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  1. #1
    akfotog's Avatar
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    Film, A Dying Art, Really

    I've been debating this article all weekend with some of my former film, now devout digital friends. Seems they've given up entirely on the process, and while I agree that in journalism digital has become not only the norm, but a must, the use of film in other photographic genres lives on. Some say that film is hard to come by and expensive (I haven't run into any problems there), that no one has the time for darkroom processing, and that once they capture an image, they want it processed for immediate consumption. What do you think?

    http://theliteratelens.com/2012/02/1...room-printing/
    akfotog


    Seneca/National 8x10, Cambo SCX 4x5, Tachihara Wood Field 4x5, Busch Pressman 4x5, Mamiya RB67 Pro SD, Hasselblad 500 C/M, Mamiya M645 1000S, Nikon F5, Nikon F100, Nikon F4S, Nikon FM2 Chrome.

  2. #2
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    The article is about Darkroom printing as a dying art, not film specifically. There's journalists still shooting film but scanning their negatives and even photographers shooting digital but printing analog, Sebastian Salgado for instance.

    It's a new world and there's a fluid hybrid mix as well as analog 0r digital purists. So no film & darkroom printing aren't dead but just like we used to choose B&W, Colour neg or transparency or even Polaroid we now have even more choices.

    Ian

  3. #3

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    I think if anything it is making a comeback. Film use seems to be gaining interest with the younger crowd to a certain degree. And I also think that collectors that buy photography for hanging in their homes also are cognizant of the differences between an ink jet print and a hand made print in the darkroom and can see the subtle differences in the quality of the print and the feel of the paper.

    I can't imagine not being able to work in the darkroom because I am to busy. I have found some real easy ways to make time. Drag my butt away from the TV works well. I live out in the country so driving to a shop that carries darkroom supplies can easily take me an hour round trip. Solution? Again simple. I call Rob at Big Camera and give him my order. He puts in in a box or 2 and like magic it is here in a couple of days. Simple and saves me quite a bit of time driving around in traffic. As far as cost goes, in the long run I think in my particular world it is about a wash. When you add in the cost of fuel and the time, I'd rather have the delivery guy employed.

    I think film is far from dead. I think it is now actually more of an art. Don

  4. #4
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    I think that it's time to make more prints. The more of us that do that, the better our chances are.

    Everybody is so darned ADD these days, wanting everything now now now. Waiting for something good is a beautiful thing, and to slow down in anticipation. Patience, I think, breeds good art. The immediate feedback can be a detriment, because fast decisions are not always good ones.

    I also find that the slower process is beautiful because it forces us to pause between each of the steps and the process is mostly a tangible one. It's possible to rush a film through in a relatively short period of time and have a print ready, but the point here is that the human touch of placing the negative in the carrier, adjusting the easel, focusing the negative, inserting paper, using our own hands, fingers, and arms to work on the print exposure, and rocking trays to develop and tone our prints, adds a human element to the process. That is what I miss the most when I'm forced to work digitally. I do not enjoy it, because it feels so lacking of human interaction.
    Another aspect of the film based process is that you can't reverse many of the steps like you can in digital. If you don't like what you did in the layers when you edit digitally, you can just back track or start over. With film that's not possible. I thoroughly enjoy being on that knife's edge with one attempt to succeed or fail. That is exciting to me.

    Then everybody else can do what they think is exciting.
    "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

  5. #5

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    The consumer electronics industry is totally dependent upon the constant sugar high of people constantly needing the latest and greatest silly
    techie toy. They understand their own dilemma, and that's why they cultivate steamroller marketing campaigns. DLSR's yesterday, cell phones today, cell watch/phones before tomorrow, then camera-rings after that... no end in sight. It the life of Sisyphus. The next generation of kids will once again rebel, and turn against the geek culture of their couch-potato parents. I've already had plenty of kids ask to look behind the darkcloth of my 8x10, and almost everyone of them responds with, "cooool". The real need is for more darkrooms where people can learn how
    fun it all is.

  6. #6

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    living these days is difficult and expensive.
    try getting unprocessed / whole foods
    or foods without HFCS ... it costs a kings ransom ..

    photography is no different. sometimes things cost a bit more
    and take a bit more time to make.
    i agree with ian, there is a wonderful mix these days, someone with a camera
    ( electronic or non electronic ) has so many choices, prints made of ink
    prints made with silver, or iron or copper plate gravure ... the world of image making
    has opened up which is good and bad ..
    its good because of the new possibilities it gives us, and it is bad because what old school
    hard core purists might suggest is the death of their medium.
    there will be film and paper for a long time, and when the big companies stop making as much of it
    it will become more expensive. we are at about 1900 these days, and in some ways going backwards
    as well as 2013 going forwards ... people are cranky as upstarts are using roll film instead of glass plates
    and people are cranky as other upstarts enjoy immediate gratification ...

    i used to be cranky, now i don't really care ...
    and i try to cook food from scratch, and if i have to
    use something in a can or pouch, i don't fret..
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  7. #7
    darkosaric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    I think that it's time to make more prints.

    True. This weekend I am opening new box of Adox MCC 110 .

    BTW this is what I am saying to people who uses digital as well. My cousin had multiple hard disk failure (main and backup) - and only paper prints from his kids childhood remained. My neighbours daughter had even less luck - hard disk without backup died - no pictures of her baby. To add also - couple of weeks ago we looked at slides when my cousin was kid; 30-40 year old slides are like new.

  8. #8
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    The consumer electronics industry is totally dependent upon the constant sugar high of people constantly needing the latest and greatest silly techie toy. They understand their own dilemma, and that's why they cultivate steamroller marketing campaigns. DLSR's yesterday, cell phones today, cell watch/phones before tomorrow, then camera-rings after that... no end in sight.
    Lest we forget...

    MS iLoo



    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  9. #9
    akfotog's Avatar
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    Good input from all. I agree that it is "the instant gratification" of digital that appeals to this generation. Not sure about a lot of schools in the lower 48 states, but nearly all of our larger high schools and universities here still offer traditional photography courses, and I think that any student who takes the course will carry an appreciation for art with them for years to come.
    akfotog


    Seneca/National 8x10, Cambo SCX 4x5, Tachihara Wood Field 4x5, Busch Pressman 4x5, Mamiya RB67 Pro SD, Hasselblad 500 C/M, Mamiya M645 1000S, Nikon F5, Nikon F100, Nikon F4S, Nikon FM2 Chrome.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    They understand their own dilemma, and that's why they cultivate steamroller marketing campaigns. DLSR's yesterday, cell phones today, cell watch/phones before tomorrow, then camera-rings after that...
    i-watch cam ?

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