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  1. #1
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Mentor a newbie today!

    Maybe it is time we gave back to the community. We've spent all of these years learning about our craft. We could pass it along to our kids... assuming they want it. But what happens when your children don't want to learn the craft of photography?

    This is the case with me. To create a little positive karma, I've found a film newbie (heavy into digital) who is EXCITED about learning film. I've opened my darkroom to him to use for all things film. In addition, I've committed to spend whatever time he wants to transfer the knowledge. Last night, I spent 2 hours teaching him to load his new 100' roll of Tri-X into cannisters, loading his camera, learning how to use the shutter-priority AE-1 system, load exposed film into a stainless steel dev tank, and developing a roll.

    I gained nothing but the satisfaction of planting another seed. This kid may wind up being a faithful Kodak consumer, and another reason for the Great Yellow Father to keep making film.

    Does anyone else have a story like this? If not, would you be willing to take on a mentor's role for a kid in your social circle? I'd love to hear about it.

  2. #2

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    Closest thing I have is the story of me taking a film photo class in school and being (unfortunately) the only one who did anything. The only time I wasn't developing film in that class or making prints in the darkroom was, ironically, the days on which projects were due. This occurred because while I was carefully selecting my next negative from dozens of rolls of film, the rest of my classmates were rushing into the darkroom. We ran out of enlargers. When I started doing medium format, however, I got to use the only enlarger that would take the negatives (an omega D2, as opposed to the tiny beselers I'd been using before), and I could do just about whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

    For the most part, I wasn't mentored, however. The teacher I had is an incredible man as far as photography goes, but I'm the kind of person that likes to explore by myself.

  3. #3
    SchwinnParamount's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thisismyname09 View Post
    Closest thing I have is the story of me taking a film photo class in school and being (unfortunately) the only one who did anything. The only time I wasn't developing film in that class or making prints in the darkroom was, ironically, the days on which projects were due. This occurred because while I was carefully selecting my next negative from dozens of rolls of film, the rest of my classmates were rushing into the darkroom. We ran out of enlargers. When I started doing medium format, however, I got to use the only enlarger that would take the negatives (an omega D2, as opposed to the tiny beselers I'd been using before), and I could do just about whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.

    For the most part, I wasn't mentored, however. The teacher I had is an incredible man as far as photography goes, but I'm the kind of person that likes to explore by myself.
    Yeah, I learned the same way. I've spent the last 25 years exploring. There were times though, when I would have benefitted from a mentor. I've made mistakes that either I didn't know I was making or knew but took forever to correct. A mentor could have shown me the error and helped me find a solution.

    The local high school still had a film class as of 3 years ago. The teacher retired and they wouldn't replace him. I volunteered to come and teach the class for lunch money but the teacher's union wouldn't have it. Surely, I would have had a class full of kids who were mildly interested... but doubtless I'd have had at least one student like you. And that would have made it all worth my time.

  4. #4
    Leighgion's Avatar
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    I'd be completely willing to do such a thing within the limits of my capabilities, but I live in a very small community. There are no such interested younglings in evidence, and even in this tiny place I've lived for so many years, I'm not really the best one to ferret out such folk. Even in in the local camera club, where over 90% of the members are many years my senior, digital has ruled the day. There's maybe two others who regularly shoot film, and they're not very regular attendees. Somehow, as one of the youngest three regulars, I've become the aberration who still shoots film. Which is hilarious considering I've also a nicer digital rig than most of the club.

    I have benefited from a mentor of sorts, but it's been a very twenty-first century kind of relationship. She lives many states away, we have never met or even spoken on the phone, but it's no exaggeration to say that if it weren't for her, I might have dropped out of hobby photography entirely, even digital. I learned a number of invaluable things from her that I might never have gotten around to left on my own (and as previously outlined, there sure wasn't any mentoring to be had locally) and it was certainly because of this that I started shooting film.

  5. #5
    Akki14's Avatar
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    I think this is why I'm getting my uncle's photography stuff. He loves seeing it used and his kids aren't interested in the slightest. And in the end he does like to see what I make with the cameras and that's always been a "requirement" for getting any more cameras from him
    And my husband's workplace, a local college here in the outskirts of London, is rebuilding their main site... and they've included shiny new darkrooms in the design! They're very specific in their teaching, their entry level courses are usually film and it's only their adult courses that are pure theotherthing....
    ~Heather
    oooh shiny!
    http://www.stargazy.org/

  6. #6
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SchwinnParamount View Post
    This is the case with me. To create a little positive karma, I've found a film newbie (heavy into digital) who is EXCITED about learning film.
    I have done the same thing with an 18 year old on another forum. I even gave him a spare Kodak Retinette 1b as he liked the look of one another member posted an image of and I have helped out with other advice.

    I wouldn't go as far as calling myself a mentor though.


    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.

  7. #7
    Wade D's Avatar
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    I wouldn't call myself a mentor either but when I set up my 4x5 in a public place I usually get many questions from bystanders. I try to enlighten them to the fact that film is still a viable medium. Hopefully they walk away with a better understanding of what photography is beyond the snapshot mentality.

  8. #8
    Christopher Walrath's Avatar
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    There's a mentoring program over on The Photo Forum where advanced photographers place their names, bios, skills/strengths and what they could offer into a thread and they are approached by fledgling photographers on the site to get focused help and advice. (Interestingly enough, all but one of the mentors are film photographers) There are only eight or nine mentors thus far. I was one initially but had to withdraw when CiM landed in my lap. Seems to be going well. One photographer warned about the responsibility of being a mentor and posted a link to a 'mentor guidelines' kind of thing on the web that really made some great points. Here A great read for anyone considering becoming a mentor. It is a huge responsibility to place yourself out there as someone who can help, more than the passing advice to get someone over a hump. But the rewards are so fantastic.
    Thank you.
    CWalrath
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    "Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti

  9. #9
    rusty_tripod's Avatar
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    Each school year I sponsor a photo club using 35mm film cameras. Students shoot in color and black and white. Legal fears do not allow me to do darkroom with them, but the get to experience film imagery. After shooting, images are scanned so they can use them in reports and Power Point presentations. They are also used to create a school yearbook. Plus, these students become the "paparrazi" for different school activities and assemblies. They move from point and shoot cameras to SLRs.
    "I, in humility, am willing to learn, when you, in humility, are ready to teach." Rusty Tripod

  10. #10
    delphine's Avatar
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    I am a member of a digi photo group here in London... I am not sure whether I come across as a Joan of Arc or a lunatic with them at times, but I get an immense sense of achievement and satisfaction organizing thematic analog meets for them, be they toy camera meets, film processing, mf shoot or coming up a kodachrome tribute.
    The best reward is seeing people who discover film photography because they are so guttingly young that they were almost born with a digi SLR in their hands, take the plunge on the darkside and find themselves deep rooted to the ground with the best of both worlds in their hands.

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