I suppose this is a good place to ramble....
A year and a half ago or so I joined a local volunteer-operated visual-art gallery organization, mostly painters, a few photographers, sculptors etc. One thing I've noticed about the digital photographers is that given the slightest opportunity they blather endlessly about their tools of the trade and what they're doing with them....exactly the same way we used to hotly debate the RF vs SLR wars, or whether or not a light meter should be put into a camera, that sort of thing.
IOW, I see a lot of _enthusiasm_.
This is as opposed to us "traditional" photographers. Seems like at least the few I see tend to talk about anything but photography. There's no fire and hardly any smoke. It's just disheartening.
What if anything are you guys doing locally "on the hoof" to participate in the world of traditional photography and keep your and others' enthusiasm alive?
Funny thing I found out that "traditional"photographers are more out there taking pictures and printing than arguing about their equipment. As a group I think those of us who are actually using the cameras have found what works for us and require no more "what if I tried....?" The new digital camp is full of new and interesting technology which does lend itself to discussing better approaches or better equipment. Is why manufacturers love digital so much, every 6 months there is a new gadget that fires the imagination of the users, in our case, well...my Korona 12x20 was made in the 1930's now a days Lotus, Wisner and Canham make the same format....if you are using one of the new cameras or my old trusty....the result is the same and the final print is actually made in the darkroom with skill,patience and love. So, if someone comes to me and rages about their new Wisner....well, so what? sure is a beautiful camera, I would love to have one, but in the end the negative comes out the same. With digital I think the "newness"factor has a lot of play...if I have such and such coolpix...and another guy raves about the "new and improved" such and such coolpix...well then I might be interested, mainly because my coolpix does not do all the things his "new" coolpix does.....
I dont think you are seeing burned out, I think you are just experiencing comfort with the techniques, skills and equipment already in use.
I have to agree with Jorge here. And I would add that enthusiasm about photographic equipment and enthusiasm about photography are not necessarily the same thing. It is perfectly possible to indulge both interests (and I certainly do) but you can easily have one without the other, and many people seem to (traditional as well as digital).
There are an awful lot of small local clubs and societies here in the UK which meet regularly and hold public exhibitions from time to time, but they are not to everyone's tastes. Personally the only thing I am doing locally "on the hoof" to participate in the world of traditional photography is simply getting out there and doing it.
Sometimes I can't help but play "Devils Advocate"...
We too have the "what if I tried..."syndrome. With our "group" the things that become "fashionable" or popular are not necessarily things that are new, but rather things (processes, materials etc.) that are being "re-discovered".
Example: "Book of _ _ _" I'd bet that quite a few of us could fill in the blank with the word Pyro without having to sacrifice a single brain cell. Pyro is a perfect example. It started off as a small group of hard core fans, and, with the publication of Book of Pyro, then the selling of the "Pyro Kits" it has really taken off. A good thing, don't get me wrong. I too use Pyro, PMK, but what's new now in the Pyro scene??? ABC for contact printing, PMK only for roll film that will then be enlarged. All of a sudden the ABC bandwagon is getting up a head of steam, and there is nothing that can stop it. Again, I too will be trying ABC, because...hell, why not, what if what is being written is true? I sure as heck don't want to miss out on it. And my order has been placed for a box of Azo as well....another popular subject these days. But in this respect, I have doubts as to wether or not i can achieve the results I'm looking for with Azo, due to the tone of the paper, but again, I'm going to give it a shot.
I love shooting, and probably expose as much film or more than the next guy, but the quest for a better wheel is part of human nature, and has less to do with wether you are using "modern" techniques, or "traditional". Atleast that's how I see it.
But heck, what do I know....
Hmm...maybe I wasn't quite clear enough. It's more that the folks out there doing photography _are_ the digital guys while the traditional guys are MIA.
The few non-commercial digital guys I know locally were accomplished traditional photographers first...long before digital...and they've either completely moved to or have added digital. They retain their enthusiasm for photography...certainly not just equipment...but an enthusiasm for a strong continual immersion in many aspects of photography.
I contrast that to the one local "traditional" no-digital photographer I know who'd know what I was talking about if I said the word "pyro"; I haven't seen this person for a while but the last time I saw him he'd wandered away from photography after having been rather interested for a couple of decades. Again, he got past the equipment thing a long time ago.
I'm not out in the boonies here; I'm in central Florida, have been here quite a while and had a camera shop specializing in "upper level" equipment for 10 years so consequently I'm acquainted with quite a few local photographers.
I suppose what's set me off is that a couple of days ago I went to the local camera shop (there's only one that's not a mall chain) to buy some more LPD. There wasn't any and the response was "what's that?" "What's it for?" Geez, I bought my first can of LPD there 30 years ago!
Also I wanted a box of 11x14 Ilford WT paper. None. Going to get any? Probably not. But they now have a bigger selection of inkjet paper than the big supermarket has breakfast cereal.
Well...I'm just grousing. It's my old-fartiness starting to show.
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I understand your pain...
I too know many photographers that have gone digital. But to be fair in the explaination, they are all commercial photographer who, through pressure from either the client or the AD, are "forced" to shoot digital. The status of commercial photography where I live (Nuernberg, Germany) is such, that practically no one wants, or will accept a transparency any more. Digital is faster, and, thereby cheaper. Cheaper also because of the fact that the level of quality expectations has dramatically dropped in the past few years, with the introduction of DTP.
In order to make a living here in the field of analog photography, one must be very determined, have a thick skin, and most importantly, a built up bank account. Because finding opportunities in this day in age are becoming increasingly difficult.
My pro labs where I use to have my EPP developed (approx 4-5000 sheets of 5X7 a year) has also gone digital. Sure they still have an E-6 and C41 development, but the majority of their work is now coming from the digital scene. And only because I was such a good customer for so many years, am I still able to order my Ilford 8X10 film through them. Otherwise, I would be forced to do all my business mail order.
I too am just taking the time to vent a little. Working in a vaccum makes this difficult to do sometimes. Thank goodness for forums like this one.
I don't associate with other photographers, digital, traditional or otherwise. I still, every so often, run into some of the photo people I know, but they're all so busy being "famous" that they really don't have time to discuss or care to discuss photography.
I don't really care to either. I set up projects for myself and learn as I go. Two years ago I made my own book that turned out beautifully including sewn page binding, Japanese silk covers, etc. That took nearly 1 year to produce with close to 150 photos in it - I made two copies.
Now I'm working on photographing wooden boats. Something quite different in concept since I live in New Mexico!! But, I have some ideas that I haven't seen done so I bought a Nikonos, two lenses, and a water ski PFD and we'll see what happens in the next year.
I don't think you need enthusiasm for a process type (traditional photography or digital or whatever), but for the ideas you're working with. Photography is just a tool that gives one the ability to explore new (personally uncharted) territory. Don't even care if anyone else looks at the work, or approves of it, or makes nice ego stroking comments - it's about personal goals and attaining them. When I achieve them, I'm thrilled.
So much to see, so much to photograph, so much to do - don't have time to ruminate on the state of photography or photographers. I guess my question is - what's the point you're trying to get at?
venting is the point, as previously mentioned. Venting is a tool which allows one to sort out his or her thoughs by either verbalizing them or writing them out.
Venting doesn't necessarily have to be "valid" or even make sense.
> It seems that the only thing that they DON"T want to discuss is PHOTOGRAPHY. I would like to hear how they've grown artistically, where they're headed, what they want to say with their work.
That's what I'd like to discuss too. Lately though I'm encountering so few "traditional" photographers that I'd be happy to talk with them about equipment just so I could talk with another interested, enthusiastic traditional photographer on the hoof. I keep mentioning this because it's really strange; it's as if they've vanished (locally at least).
> kind of student of yours for some time now.
I appreciate the kind comments but I'm really no sort of guru. If I was my negs wouldn't be underexposed and my wife wouldn't say my pictures are boring. <g>
> try to make up in enthusiasm. -jdf
That's most important of all; it's what can't be learned.
> don't think you need enthusiasm for a process type (traditional photography or digital or whatever), but for the ideas you're working with.
Yes I'll agree with that. Without ideas there's nothing.
> it's about personal goals and attaining them.
I think we have a difference here. To me photography is about communication, whether communication of an idea or simply "look what I saw" and doing that effectively is a personal goal. If the communcation isn't completed then imho it's either a failed attempt to communicate, a memory aid or a practice session.
Of course neither of us are "correct." We can do only what works for us.