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  1. #41
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    It's like anything else - the basic principles of silver halide photography, from a user standpoint, are very uncomplicated. But it's like chess - a minute to learn, and a lifetime to master.

    When people come to forums like APUG, they all have varying degrees of skill, anticipation, and expectation. People already on here have varying degrees of skill, anticipation, and expectation. When a novice has access to all that was ever written on APUG, where very serious darkroom users argue about minutiae, of course it's going to seem difficult. How is a novice going to be able to distinguish between what's 'beginner stuff' and what's for 'really freaking advanced darkroom work'? That's right - they can not.

    So, access to information, and people with information is infinitely easier today than it was 20 or 50 years ago. It's good that we can all hang out online and discuss things, but it's bad because for a beginner it is simply information overload.

    Film photography is no more difficult now than it was 20 years ago. It is basically the same. If we gave a student access only to a couple of beginner's publications from Ilford or Kodak, gave them a camera and equipment, and some time to go through the process with a little bit of aid in showing basic things like loading film, operating the enlarger, etc - we would see people realizing that getting the basics is not difficult at all. That is how people would learn.

    Today they expect results too quickly, and don't have the patience to learn something from the bottom up. Combined with the absolutely ridiculous amount of information that is available out there, and the intimidation that may impose on a beginner, is anybody really surprised that people consider it difficult?
    "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

  2. #42
    markbarendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sehrgut View Post
    Not at all. Take Wacom tablets away from kids because they don't know how to draw, and give them crayons. I'm a software engineer, and this holds true for any type of software.

    Computer programs always work in metaphors, and those unfamiliar with the metaphor are not going to benefit from it. Mechanical engineers will tell you that those who haven't hand-drafted in school have much less facility with CAD packages, which use many drafting metaphors.

    Much of Photoshop is built on darkroom and other physical photographic metaphors, and the same type of connections apply.
    The metaphor only works when an expected outcome is defined. I.e. "what's considered in good taste" as Benji Boy said.

    Without someone defining what's in good taste it doesn't matter.
    Mark Barendt, Ignacio, CO

    "We do not see things the way they are. We see things the way we are." Anaïs Nin

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by ParkerSmithPhoto View Post
    Maybe you are Comic Book Guy?

    I shoot digital almost every day, in addition to my film work. Most people who shoot film and turn their nose up at digital don't realize that digital carries with it its own set of complications and difficulties, if you are to do it properly. Saying "digital is easier" is like saying that it's easier to run ten miles than to swim ten miles. They are both difficult. It is not any easier to make a significant photograph in the digital age than it was 40 years ago. The method of making the image may have changed, and perhaps sped up the process of knowing that the resulting image either is or isn't of significance, but it certainly hasn't made it any easier.

    This sort of snooty bias cuts both ways. There are plenty of digital photographers who are "incredibly serious" about their work, yet anyone can make a digital photo today. 100 years ago, Kodak said "you push the button, we do the rest." What's the difference?
    There is a difference. If there weren't, digital wouldn't have been a runaway success, supplanting a dominant and entrenched technology in just a few short years. How much cheaper it is may be debatable. Quality and qualities may be subjective. Shooting both for a living, I am very familiar with both. From an ease of use, and efficiency standpoint there is no contest. If you know what you are doing in the first place, digital is far easier, no matter how much our little egos want it to be difiificult. If it were, I'd still get to shoot film exclusively.
    Last edited by JBrunner; 01-30-2013 at 09:34 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #44
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worker 11811 View Post
    film is because they are too damn lazy!
    They would spend just as much time sitting in front of their computer screen, twiddling digits, as they might spend in the darkroom making real photographs, all the while complaining about how much less work it is to make digi-photos. No! They're just too lazy to get up off their fat asses and go down to the darkroom!

    That's the way I see it and, if that means I'm smug then, so be it! :finger:
    that'sexactly why.everything has to be done right now, and learning is for the poorunderprivilaged,not able to afford the necessary technology
    Photography is 90% sheer, brutal drudgery. The other 10% is inspiration.
    — Brett Weston
    Compensating for lack of skill with technology is progress toward mediocrity. As technology advances, craftsmanship recedes. As technology increases our possibilities, we use them less resourcefully. The one thing we’ve gained is spontaneity, which is useless without perception.
    — David Vestal
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  5. #45
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    that'sexactly why.everything has to be done right now, and learning is for the poorunderprivilaged,not able to afford the necessary technology
    Photography is 90% sheer, brutal drudgery. The other 10% is inspiration.
    — Brett Weston
    Compensating for lack of skill with technology is progress toward mediocrity. As technology advances, craftsmanship recedes. As technology increases our possibilities, we use them less resourcefully. The one thing we’ve gained is spontaneity, which is useless without perception.
    — David Vestal
    That quote from Vestal is profound. Applies to everything. Thanks.
    "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. #46

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Bertilsson View Post
    When people come to forums like APUG, they all have varying degrees of skill, anticipation, and expectation. People already on here have varying degrees of skill, anticipation, and expectation. When a novice has access to all that was ever written on APUG, where very serious darkroom users argue about minutiae, of course it's going to seem difficult. How is a novice going to be able to distinguish between what's 'beginner stuff' and what's for 'really freaking advanced darkroom work'? That's right - they can not.
    A difficulty rating indication on threads would be a really, really useful addition to APUG. Each member could rate after posting a reply perhaps - less work for the mods.
    The Ethics and Philosophy section could be rated from 'Neanderthal' to 'Socrates' - 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
    Last edited by batwister; 01-30-2013 at 11:35 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  7. #47
    Thomas Bertilsson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by batwister View Post
    A difficulty rating indication on threads would be a really, really useful addition to APUG. Each member could rate after posting a reply perhaps - less work for the mods.
    The Ethics and Philosophy section could be rated from 'Neanderthal' to 'Socrates' - 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
    Brilliant!
    "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

  8. #48
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBrunner View Post
    There is a difference. If there weren't, digital wouldn't have been a runaway success, supplanting a dominant and entrenched technology in just a few short years.
    The entire history of photography is a story of "dominant and entrenched technolog[ies]" being replaced in the space of a few years. Read Beaumont Newhall if you need a refresher on this.

    And every single advancement made it easier to make photographs, which is the whole point of technology. While I greatly admire many of the photographers who have sounded in here, by much of the logic we should have stopped at wet plates. "Dry plates? That's sissy stuff!"

    There is certainly a great deal of craft in making a fine pigment print on watercolor paper. I've made pure carbon pigment prints on hot press paper that have a higher Dmax (yes, on a matt paper) than any silver print. You know what? It's a bitch! If you are going to do it well, it's a complete bitch.

    You might by the same arguments say "anyone can make a photogravure!" Yeah, anyone can smear some ink on a plate, and anyone can create a blog and call themselves a "writer," anyone can grab a DSLR and call themselves a photographer, and anyone can "play piano" however crude it may be. None of this changes the fact that in any enterprise done very well there is craft.
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  9. #49
    ParkerSmithPhoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RalphLambrecht View Post
    Compensating for lack of skill with technology is progress toward mediocrity. As technology advances, craftsmanship recedes. As technology increases our possibilities, we use them less resourcefully. The one thing we’ve gained is spontaneity, which is useless without perception.
    — David Vestal
    If you have a copy of "The Keepers of Light" be sure to reread the introductory essay on photographic syntax. In short, as the medium evolved through its dominant technologies, what we could create with those technologies changed.

    I think primarily of Paul Strand (and, by influence, Walker Evans), when newer, faster film technology allowed him to take his camera into the streets and make portraits like "Blind," the likes of which had never been seen before. He created what we consider modern photography, and was gifted with extraordinary perception. At the end of his life, when it was too difficult for him to use his 5x7 and 8x10 cameras, he switched to the "easier" technology of 120 roll film and still made magnificent photographs.

    The technology of fast film and small cameras gave us Cartier Bresson. The Leica, that's as easy as it gets, except it isn't. Vestal obviously spent his days toting around a 35mm, which I'm sured raised certain eyebrows among "real photographers" who wouldn't be caught dead with anything smaller than a 20x24 view camera loaded with hand poured glass plates.

    You see, you can play the game to absurd lengths. You can always rewind the clock and find some point of purity, some line which you would not cross, fearing banishment from the kingdom of "real photographers." It's a silly game.

    Photography has room enough for all of us, the Atgets and the Winogrands, Walker Evans and Frederick Evans. Good photography is good photography. Don't get caught up in the "how" when you should be focused on the "what."
    Parker Smith Photography, Inc.
    Atlanta, GA

    Commercial & Fine Art Photography
    Portrait Photography

  10. #50
    eddie's Avatar
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    Digital just continues the democratization of photography which Kodak began. There are 250 million photos uploaded to Facebook every day.... Vestal was right. The technological advances have lowered the bar. There are now more "professional photographers" than there were 20 years ago, but the percentage of quality ones has gone way down.

    As for the "difficulty", analog isn't hard. What's changed is the commitment required. When I began (early 70's), there was a local camera shop I could go to for supplies, and answers to questions, with someone behind the counter who knew his stuff. While the internet can provide more information, it's not always the needed information. When a beginner comes here, wanting to know how to expose film, the answer should be simple. Too often the thread devolves into toe and shoulder, expansion/contraction type discussions. In reality, we should just say, "your meter will tell you what f-stop/ shutter speed to use to get a middle gray tone. Metering off a white sheet of paper (and shooting at the meters recommendation) will give you the same tone as metering off a black sheet of paper (and shooting at the meters recommendation). Both will give you a middle gray. Now, go shoot a few rolls, develop them, and ask more questions once you're comfortable with this concept."

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