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  1. #1

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    Going back to real photography

    I am on the brink of returning to my darkroom,the dark, the developers and the smell of fixer. Digital is magic and can result in stunning pictures but they are not the product of my skill. I will never forget my first print emerging in the tray, and my first good print some time later.
    I am in awe of the vast knowledge of subscribers on this site and wonder why they stick to this peculiar, messy long winded method of making pictures ?

  2. #61

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    I do it because I can make my own cameras, and get results (not always the results I want, but results all the same!

    I can't do that with digital.
    Creative Image Maker e-magazine is back! Find out more at http://creativeimagemaker.blogspot.com

    Thank you.

  3. #62
    Black Dog's Avatar
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    I've been everywhere ooooohhh yeaahhhh still I'm standing tall.
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    With a fistful of silver

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post
    Excellent analysis.

    Having written sofware professionally for the last 20+ years I am acutely aware of the degree to which my design and implementation choices can and do limit the end user's choices, often intentionally.

    For example, I much prefer implementing a dodge or burn by physically casting shadows in the projected enlarger light using my hands, rather than simply clicking a mouse to execute some nameless programmer's algorithm which merely simulates his interpretation of that reality.

    But that's just me...

    Ken
    And me, and many more!
    "He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.

  4. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    ...
    Why do great guitar players "stick to" 50 year old Strats and tube amps?
    Why do violin players stick with 400 year old Strads?

    I just had my old Washburn parlor guitar, one that I've owned for 50 of its 100+ years, brought back to perfect playing condition by a luthier who does restorations for museums. I can't even really play. I can't, in fact, really afford what it cost me to turn this instrument, which I purchased in 1961 for $8, into something I'd have to fight to keep the collectors from stealing. I just love a REAL instrument. Can't keep my hands off of it. The guitar deserves to be what it really is, and, at 24,900+ days old, I'm going to take lessons. Over the many years, my bond with the instrument has become like a marriage.

    Photography is like that too. I may be an anachronism. In fact, I'm sure I am. I have spent my life building not only these skills but the sensibility that one needs to employ them to fully express what they make possible. I had my fling with digital, and it was fun, but am I to sacrifice the fruits of my long and passionate labors, and love, to become a beginner again in a medium that requires so little? Just like every other clicker? Commit myself to the easy, the mediocre?

    Digital has its uses, things it does really well, and I will happily use it for those purposes. I do love how efficient it is at accumulating images. But even that is a problem. I have issues with my own addiction to accumulation, and too many images make a big mess, just like all those old enlargers I ought to get rid of.

    Today I was out in the trailer I use for a darkroom, making a print, and I loved doing it. I do not love sitting in front of a computer. Were I still working commercially, I would have to do that, because you really can't make a living if you don't these days. It's a job. You know, J-O-B. Since I'm "retired" now, I don't have to do that.

    I will do what I want to do now. What feels good to me is film, paper, and chemicals. What looks best to me is a silver (or carbon, or platinum, etc.) print. Not entirely though; a long time color printer, I'll never make another C print. I will scan the film and print it on an exquisite paper with my ink jet printer - because I like the prints better. That is a real improvement. Not so with black and white, which is most of my work these days. But, did I not say "I will scan the film"?

    You know, not everyone can do this work. I can, and I do it pretty well. It's a rare thing, and it's what I am here to do. I have built myself to do it. It was a lot of work, a lot of love.

    I did that. I'll stop when I stop everything else.

  5. #64
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I just do what I love.

    Recently I emerged from a one year and some odd months long hiatus from the magic of printing in a darkroom. Having been forced to employ film scanning and inkjet printing to make my prints it was a sigh of relief to not have to anymore. As much as I liked the results from the inkjet, I just couldn't bring myself to love the process.
    I am sorry, but it is a stale, clinical, and boring way of making photographs, with much too much of the real knowledge behind what actually happens is left to reside with those that designed the machines. And, I am appalled at the cost for keeping such a system running. The cost, for me, to come up with a good print was at least twice what I can manage in the darkroom, especially if time is taken into account.

    Not printing in the darkroom also meant that I couldn't see the full circle of what happens after I process my film. In the year that went by, I shot at least 300 rolls of film. None of them printed or even made contact sheets of. This meant I lost touch with my ability to consistently create negatives that print with ease at a single grade of paper, because the scanner lied to me about my exposures; I lost that edge.

    Just do what you love. Forget about the rest.
    "Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank

    "Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman

    "...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh

  6. #65

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    This has been a fascinating read for me. I'm just getting started with photography, aside from point and shoot stuff. I've done a great deal of reading and thinking, and digital really has no allure for me. Like others here, I work on a computer all day (software development), and can't really look forward to using one for a hobby. I'm hoping to be developing my own b&w film in a couple months, and printing in a darkroom by this time next year.

    I have no problem with digital cameras, photographs, or photographers. To each his own. I look forward to seeing what I can do with a camera, film, etc. I have no interest in using Photoshop (et al) as a part of that process.

    Pete

  7. #66

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    for me digital is a great tool but film is an art plus the cost of a dslr is stupid

    plus i do love putting the film in and so on however i cant get the HD images i could with my digital i had
    but i think thats more me than camera

    i think that digital makes you lazy in a way as you can take 500 shots and then delete the rubbish ones

    with film you take more time to pick your shot and think more about what your shooting for me
    the best way i can describe it is its like being a lord of time i can freeze it take a moment that will never ever be seen again

    a cloud a sunset a bird and when i look at others old photos im going back in time and seeing what that person see

    for me its like magic now i have said this before and an old photographer said im a natural photographer lol dont know if thats true but as long as i can get 35mm film ill use it

    im 35 and iv grown up with tech but the magic of the 35mm film camera is still a powerful spell
    Leave nothing but footprints.Kill nothing but time.

  8. #67
    Portellini's Avatar
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    Well, I don't use the darkroom. Never bothered to learn traditional . I worked in a lab for 4 years and learned a lot about the automated process. Nevertheless, I tried once the darkroom stuff and found it boring. What I love about photography and specially analog is that you just need a film roll and an ancient camera to produce stunning pictures. Cameras that most people will throw away. I discovered this when I began to see manual film cameras like Canon A-1 and Nikon FM being sold for 60 euros, the equivalent for 40 bucks.

    True lovers of photography find the magic to understand the craft of producing images with old equipment. Automated cameras, although they're effective to produce work that needs to be done quickly (such as my Mamiya 645 AF), there is no doubt that an ancient camera is a magical tool nowadays.

  9. #68
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    Film photography in any shape or form, from 35mm to ULF relies on experience, judgement and skill to obtain the results you want using an holistic approch: visual arrangement, conception, processing and printing; you know what you want, can place the result within several matrices of probability and likelihood and feel confident about achieving the result — all through a vast storehouse of experience that only film can provide. Too many digimons (who have no foundation knowledge in traditional photography) do not grasp this and insist, often very loudly, that they are better photographers (etc, etc.). I have long since given up trying to get the message across with them firing back Church of Scientology-style, "film died long ago, do you hear me, get a life!". Pffft—!
    .::Gary Rowan Higgins

    A comfort zone is a wonderful place. But nothing ever grows there.
    —Anon.






  10. #69
    Black Dog's Avatar
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    Yes, I've encountered that attitude SO many times....maybe it's a sign of insecurity..
    "He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.

  11. #70
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Henderson View Post
    Why do great guitar players "stick to" 50 year old Strats and tube amps?
    Because they are crazy! The hollow body is the king of the electric guitar - preferably with Gretsch on the headstock!

    I find it quite strange that despite being a builder of valve (tube) based audio equipment, my normal gigging amplifier is a Line 6 solid state amp with tons of software to make it sound like a collection of classic valve amps. It is actually very good but I am currently building a small valve amplifier to use for smaller gigs to re-dress the balance.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.



 

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