I have heard it said that sometimes you have to walk away so that you can come back.
When looking for an effect, it is so easy to get caught up in the process. I read here and there about folks who need timers that set an enlargement exposure to increments of a second. Please... Others who must run everything through a densitometer and create complex tables of this that and the other. Groan... Elitists who claim that no real photograph is worth its mettle except taken by the Bladagor Xenophobic -1.1 lens. Bah... Adheents of the Temple of Rodinal (whose liquid powers are finer than Lourdes) extolling the virtues of 1:X to the nth power dilutions. Phooey...
My first camera/film combo was an Argus C3 with Pan-x. Somehow, following the Sunny 16 rules printed inside the box, consistently astonishing negatives came out of the tank. 1 grade of paper, developed by eye and no timer. What the hell is drydown??? It was fun, productive, and fostered a life time appreciation of film photography. Then came the rail...
Obviously, 4x5 would give me the negative quality and platform for perfection I needed. The process became about seeking the "perfect" negative. The blatant unweildiness of tripod mounted rail become obvious, so the solution was to go with a field camera. More process, technical details, seeking magic bullets in the darkroom, and surprisingly the fun was all gone. It was now about the perfect shots and perfect prints. Baloney...
It had come to a point that there was all the equipment, a great darkroom, and not a care about using either of them. A funky little Yashicamat changed all that. Quality in size due to the format, convenience in shooting, the fun was back. I would much rather 3 rolls of exposures of many things, with one or two suitable for something except family or community memories, than striving for a roll of perfection. The addition of a Mamiya SLR really capped the deal. I find myself out recording the world, mundane or otherwise, and enjoying the process. The beauty of the final print is in what is expressed, not in its density, chemistry, or "rules of composition". Others around me have noticed that the quality has increased with the quantity.
Ultimately, what is the purpose of our task? To crystallize a slice of a three dimensional world into two dimensions and carry forth the expression, or to present a technically perfect icon of the craft, which may or may not be something to add to the teleology of the craft??? Boys and girls, I'm going for the fun!!!
something witty and profound needs to be inserted here...
Nothing is perfect but obvious technical flaws in a photograph from someone who should know better are an anathema. Students and experimenters are forgiven. Crooked borders, unfocussed grain, processing dings, chemical stains, sloppy tonalities, unspotted dust tell me that the photographer probably used inadequate equipment, didn't try very hard, didn't care very much. Worse still is the suspicion that they have not credited me with the intelligence to notice!
Making a fetish of perfection is a distraction of effort but one can still be conscientiously neat. A good working rule is if a photographer seems not to have bothered to put the picture through their mind don't bother putting it through yours.
Photography, the word itself, invented and defined by its author Sir John.F.W.Herschel, 14 March 1839 at the Royal Society, Somerset House, London. Quote "...Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation,..". unquote.
There is nothing to be gained by advocating poor quality in your printing. (paraphrased from David Vestal) I agree with this. While some prints do show imperfections and the number may well be more than some think the idea of making the best print possible is a good one. Well composed, well printed and interesting all go together in making a "fine print' worth showing.
Poorly printed photographs suffer and make the audience suffer. What is gained by not taking a bit more time and care in the making of the print?
Capa on Dday? A darkroom technician screwed up.
Adams not spotted perfectly? It happens to almost everyone when you get up close and view the print with a microscope. View them at a more normal viewing distance and these minor flaws are not apparent and the life of the print comes through.
If you shoot with a Holga or whatever and it works for you then do it. Doing it as an excuse for poor quality prints is counterproductive.
Strive for perfection. You will never obtain it so don't beat yourself to death over it but not trying is the same as settling for mediocrity. If you settle, where is the growth and joy of accomplishment when you produce another fine print, or any feat in life for that matter.
DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.
The Darkroom tech's name was Larry Burrows...(yes THAT Larry Burrows)
Originally Posted by WarEaglemtn
"A squid eating dough in a polyethylene bag is fast and bulbous...got me?" Captain Beefheart
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