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  1. #1
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    The relevance of traditional darkrooms! Thanks Freestyle Sales Co.

    "A college is a business; students are our customers. Our customers have spoken. No darkroom, no students."

    The words of Brent Wood, a fellow rocket scientist and current Chair of the Art Curriculum at Victorville College.

    The rest of the article is fascinating. It is here.

    Thanks to Kirk Gittings for pointing me to these fascinating accounts by each of the Freestyle Advisory members. Well worth a read!
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  2. #2

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    Jim

    An interesting article that just makes you want to say "we told you so". It would be interesting to know if this is a trend across the whole tertiary education system worldwide.

    Phill
    It is not tradition that secures the survival of our craft, its the craft that secures the survival of our traditions.

  3. #3
    Tony Egan's Avatar
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    Jim,
    Interesting articles, however I think Brent Wood has it slightly around the wrong way. Paradoxically it was a "business" type decision which got rid of the darkrooms in the first place. i.e. the view that it was economically unviable to replace them after the renovation and "the market" was 80% digital anyway. I'm sure it was not a decision by the educators who probably knew all along the importance of traditional methods in providing a well-rounded education.

    I guess I have an ideological aversion to using the words business and customers when it comes to education. I think providing a decent education in a society is an obligation and not a profit centre. It will usually become perverted when run along business lines. You can't be thinking about the future when worrying about next quarter's earnings. I think many educational institutions have become centres for overpriced accreditation rather than places for real learning and critical thinking.

  4. #4
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    I particularly like the last few words "a room to keep the dark in".


    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.

  5. #5
    noseoil's Avatar
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    In a recent conversation with an apug member (ria), she mentioned a course she had completed at a local college. The course of study was in "alternative printing" and related matters. Most of the students were from the digital world, but wanted to be able to make negatives (mylar, etc.) to use traditional prints of various types. It seems the students who had no film and darkroom experience were having a very difficult time in making a proper print. Basically, they had no concept of exposure, development and contrast, so printing was almost impossible. Ria did very well, because she had the basic concepts in hand and was able to adapt. tim

  6. #6
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Egan
    I guess I have an ideological aversion to using the words business and customers when it comes to education. I think providing a decent education in a society is an obligation and not a profit centre. It will usually become perverted when run along business lines. You can't be thinking about the future when worrying about next quarter's earnings. I think many educational institutions have become centres for overpriced accreditation rather than places for real learning and critical thinking.
    Amen brother! It's always a crass way of justifying cuts because otherwise the customer will not be satisfied. Yeah right. Here at least they are not cutting back but adding something, though I prefer to be something else than a customer.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

    My APUG Portfolio

  7. #7
    Shmoo's Avatar
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    It's like a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some school administrators read that "film is dead" and then they cut the instructors and their budgets, let their darkrooms and equipment fall apart, and THEN they wonder why no one wants to take film classes there or teach there. I know of one of the major art colleges in our area that is doing just that. Sadly, they have one of the best darkrooms around, both color and b&w.
    Save the Earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

  8. #8
    Aggie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Egan
    Jim,
    Interesting articles, however I think Brent Wood has it slightly around the wrong way. Paradoxically it was a "business" type decision which got rid of the darkrooms in the first place. i.e. the view that it was economically unviable to replace them after the renovation and "the market" was 80% digital anyway. I'm sure it was not a decision by the educators who probably knew all along the importance of traditional methods in providing a well-rounded education.

    I guess I have an ideological aversion to using the words business and customers when it comes to education. I think providing a decent education in a society is an obligation and not a profit centre. It will usually become perverted when run along business lines. You can't be thinking about the future when worrying about next quarter's earnings. I think many educational institutions have become centres for overpriced accreditation rather than places for real learning and critical thinking.
    Well not all school boards are making what is now becoming a stupid business decision. Here in the state (backwards) of Utah they too were going to ax all traditional photography classes in favor of digital. Someone suggested that they should do a fast survey of all the colleges and Universities plus local High schools. What they found astounded them. Not only did traditional photography classes fill up completely each semester, there were long waiting lists for those who wanted to take them. As to the digital classes for photography, they were not filling up, and in some cases had to be deleted for lack of interest. What happened then was they decreased the digital classes, but kept the traditional photography classes in tact. Business decisions based on media hype and what some preceive are not always good. It takes rock solid facts to find out what is the basis of said decision to be made. It does become self fulfilling when abitrarily cuts get made to education without those facts. Once the traditional is cut and removed, there is no going back for most.
    Non Digital Diva

  9. #9
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    Aggie, we're not backwards. We're very forward looking. You just need to set your clock back about 100 years. Digital wont be here until about 2085 Just rember women in the Utah territory gave up the right to vote in order to become a state. Now that was backwards.

    Last year I rebuilt the dark room at the Pioneer Craft House (Granite High in Salt lake) Classes are being taught by U of U continueing ed. Darkroom work is not going away. Did photography kill oil painting? Digital will not kill film.
    DIGITAL IS FOR THOSE AFRAID OF THE DARK.

  10. #10
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    Our's is going that route right now. The place is falling apart and the person teaching couldn't find their ass with both hands and a road map when it comes to darkroom work. There is little or no interest at the administration level in anything that will not transfer to a four year school, despite that fact that traditionaly Community Colleges have been geared toward the trades and other non degrees-required professions. There is little opportunity for the students to get any idea of what a traditional education could offer them here, and the death of the darkroom is just another symptom of the businessification of education... It's a sad testament to our time.

    - Randy

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