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  1. #71
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    I don't see how Bob's advice is "crapping on knowledge and techniques". Making 300 prints, over 3 days, will certainly impart a good deal of knowledge, as well as honing techniques.
    Quantity does not equate to quality.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #72
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    Of course not, Clive. But, the repetition, and attention to what they're doing will serve a beginner well.

  3. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by eddie View Post
    Of course not, Clive. But, the repetition, and attention to what they're doing will serve a beginner well.
    True.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  4. #74

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    Eddie, I'm sure Bob is a fine printer, but that doesn't mean there isn't value in techniques like masking, or value in the knowledge acquired in the study of things like sensitometry. These things can all be useful. I understand that for Bob printing is a kind of "zen" dance. This does not mean other approaches are any less effective, efficient or artistic. We have plenty of evidence for that. In the end, the approach and degree of complexity should serve the visualized print. Depending on the subject matter and the aesthetic preferences of the printer, there just isn't always an easy or simple way to get there, regardless of how many millions of prints you've made and how many years of experience you have.

    Sometimes printing is hard work. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion, and nothing wrong with developing as many tools as one can either. Combine all that and you have a lot of power.
    Last edited by Michael R 1974; 09-21-2013 at 06:27 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #75
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    Michael- I agree there's value in masking, and an understanding of sensitometry. I just don't see them having much value to a beginner.

    When I first started (40+ years ago), if someone had said I needed to know how to do those things, I probably would have ditched it. It was enough to see the magic of an image forming in the developer. My first prints were various shades of grays. I knew they didn't look right, so I learned about contrast filtration. Suddenly, my prints looked better, but certain areas of them had too much (or too little) exposure, so I learned about dodging/burning. It wasn't until I was able to make a passable print that I became interested in furthering my knowledge, and learned about masking, sensitometry, ZS, etc. But, by then, the passion had set in, and I knew photography would be a lifetime pursuit. My guess is my journey is shared by the vast majority of members, here. Throwing advanced techniques at beginners is a sure-fire way to scare many of them away.

  6. #76

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    I don't disagree. Even at an advanced and experienced level, skilled burning/dodging (sometimes with different filters) is usually all that is required. Specialized techniques are usually reserved for specific situations. And depending on the subject matter and your aesthetic preferences, you might never need complicated techniques. Certainly a beginner shouldn't concern himself with things like masking. I don't even think split grade printing should be taught to a beginner.

    But the impression I get from Bob's posts is that this has less to do with the experience level of the printer, and more to do with time-consuming/complex procedures, masking, printing maps etc. being silly PERIOD. This I cannot agree with. And there is just too much evidence this isn't true.

  7. #77
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    Michael- I thought Bob's original post was based on teaching beginners. Much of it I agree with, while a few don't work for me. But, I think that's the whole point. Darkroom work is a vast, wonderful world. Everyone's expectations, and desires, are different. That's the beauty of this pursuit. One never stops learning. After 4 decades, I'm still learning. In fact, every new thing I learn makes me aware of two things I haven't learned. Gotta love it...

  8. #78

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    while specialized techniques ( masking, densitometry, sensitometry ) may be valuable to a printer
    they are not simple techniques that someone starting out in photography needs to know. i've been making prints
    since around 1980-1981 and to be honest i have never learned about densitometry + sensitometry. to me they sound
    like subjects to learn about to have deep conversations with other photographers about log curves &c,
    ... not the kind of things that will help someone just learning how to print.
    like bob, i also worked for a portrait photographer and made prints from 8am-5m almost day monday - friday, and sometimes saturday
    for about 10-11 months. i did take 15 mins - 1/2 off for lunch and and between 9-10 time to process about 100-200 sheets of film ( 5x7 ) daily as well.
    there is nothing like making prints to teach you how to make prints ..
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
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    PM me for details

  9. #79

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    John, if it was about beginner vs advanced I'd have no beef with it. But this stems from the other thread with the printing maps. Bob was adamant printing maps are nonsense. Post 52 in this thread appears to be a continuation of that line of thought.

  10. #80
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    Hi Folks,

    Bob's post about 300 prints was a response to my question and I asked something fairly specific about dodging and burning. Even in my question I guessed that the main answer was going to be experience and practice, and I think Bob's answer to me confirmed that and I appreciate it.

    As for all the business of sensiometry and masking and other advanced techniques, I have no opinions. I do however have plans to make many more prints and I intend to enjoy doing it.

    Clive: quantity does not equate to quality, but working with a large number of diverse negatives, and with each one trying to to achieve what is desired as a focused exercise in trying to learn what works certainly would achieve a great deal. Something that goes along with this... some of this learning is not verbal: I'm not able always to *say* how I'd like my prints to improve, yet over the past year I've surely improved and am finding printing easier and more satisfying. I expect this to continue ( as I gain a greater quatity of experience and practice! )
    Last edited by NedL; 09-21-2013 at 08:57 PM. Click to view previous post history.

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