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  1. #1
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    A question about future generations

    Here is a fact. Even with the original equipment, no one has been able to reproduce Autochrome. No one! I have talked to several experts in the field and they all agree. And the reason is that too much of the operation was art that was kept secret (trade secrets if you will).

    That is the case today with ordinary film and paper products as I have pointed out in other threads.

    I see posts here regarding 'doom and gloom' and 'product availability' which elicit the response "How Much Do I Have To Stock Up On To See Me Through My Life Time" (caps for emphasis).

    This is a very very circumscribed view of the hobby, because by that statement those that make it are relegating future generations to digital if film vanishes and if we use up existing stocks.

    Now, film is not going to vanish for a few years yet, if ever, but like Autochromes it very well may unless we prepare for the future.

    This all goes back to a conversation I had last night on Chat with Jon. It seems as if we talk a lot, and most of the action centers around hoarding. I am throwing this out in the Product Availability forum for general comment to see what can be done to change this attitude.

    As responsible APUG members we should look to future generations as well as ourselves. Pay Forward, I believe it is called. What say you? How can we take actions today to assure that film is available to generations beyond ours. You know I am doing something, but what can we do as a responsible group?

    PE

  2. #2
    Shinnya's Avatar
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    Ron,

    What can we do? Or even what can I do? That has been always my question!

    Any insight? I mean seriously.

    Tsuyoshi
    Last edited by Shinnya; 01-19-2007 at 12:34 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    ----- P R O J E C T B A S H O -----
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  3. #3
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Photo Engineer View Post
    Here is a fact. Even with the original equipment, no one has been able to reproduce Autochrome. No one! I have talked to several experts in the field and they all agree. And the reason is that too much of the operation was art that was kept secret (trade secrets if you will).

    That is the case today with ordinary film and paper products as I have pointed out in other threads.

    I see posts here regarding 'doom and gloom' and 'product availability' which elicit the response "How Much Do I Have To Stock Up On To See Me Through My Life Time" (caps for emphasis).

    This is a very very circumscribed view of the hobby, because by that statement those that make it are relegating future generations to digital if film vanishes and if we use up existing stocks.

    Now, film is not going to vanish for a few years yet, if ever, but like Autochromes it very well may unless we prepare for the future.

    This all goes back to a conversation I had last night on Chat with Jon. It seems as if we talk a lot, and most of the action centers around hoarding. I am throwing this out in the Product Availability forum for general comment to see what can be done to change this attitude.

    As responsible APUG members we should look to future generations as well as ourselves. Pay Forward, I believe it is called. What say you? How can we take actions today to assure that film is available to generations beyond ours. You know I am doing something, but what can we do as a responsible group?

    PE
    Hi Ron,

    I very much value your experience and insights, I'm very greatful that you are a contributor to this board.

    In the poll I posted regarding Forte Polywarmtone, and if to hoard a supply, or find a replacement, 85% of the respondents chose to use a new product with an in business company, rather than hoard.
    That is the number one thing we can do- keep consuming products, and keep teaching and helping the younger photographers over the hump, leaving the magic bullet d* mentality to become thoughtful producers of consistently excellent work.

    Its my opinion that the demise of Agfa, and now Forte, while tragic, helps to consolidate what market there is among the remaining players.

    It would be very cool if some of the defuct operations saw fit to disclose some information to the other players, or public at large, for instance I would love for Ilford to produce some "old fashioned" products like polywarmtone, with Ilford QC- I won't hold my breath on them getting the information though.
    Last edited by JBrunner; 01-19-2007 at 03:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Right out of my head, so take it for what it is:

    1. Use APUG as a repository for ways to make the different processes available, in their technical and artistical aspects.
    2. Open source and if possible reverse-engineer needed things.
    3. Gather more information, and use that as a base to maintain or improve the analog. Especially when it comes to practical "how did you do that" this is vitally important. As with the Autochrome, there are many things we take for granted in our ways of handling film.

    By discussing (sometimes endlessly) different approaches, we keep the knowledge alive. But I also believe one should ask oneself: how much time, money and tinkering can I spend on the things I am interested in? I am prepared to go back to wetplate stuff. I think there are quite a lot of people who rather would get out of it alltogether, if it came to that point.

    The real problem is that digital is wiping out the whole analog ecosystem, and I mean just about everything, from cameras, filmholders, film types, storage solutions and a huge amount of things one really don't think about until you talk to some foppish salesperson who declares the things you want dead, gone and not even worth looking for. We need to save this ecosystem, or else make a new one, with the knowledge and user base that we have today.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  5. #5
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    Get Bill Gates (or at least the director of his charity) interested in B+W photography?

  6. #6
    Photo Engineer's Avatar
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    These are all useful insights that we should take under consideration.

    BTW, I'm not looking for kudos, I'm looking for answers that do not try to make engineers and chemists out of us.

    I would like to point out that even wetplate takes some 'engineering' and yet with the amount in the work I do, Denise Ross is able to not only make emulsions, but 'engineer' new variations to suit her tastes.

    So, something can be done by taking a number of routes. I want to try to uncover and document and implement as many as possible.

    Sean, you there yet? Well, its 7am in NZ. I should give him a bit to chime in with his 0.02 NZ.

    PE

  7. #7
    Jerevan's Avatar
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    Another idea is to try to make emulsions available (film and paper) mixed-up in bottles, like the liquid emulsions that already exist, but also try to make available some kind of support for the film emulsion. To have a stable, well-working emulsion together with this film base would probably enable a lot more people to continue working, than if we had to go back to wetplate. To be honest, I really think that if there is a will, there is a way to get something viable and useable working.
    “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity.” - Lao Tzu

  8. #8
    reellis67's Avatar
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    It seems counter-productive to long term availability of any given product to create large hoards until it is resonably certain that the supply will no longer be available, and even then, as J stated, this will still impact the existing producers of similar products. Bulk purchases for hoarding create a surge in demand followed by a long dearth of demand. When dealing with a supplier that may be working on a narrow margin of profitability, this drop in demand could push them over the edge and precipitate a premature demise of their product. It would seem to me that to better ensure the viability of a product in the long term we should buy what we need on a regular basis, therby creating a more even demand. This would, at least in theory, do two things; 1) Allow for a better estimate of demand, and 2) Because demand is more even, materials and equipment could be managed in a more cost efficient manner by the producer. Obviously this would only work if it were the general trend rather than just a couple of people going against the grain, but you asked what we thought. Hell, I don't know that much about marketing, so I could be totaly off base here, but it makes sense to me.

    - Randy
    Last edited by reellis67; 01-19-2007 at 01:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Hi Ron

    Strange you mention Autochromes, back in the mid to late 70's when I was beginning to manufacturing B&W emulsions I had a lot of contact with a photographer/consultant who's mother came from the Lumiere family.

    There's something unique about the Autochrome process and the few print I've seen made from Autochrome plates are amazing in the colour reproduction, more natural than anything since.

    Ian

  10. #10
    arigram's Avatar
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    We just need to organise a huge conferance where the youth of today is hand picked to select the most intelligent, athletic and sexually vigorous of them, then impregnate them with the doctrines of analog photography through the use of good ol' propaganda and brain washing.
    aristotelis grammatikakis
    www.arigram.gr
    Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
    no digital additives and shit




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