business (and I don't think film and rest will disapear in next decade or two...)
     
  8. Shmoo

    Shmoo Member

    Messages:
    972
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2003
    Location:
    Southern Cal
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    ...and don't forget to count in all those people we know who aren't yet subscribers to APUG. Double or triple those figures at least!
     
  9. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,887
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    Build it, film and paper will be around for a while. There are currently too many suppliers in relation to the demand but once it settles down, things will be more stable. Even in the worst case senario, no commercial providers at all, you can still work. Make paper negatives, use alt processes, coat glass plates, etc. I have always enjoyed photography and I refuse to let anyone stop me from continuing to enjoy it. I can, and will, make all of my own supplies if needed, and I suggest that anyone else can do the same. There are so many historic processes that can be done at home that if needed, you could be totaly self sufficient.

    - Randy
     
  10. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,887
    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2005
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I spend in the lower end of that range, say ~200 - 250, right now. If I had more time, I would be in the range that you stated.

    - Randy
     
  11. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,920
    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2002
    Shooter:
    35mm
    that's ok randy, i make up the difference for you :smile:
     
  12. haris

    haris Guest

    I have time, but no money... So, about 200 is mine quota, and i hope next few months it will improve :smile:
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,008
    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2005
    Location:
    Delta, BC, Canada
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Chuck:

    If you have the space for a darkroom, it is quite possible to design a room that works well for that purpose, but can also be functional for other purposes, if your needs change, or you are trying to attract buyers for a home.

    A room with counters and cupboards can be, with the right sort of customization, used as a hobby room, a general work room, a great laundry room, or a kitchen. You just need to design your darkroom so that it can easily be converted to these other uses, if the need arises.

    If you wish to keep things flexible, you probably want to avoid large, photography oriented sinks and plumbing. Trays can be put on table or counter tops and large kitchen or wash basin sinks can serve both photographic and other purposes.

    Electrical wiring can be arranged with both darkroom usage and general purpose use in mind. I would avoid placing electrical outlets in the middle of walls - put them at normal room hights, and use power bars or extension cords where necessary.

    Safelights that fit into regular light sockets are available - just be sure to have two sets of lights and switches - one for regular light, one for safelight.

    You can even use free standing (i.e. removable) cupboards for storage and free standing tables for all your work surfaces, although it would be a good idea to have either a really heavy table or some sort of wall attachment for your enlarger.

    Hope this assists.

    Matt
     
  14. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yes

    Until the beginning of this year, I felt the same. I stucked to the digital scanning, hoping the inkjet products to get better in quality. That was a big mistake because I'm a darkroom printer, not professionally trained, but I have enough experience to let go of the use of darkroom for my photogpraphs. And the more I thought about it, the more I wanted it back.

    So, I built it in the winter time and started to print without having much control (temperature, running water, etc) in the environment at the time. I spent the spring to shop around, the summer to organize and re-organize the stuff, and now this fall to finally feel home for the most part. I've been doing everything DIY, always learning from every little mistake I make.

    And my mind is so clear now. It's like marrying to someone, I imagine; if you love her from the bottom of your heart, you'll keep her and and do everything to save and protect her from all the trouble that gets in your way. Gosh, what am I talking about? But at least that's what I feel. Anyway, think this as your last chance because it may be if you're serious about photography and thinking about it. And don't worry about the supplies, they won't disappear so soon. Just learn to use them more efficently than before.

    Good luck.
     
  15. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

    Messages:
    4,049
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I hope so to, then I can spend less LOL My wife swears I am buying every store in the area out!

    Dave
     
  16. firecracker

    firecracker Member

    Messages:
    1,954
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2005
    Location:
    Japan
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sorry, this is what I meant.
     
  17. CPorter

    CPorter Member

    Messages:
    1,662
    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2004
    Location:
    West KY
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I'm glad to hear all the optimism, after talking with my wife, we will wait until our car is paid off before diverting funds to a darkroom project, about a year.

    Have to admit, photography ebbs and flows in my life and most often regulated by cash flow (this guy doesn't own a credit card--those things can get a person in real trouble). So, during periods of inactivity (such as this summer when I was hit with a $1,200 plumbing bill), I tend to step away from it all; it drives me crazy to think about it without doing it! I'm not informed as most of you on product availability and issues affecting the future of things. So, when I climb back in it, there seems to always be this pervasive thought on the future of analog photography, and it gets me thinking to much I guess. It's good to know that there are people such as yourselves to get a another take on the big picture.

    Fintan:

    That is a curious thing to me about what the average hobbiest spends soley on film, chemicals, and paper on a yearly basis, equipment and accessories do not count, what does it cost in a year just to continue photographing, developing, and printing. Sounds like a good thread to start. Anybody who derives their primary income from photogaphy would not count in that average.

    CP
     
  18. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,361
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Alaska
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    BUILD IT ! I planned a darkroom into the design of our house when we built 5 years ago. At the time, it seemed that everyone was giving “helpful advice” concerning the end of film, and why I should not waste the space on a darkroom. But I built the darkroom anyway, and I’ve never regretted it. I think Firecracker sums it up pretty good….
     
  19. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,196
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    North Coast,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    The only things I buy off the shelf are film and paper...I mix up all my own chemicals. If film and paper wasn't made any more (which will never happen) I'd learn how to coat my own :smile:

    Murray
     
  20. 127

    127 Member

    Messages:
    581
    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    uk
    Shooter:
    127 Format
    a Darkroom is an indulgance.

    You want it. You deserve it. You should enjoy it. You should do it.

    Tomorrow is a whole other world, and right now building a darkroom is the right thing to do - at least I just bought a 5x4 enlarger. I don't NEED one, but it makes me feel better.

    Indulge yourself. The financial outlay is minimal in the bigger picture, and you're playing your part by making a commitment to film...

    Ian
     
  21. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Member

    Messages:
    726
    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2004
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Hum, over 2,000 UK pounds, (3,500 US) on film alone so far this year and I guess I've bought about ten 100 sheet boxes of paper. What I want to say, though is what's with the tail wagging the dog? We are the dog folks: the market. What happened to the customer is king? It's when the companies impose their will on us that the tail starts wagging the dig.

    David.
     
  22. Fotohuis

    Fotohuis Member

    Messages:
    1,336
    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2004
    Location:
    Netherlands
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    :smile: Do not worry too much. It's part of a complete restructure of the market. If you want to play save, buy a digital SLR (e.g. that nice Canon 5-D , 13 Mpix - full frame a.s.o.) and a nice 6 cartridge Epson printer with special inkts and calibration stuff for monitor, printers IT-8 profiles, super Mac or PC on high GHz and do not worrry if you have to replace the whole stuff within 3 years or so. In the time you have all experience how to handle this digital stuff, it's old fashioned, equipment is made for 5 years life time, but in this market that doesn't matter.

    Quick, fancy, modern, impressive, only most manufactureres are forgetting the people behind that camera are making the pictures, not the camera.

    Digital has turned the traditional companies on their head. A lot will go out of businness, simply because their market is shrinking quicker than their management can adapt. Smaller companies and maybe one multinational are able to survive in this type of market.
    Yes, films and paper will go up in price when the analogue market will be stabilized in a few years.
    If Ilford can survive the comming two years, they have the best customers in their market, also Foma, Rollei/Maco, I think Fuji and some other very small players in this market (e.g. Heiland - split grade) some small enlarger manufactureres and (special) chemical suppliers (e.g. Moersch, SPUR) and some traditional camera manufactureres like Leica a.s.o. if they take care what they are doing! Big money to make will be impossible so companies like Kodak are not interested anymore.

    It's impossible to predict and give any guaranty to any APUG member in this community if we are able to survive in this "mess" and will be able to supply our customers with the right materials from the right manufactureres in time without interuption of supplies. Some processes and films will be distontinued so there will be certainly less choice and more or less all this kind of stuff will be sold by specialists only, mainly from the internet in the future.

    If you like film, traditional photography, playing with the wet stuff and have a view in fine art photography, this is one way to go. If you're able to make some vacation shots, X-mas a.s.o. on one film, forget what we are doing, buy that digital camera, put it on e-mail to your family and you can also be happy. :smile:

    I am still learning every day, after 38 years darkroom experience (I started very early, 7 y.o.). I am still impressed what some people are doing in their magic darkroom. It's increadible what kind of pictures some of our customers are able to produce. The way how they handle their art and idea's about photography, thinking how they made each picture, the light, the composition a.s.o.: That's the real way how to go on, and NOT just pushing on that digital button and show 800 photo's on a monitor and maybe two or three after an afternoon photoshop work are worthwhile to show on an exhibition.

    Best regards from a small distributor of photomaterials from the Netherlands,
    -sinking in the Rodinal at the moment-

    Robert

    http://www.FotohuisRoVo.nl
    R.Vonk@FotohuisRoVo.nl

    PS. Personal comments are also welcome.
     
  23. haris

    haris Guest

    "I never think about tomorrow. It will come too fast anyway..."

    Albert Einstein