If it means anything, Annie used the Mamiya RB67 (or maybe that should be RZ67) a lot for her portrait work, and a Nikon for a lot of her documentary type of work. But she went digital very early. She said herself that she changed every time a new digital camera came along that she felt provided better quality. To be perfectly honest though, I am not sure that knowing which film or which camera was used makes a lot of difference. She was not terribly concerned with equipment unless it didn't get her what she wanted. A lot of her early work was 35mm and one flash. She only moved to 6x6 because the shape of the cover of the Rolling Stone was square. She liked the look of the Mamiya lenses so that is what she went with.
Originally Posted by Pioneer
Probably because to most, it doesn't matter. Either from viewers who are just interested in the artistic side of it or from the artists themselves who don't believe the technical details are all that important. Plus, such detailed technical specs could clutter the layout of a photobook and detract from the central element of it - the actual photos. There may also be those who believe their process is 'theirs' and thus they feel the need to keep it to themselves. There are examples of this in pop culture, look at Breaking Bad for example. Egos can very easily get in the way of things.
I thought I was the only one who did this! :)
Originally Posted by jnanian
I believe the above statement of yours points in the direction of your answer... It is probably something worth thinking about in earnest before you buy yet another emulsion... or developer.
Originally Posted by StoneNYC
If a photographers used a fairly consistent material and method, perhaps that info could be included with the Colophon at the back of the books.
Stone- You might like Examples: The Making of 40 Photographs by Ansel Adams.
In Stone's defense, I think it is perfectly fine to be curious about things like the film choice of others.
And of course, if you get to see original prints made by or under the direction of the photographer, it can be informative to learn about the photographer's technical choices made in support of the photographer's style.
If you are interested in the results obtained by Karsh, for example, it is useful to learn about his techniques and material choices.
We have all probably learned about some aspect of photography by seeing an image that moved us and then questioning and investigating how such an image was made. Those photographers who choose to disclose the technical aspects of their work allow other practitioners to learn from their efforts. Personally, I learned about gum printing from seeing Steichen's work and then reading up on his technique. Same with Strand and photogravure.
I'm sure electric guitar enthusiasts have an equal interest in learning what guitars, amps, pick-ups, strings, effects pedals and mics their heroes use, while the rest of us are content just to listen to the songs in blissful ignorance of all that.
I think Shawn has a good point. A lot of your posts remind me of some of my students, back in my teaching days. They were enthusiastic and talented, but too easily diverted by film/developer/paper combinations to gain any "traction" in their image making. I had one guy who, almost weekly, would come to me and say, "I saw a few prints by (insert famous photographer here). I read he used (insert camera/film/developer/paper here). I want my work to look like that." He'd then switch films and developers. He never produced anything worthwhile. I also had a girl who stuck with Plus-X/D-76 (if memory serves). Initially, she was very frustrated with her results. Rather than switch, though, she stuck with the combination, did all the boring tests, took notes, and ended up producing some very nice work. I ran into her about 6 years later, after she had finished college (I taught her in high school). She used all of her electives on photo courses, and kept shooting her original combination. She even had a solo exhibit in the campus gallery, the only non art major to ever get one, she told me.
Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty
I am sick, and therefore additionally ornery from my normal state, so I'll be coming off grumpy... But...
For someone like Annie Leibovitz, do you really think any of her film work was actually darkroom printed by her? No, you would be an idiot to think that, it was sent to the magazines who either did their old school magazine print thing (I don't know what it's called but it wasn't RA4 or traditional B&W printing with an enlarger it was some other process to make rolling stone, and after that it was drum scanning the film, the same for the likes of Steve McCurry, and many others.
So the type of film/equipment etc is CRITICAL to their style and image outcome.
And I can certainly tell the difference between Kodachrome, or Kodak 400CN or VS or New Portra or Fuji color negative images, they all have a distinctive look to them, if they all looked the same then they wouldn't make different types, just one type...
The same is true for B&W. There's just more types of B&W out there and more variables (different developers etc) and so I like to know what people used.
Most likely Annie sent most of her stuff to a lab, even the B&W stuff so it was D-76 or HC-110 in a machine, but still the film is important to understanding the process the artist went through.
If you don't think it's important or relevant, or that you can just use one film for all situations either you're a magician or an idiot or delusional...
Again, I'm sick and grumpy and I'm tired of people telling me to only shoot one film, I don't want to, and I'm not going to, I'm going to shoot EVERY film I can and want to and use each one for its purpose until I settle on a few.
End of grumpy rant.