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  1. #31
    Jorge Oliveira's Avatar
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    This is, indeed, a very nice thread.
    I'm a 35mm only shooter, and my opinion has to be seen in this context.

    I do a Zone 1 test to determine real film speed for a film/dev/lightmeter combo, but I do not worry about 0.1 or 0.15 or whatever above B+F (as a matter of fact, I've never had access to a densitometer).
    Zone 1 for me is the least exposure that I can print in graded paper (Kodak fixed grade 3 - equivalent to European 2) and still see some difference from maximum black.

    From then on, using dilluted dev and agitation every 2 min (it used to be 1, went to 2), I fine tune my dev time so most of the prints are made in this normal grade paper without lots of dodge/burn.

    From there on, final contrast is done with VC paper/filters.

    I like the results.

    Jorge O
    Curitiba - nice place to live, if you don't care about the weather...

  2. #32
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce (Camclicker)

    With all respect to every member of APUG, I hold Picker in the lowest esteem possible. He was a man without vision, imagination or talent, but he sure could sell snake oil.

    Again, I mean no disrespect to anyone who finds him a god (small g). I just start ranting when his name is used in the same sentence with Adams.
    I don't really know much about him, but more than one person of accomplishment in the fine art photography world (Paula Chamlee and Paul Paletti, both of whose critical judgment I trust implicitly) has told me that his prints were magnificent. Not just good, but stunning. Shockingly good. Nothing at all like anything we've seen in the Zone VI catalogues or the books.

    As to commercialism, I can only speak from experience. I own three Zone VI products (a contact printing frame, a tripod and a modified Pentax spot meter) and all three are of the finest quality. Maybe not the best obtainable, but all three items represent outstanding value. They weren't cheap, but they've lasted about 15 years now and all function perfectly without ever needing repair. Maybe he did hype his products, but as Dizzy Dean was fond of saying: "If you did it, it ain't braggin'". In short, I think you're being unfair to someone who did a lot to promote the art of photography.

  3. #33
    Bruce Osgood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by c6h6o3
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce (Camclicker)

    With all respect to every member of APUG, I hold Picker in the lowest esteem possible. He was a man without vision, imagination or talent, but he sure could sell snake oil.

    Again, I mean no disrespect to anyone who finds him a god (small g). I just start ranting when his name is used in the same sentence with Adams.
    I don't really know much about him, but more than one person of accomplishment in the fine art photography world (Paula Chamlee and Paul Paletti, both of whose critical judgment I trust implicitly) has told me that his prints were magnificent. Not just good, but stunning. Shockingly good. Nothing at all like anything we've seen in the Zone VI catalogues or the books.

    As to commercialism, I can only speak from experience. I own three Zone VI products (a contact printing frame, a tripod and a modified Pentax spot meter) and all three are of the finest quality. Maybe not the best obtainable, but all three items represent outstanding value. They weren't cheap, but they've lasted about 15 years now and all function perfectly without ever needing repair. Maybe he did hype his products, but as Dizzy Dean was fond of saying: "If you did it, it ain't braggin'". In short, I think you're being unfair to someone who did a lot to promote the art of photography.
    I haven't seen his body of work, perhaps when next there is a public showing or a touring gallery of his work I will have the opportunity. I'm sure there are many fine art photographers and printers who admire his work. And perhaps that's as far as it goes. Admiration is a good thing. But collecting and displaying is better. The aforementioned Paul and Paula probably are represented in more galleries and private collections than Mr. Picker ever visited. But I have no idea as to how many galleries he visited. And yes, the products are good but they are only good. More expensive than they are good. I too own the Pentax Spot meter but without the Z VI modifications and you know what, it works just the same as a modified meter. I put a piece of masking tape on it indicate Zones more than 10 years ago and it's still there.
    I guess ignorance is bliss in my case.

    Kind regards

  4. #34
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    [quote="c6h6o3"]
    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce (Camclicker)

    With all respect to every member of APUG, I hold Picker in the lowest esteem possible. He was a man without vision, imagination or talent, but he sure could sell snake oil.

    Again, I mean no disrespect to anyone who finds him a god (small g). I just start ranting when his name is used in the same sentence with Adams.
    I don't really know much about him, but more than one person of accomplishment in the fine art photography world (Paula Chamlee and Paul Paletti, both of whose critical judgment I trust implicitly) has told me that his prints were magnificent. Not just good, but stunning. Shockingly good. Nothing at all like anything we've seen in the Zone VI catalogues or the books.

    I agree with Bruce on this one. I subscribed to the Picker Newsletters when he first published them and have to say that there is a lot of useful stuff in them but after a while they became a vehicle for Picker to promote his products and the good information dried up. I purchased a Picker print a couple of years after I started making photographs on the grounds that I needed a fine print as a reference point for my own work and couldn't afford an Ansel Adams print, incidently just as Picker said in his promotionial material to seel his prints. I still have it tucked away in a portfolio box and in my view it is considerably less that magnificent. I will not say that it is not a good print but magnificent, certainly not.

    Some of his products were good, I own two Zone VI VC Cold Cathode Enlargers, and think that they are the best although I saw the new version recently when I visited Richard Newman, a friend who works for Calumet and it is a very interesting concept. My understanding is that Picker had some good ideas but the actual design etc was carried out by other people.

    I think Picker was a good salesman with very limited talent and vision who recognised that there was a market place that had not been tapped and all credit to him for that. I believe that he was in fact a wine salesman before setting up Zone VI Workshops.

  5. #35

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    I encountered Fred's company back in the mid 80's. I think that when we talk about Fred we would benefit from recognizing that he was a multifaceted person.

    On the one hand we have Fred the visionary. He recognized the need for a good quality field camera at a time when manufacturers of these were in decline. He recognized problems in getting repeatable results from cold light heads. He ultimately recognized that photographers, such as myself, living in the hinterlands needed functional equipment. Yes, he did use other people in the process to design and to build this equipment. But then didn't Henry Ford, Bill Gates and others do the same thing?

    Now on to the matter of his marketing...hell if my livelihood and of those associated with me depended on getting the "stuff out the door"...you bet your booties that I would be hyping the stuff. But then I see a lot of companies spend lots of money hyping automobiles, digital cameras, and an assortment of other products as well. So what is the big deal here?

    Yes, I bought a reference print from Fred...(wish I could find it now). It may be worth more then I paid for it...probably not. But on to his prints...I have seen some of his work and it was quite good. Was it great? That begs the question in who's opinion. Someone once told me that opinions are kind of like one of our bodily orifices...we all have one.

    Heck I was a farmer, an old field worker, a salesman, and a business owner...do those qualify me more or less as a photographer then a "wine salesman"? Maybe we all need to be concert pianists, accountants, and all of the other appropriate formative occupations in order to be "great photographers".

    Fred was a human being...had some glitches and warts...had some damn fine traits...kind of a mixed bag...like you and me.

  6. #36

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    Well said Donald..
    Mike C

    Rambles

  7. #37

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    Yes, Very well said. Or, as Fred might say. "Different is not the same".

  8. #38
    Joe Lipka's Avatar
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    It's interesting how these threads mutate as comments are added. Ol' Fred said that the zs was of primary help to Ansel Adams, Minor White and himself. Of the three, his explanations were the simplest and clearest. Thus, the source of his good fortune.

    I received the latest Calumet catalog this week. On the back was a full color advertisement for, and I quote, "Brilliant, a name synonymouse with traditional, silver-halide fine-art papers, is now proudly applied to a new line for world-class-quality digial media."

    Brilliant inkjet paper. The apocolypse is upon us....
    Two New Projects! Light on China - 07/13/2014

    www.joelipkaphoto.com

    250+ posts and still blogging! "Postcards from the Creative Journey"

    http://blog.joelipkaphoto.com/

  9. #39
    c6h6o3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Les McLean
    I purchased a Picker print a couple of years after I started making photographs on the grounds that I needed a fine print as a reference point for my own work and couldn't afford an Ansel Adams print, incidently just as Picker said in his promotionial material to seel his prints.
    The reference prints don't count. I wasn't referring to those. They were not, as you correctly point out, even close to fine. And I haven't seen the ones I'm talking about personally. I'm only relaying what others have told me. Paul Strand also thought his work was very fine, as Picker seemed endlessly to have kept reminding us. So there must have been something there.

  10. #40
    Les McLean's Avatar
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    c6h603 wrote:
    The reference prints don't count. I wasn't referring to those. They were not, as you correctly point out, even close to fine.

    Picker sold these prints as "fine prints" and if they did not count as you suggest then in my book Picker was guilty of deception. His sales pitch was that we should all have a fine print hanging on the wall as a reference point and because we couldn't afford a print by Adams he offered a "fine print" at an affordable price.

    You may think that I'm anti Picker but that is not the case. I think he simplified the Zone System and made it understandable for many photographers. He had the business vision and drive to build a very successful photographic company that helped many photographers, myself included. He was responsible for having the ideas to develop better materials, the excellent Brilliant paper, equipment the Zone VI VC Enlarger and services for the serious black and white photographer, so please don't think that I'm just knocking the man. I do question his ethics, the "fine print" discussed here is one example.

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