And I've learned in my long life that a chrysanthemum by any other name would be easier to spell.
Good luck to you. Practice makes perfect.
My advice is: Follow your bliss. It's obvious darkroom work does't excite you and the key word here is "work". Darkroom workers are working - as opposed to having fun. The fun is being out shooting and the joy is seeing a great photo for display.
Originally Posted by Jadedoto
I'll admit, I find darkroom work generally uninteresting but the dull routine is sometimes punctuated by exciting moments when a great shot is finally a successful print. I also found Adobe Photoshop uninteresting, except for a few tools, and the end product is poor quality when comparing with fiber based silver prints - I work for the full tonal range framed archival prints - it's quality over quantity.
Style? When you create a body of work you'll recognize your own style.
"Pictures are not incidental frills to a text; they are essences of our distinctive way of knowing." Stephen J. Gould
Think left brain right brain for a minute. Ron Wisner for all his faults has written a wonderful piece about why the mechanical processes we put ourselves through with all this analog old stuff stimulates the creative process. He claims that the right brain whirring away back in the recesses to make all the necessary things of photography happen has a direct link to the creative house over on the left side. Re-inventing backwards from that concept, perhaps digital is just too easy. No right brain thought necessary, so your left brain goes stale too.
That said, I have a D100 and I love it. It makes fantastic pictures for Ebay.
I'm in basically the the same position, I turned 18 last month and my film budgets consists of something along the lines of, "whatever I finds, I keeps". It's certainly annoying, but the restriction helps you grow I think.
With film there's always that gutting moment when you realise you were just a little off, and your winning negative is just average - and it makes you work harder next time, because you know what to do better. It's the sink or swim moments that have the most effect on you. Are you getting those moments with critiques of your photos? Take a photo you love and show it to a few people, I bet they'll be able to tell you what's wrong with it. No matter their response you'll grow for it, and a kick in the face does a lot for determination.
I also recommend looking at the photos taken by people better than you. I can spend day browsing APUG galleries, get annoyed at myself and competitive, and then strive to do better to reach a mark. Photographer penis-measuring (or lens-measuring, I suppose), is actually a decent learning tool. It gives you a direction, an inspiration, and you borrow a little bit from other's style too. Look at your friend's photos more.
And as for the difference between art and technical statement, or if you're an artist - don't worry about it. Take some photos, it's fun.
I agree-when you walk, walk, when you dig, dig, when sitting, sit....above all don't wobble. As far as darkroom work go, I really enjoy it. For me it's like cooking (another great passion of mine), where you experiment with and bring together various different ingredients to create the final result, accompanied by some good music of course (Brian Eno and Nick Drake are great for moody landscapes, for example, whereas for more documentary stuff I like Mark Lanegan, Tom Waits or Johnny Cash).Time just disappears when you get into a really good groove (photographically snd musically). One more thing-don't try and do too much in one session when you're making fine (as opposed to quickie work) prints.Take your time and take it poco a poco, as they say in Spain.
BTW-put plenty of posters and as many of your own photos as possible on your darkroom walls. Keep lots of books and magazines in there so you have something to read while you're waiting for prints to wash etc. Make the darkroom as welcoming a space as possible and then you'll really love working in there.
"He took to writing poetry and visiting the elves: and though many shook their heads and touched their foreheads and said 'Poor old Baggins!' and though few believed any of his tales, he remained very happy till the end of his days, and those were extraordinarily long "- JRR Tolkien, ' The Hobbit '.
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it's called work
I'm not sure how much you know about Zen but I suggest that you find some books to read. most people spend their entire life running around looking for answers when they already have the answers. on the other side of the coin is the fact that so few can ever attain mastery of ANY skill at all. Zen will tell you: if you are going to be a wood chopper than be the best woodchopper in the world. seems pretty lowly-but go out and try it....same with photography-it's great that you question your own worth but then how much actual time have you spent doing it?? is it a day a week a month five years ten years what?? for me it just happened one day. some may say enlightenment but I just said my hard work paid off. AA said something about the first 10000 negs being practice.
he wasn't wrong. it's the next 10000 where you will start to become yourself and no one else. it's very hard when we live in a society of instant gratification.
we want it now not later. photography aint no fast food stand.....
It's a labor of love. Keep at it. For me, and I have to go to the hassle of taking over my kitchen for two to three weeks at a time and using it only late at night-------when I have prepared my chemicals, just that familiar odor of "dark room" is all I need to get focused. Thankfully, my wife is very forgiving for that period of time; she understands "the passion".
There are no magic bullets to achieve a "style". But I think your style will be more forth comming when you are in command of all the materials and processes that you work with; get those to be second nature and your style will work its way out easier as your mind sort of gets freed up, so to speak.
Keep at it and good luck.