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  1. #81
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    I want better than digital for the future. But all of us have limitations. We may need an emulsion preservation conference, but notes to fellow emulsion makers (not Kodak - they respond with indifference) are either unanswered or answered with vituperation. What is wrong with people? Why are the best emulsion makers here unwilling to respond in a civil manner?

    PE
    Frankly, I think it has to do with having a lot of people in "the right positions" who do not understand the paradox of sharing and open source: that what you give away will benefit yourself in the end, both in knowledge and in the bottom line perspective. I think the ones who goes out and at least talks about the options and share (at least some of) what they know will be the winners in the long run.

    A few months ago, someone showed a link to a short overview presentation of how to make wetplates. This was available over the internet for all to see. Although it was short and not in-depth, it made some steps in the process clearer to me. Sometimes a film sequence says a lot more than a chapter of words.

    Why not use shorter, filmed overviews, for example together with a .pdf book made available on the net, for a sum - with the films showing the more complex steps? Couple this with selling bottled or pre-measured dry products on the same site.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  2. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Reed View Post
    As the author of the tome, can I put in a few pennorth. There are some members here trying to convey the situation of current emulsion technology, but most people don't seem to be getting it. The modern materials we have all been taking for granted come from a century and a half of industrial research, mainly kept out of the public domain, which has resulted in a technology of labyrinthine complexity. Secrecy has been fundamental to it's progress, and altruism has never come into it.

    As an example, Kentmere in their early years were approached by an amateur emulsion maker who had devised a formula which had some characteristics superior to some of their own recipes. In order to use his invention he was given his own laboratory on the site in which to make the emulsion; Kentmere staff were not privy to the formula, and the emulsion maker was not allowed into the coating plant in case he gained an advantage in knowledge of coating.

    If all the large emulsion-based manufacturers ceased, any new small enterprises would still largely have to re-invent this particular wheel. The resulting materials would probably be more basic in quality and speed than those we have become accustomed to, but if we want to work with emulsion paper and film then we would have to accept them for what they are, and work within their characteristics (work with the grain!).
    When we did the 'Silver Gelatin' book, I experimented with coating 8x10" glass plates using both commercial print emulsion and home-made recipes. Technically they certainly couldn't compare with TriX, but the elation of conquering the limitations to create a unique image made up for that.

    Please explain to me like I'm a 5 year-old because I'm just one of those who know nothing about the secrecy (trade secrets) you are talking about. So what happens to a coating plant facility when another company dies? If they don't sell out their equipment, are they going to destroy it completely and act as if nothing has happened? Is there a way to buy the ceased equipment from them and recruit the staff with the literature as well?

    Should we consider applying UESCO's World Heritage program or something to lock down the location and save the coating plant that has provided materials to establish the photo cultures in the modern history? Is there a way to make another dying or dead company with its property somehow more public? I mean UNESCO thing is a joke, but if there's something that helps to preserve it as a public property, what will that be?

  3. #83
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    Wet & Dry

    Talking small scale coating leads to a dichotomy - while self-coating is certainly possible with emulsion it is difficult and time consuming, and for practical purposes really only suitable for scaling up to an industrial process, which is where Alfred Harman (Ilford) came in. So self coating leads inexorably back to wet plates - are we seriously going to go back to that on a broad front?

  4. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker View Post
    So what happens to a coating plant facility when another company dies? If they don't sell out their equipment, are they going to destroy it completely and act as if nothing has happened?
    Most probably all is lost, Photo Engineer has gone into this quite a bit (see Forte thread now closed). If there is no financial gain the emulsion formula stays locked up until it is destroyed or lost. Kentmere used to make a POP until maybe the 1950's, but when they started making again for Chicago Albumen that formula could not be found, and they used a recipe supplied to them. Maybe something good occasionally happens, eg there is some talk of Kentmere aquiring the Forte Polywarmtone formulations.

  5. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Reed View Post
    So self coating leads inexorably back to wet plates - are we seriously going to go back to that on a broad front?
    I'll do it if I have to. If I can buy stuff instead, with a good enough quality I prefer that, of course.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  6. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Reed View Post
    If all the large emulsion-based manufacturers ceased...
    I think this is the key point which a lot of posters on this thread are disregarding - as yet they have not. If we want quality materials to be available to "future generations" of traditional photographers it is in our best interests to keep these manufacturers going.

    There's nothing wrong with having a Plan B, but while Plan A is still viable (as it is) for God's sake let's make the most of it.

    For positive suggestions on easy ways we can do this see my post 'way back at the bottom of page four of this thread.
    The destination is important, but so is the journey

  7. #87

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankB View Post
    I think this is the key point which a lot of posters on this thread are disregarding - as yet they have not. If we want quality materials to be available to "future generations" of traditional photographers it is in our best interests to keep these manufacturers going.

    There's nothing wrong with having a Plan B, but while Plan A is still viable (as it is) for God's sake let's make the most of it.

    For positive suggestions on easy ways we can do this see my post 'way back at the bottom of page four of this thread.
    Like I said, people need to BUY the materials or they will be gone. It is that simple!

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjsphoto View Post
    Like I said, people need to BUY the materials or they will be gone. It is that simple!
    To assume all materials will go is playing devils advocate.
    But perhaps we need to qualify what materials we're talking about; colour materials are by far the most complex in formulation and construction, and rely on the continuation of a sizeable mass market - it's doubtful if we would want to pay the price if this came down to a tiny niche. Or indeed if a company with the necessary resouces would opt to continue, witness the withdrawal of Konica.
    Monochrome is a different issue - Ilford has already been forced through the downsizing process, and judging by the good accounts they're showing has stabilised with this bottomed-out market, which already IS a niche. Even if further decline does occur, I think we can assume the continuation of quality monochrome materials from a number of players.

  9. #89

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankB View Post
    For positive suggestions on easy ways we can do this see my post 'way back at the bottom of page four of this thread.
    I agree, but your suggestions are only for creating the demand, I think. We need the supply, and that's what we've been discussing. My suggestion is to take over one coating plant or whatever the minimum set of producing film and paper in popular formats and sizes is. And we sell some portion of our finished products back to the manufacturers and other sellers. Otherwise we'll likely have to fight over a small piece of a pie to share.

    Now, how can we do this with all the APUG members and more people from the outside? How can we approach the people who want to join us on this venture but have no way of knowing this film photography community exists? How can we reach them?

    One dilemma I have obviously that I'm one of the only half a dozen APUGers currently living in Japan. Only half a dozen of us from Japan? I thought many Japanese people carry cameras and they take pictures all the time... Where are they? Okay, I've been doing my best to have them come check this site, but maybe the language issue is the real issue for them to not participate here, I don't know. But my point is that we can recruit as many people as we want to and grow this community to the level that we make an impact and become more independent.

    We need to start to get rid of our manufacturer-dependent attitude. I know this sounds unrealistic, but I think the only way we have more control over the situation is for us to actually get our hands on the business, but the one for non-profit to not overdo. We have to be the one to be able to make the decisions to influence and sustain the market, otherwise, we will endlessly suffer from some sleep deprivation.

  10. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by firecracker View Post
    ....
    We need to start to get rid of our manufacturer-dependent attitude. I know this sounds unrealistic, but I think the only way we have more control over the situation is for us to actually get our hands on the business, but the one for non-profit to not overdo. We have to be the one to be able to make the decisions to influence and sustain the market, otherwise, we will endlessly suffer from some sleep deprivation.
    The nearest we'll ever get to that is with Ilford - for once there is a company run by 6 directors who know emulsion materials inside out, and worked their way up from the bottom in the original company. Forget about workers co-operatives, these products are too complex to make as a hobby or part-time career. And profit is the enabling force.

    A few years ago I researched Autochrome, and went some way down the road to recreating it, as far as getting the dyed starch to just (barely) reproduce the colours from a Macbeth colour checker (see Ag Magazine, about 5 years ago). I found out enough to know that it could be recreated, but it would take the rest of my life, and the cost would be colossal and open-ended.

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