Yes, Paul Strand said it took about 8 or 9 tears (oops, years) to become a photographer. But it's so rewarding to accomplish a challenging task-be it photography or a really tough mountain walk or whatever. You do get out what you put in
"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 '.
I've been at it for over 35 years and I still don't call myself a photographer. AA and Weston were photographers. I'm a hack nothing more. If I could spend as much time at it as working pro's then I could master the craft to an extent were I could call myself a photographer. In the old days when I did do it professionally (all chromes) I did have it mastered and I felt confident about calling myself a photographer, but not with all this new LF stuff.
An old buddy of mine who was a working pro but got tired of it has taken up photography again because of digital. It has re-energized him and he produces great stuff. But he had the foundation from a traditional photography background. He loves to mess around in PS and does some really cool stuff. He's much more accomplished with PS than he ever was in a wet environment (sorry Karl) and really has no desire to get back into a darkroom. Digital is the best thing for him and the photos he produces bring joy to those lucky enough to see them.
Ailsa - There is certainly more magic in the darkroom than on the computer screen, and I don't necessarily think it's the age group thing. My guess (and that's all it is) is that it is more to do with the background of the individual, whatever the age.
I'm a prime example of this myself, a dyed-in-the-wool techie that took a photography course to improve his (fairly dire!) shooting skills and would now rather print (chemically) than shoot!
Having said all that, my 17 year old nephew gets his first go in a wet darkroom tomorrow... I'll report back!
(Oh, and please stay pig-headed; a year from now I want to still have at least one photo mag that utterly makes my day when it arrives! <g>
Flotsam - ROTFL!
Frank, ditto on the arrival of B&W Photography!
Going a little off-topic here although discussions above reminded me of this, but what is a "photographer"? Is it someone who writes "Photographer" on their tax return, is it someone who takes pictures and gets paid, or is someone who owns a camera? I own a welder, numerous power tools, hand tools, even a soldering iron, but never do I describe myself as a "tradesman". I once bought a heap of frames at a frame shop and the sales assistant asked if I was a Photographer.. without thought I answered no, cause I'm not, I happen to take photos.
One thing that always amuses me is people in forums that insist on announcing their 'not a Pro' in their request for advice. What does that mean?
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Yet another four-page thread where the key attribute is said within the first couple of messages.
Originally Posted by Thomassauerwein
I like Nikon's "Now! Now!ography" promo slogan, it speaks volumes. If you want a picture that's 10,000 times more valuable today than it will be tomorrow, digital is unquestionably the way to go. If you want to make pictures whose value (to either the marketplace or yourself) increase over time, then the choice is not so easy.
Whether it is traditional "wet"photography or (let me invent a word) digitography, they are both similar and different. With either one, you need a good eye, and a proper exposure. You also need good composition. Garbage in will always equal garbage out. Both are easy to do, but hard to do well.
Hmmmm. This must be my shortest post ever
I have read this thread and the other digital/analog posts and to me there is just too much concern either way.
When I started my studio in 1976, I was shooting color. We were told by Kodak that the images were stable and would last. They did, for about five years, maximum. I, like almost every portait photographer, sent his work to a lab to be developed and printed. This was a shortcut so we could supposedly concentrate on learning to take better pictures. We received sometimes great and other times questionable results. To get better work, I decided to print my own and bought a Hope processor and was able to print up to 20x24. But is still wasn't really hands on because you just fed the print into the machine. After ten years I was bored. I had made a lot of money and I sold everything and moved to LA.
After doing a lot of different kinds of photography and eventually moving to San Jose CA. in 1992. I decided I wanted to do portraits again but decided this time to do strickly black and white. I wanted to do everything myself and to help in this, I decided to work out my home - no overhead. I began to study black and white and found myself in a whole new world. Using photonet, I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of great information and taught myself through trial and error. I learned different enlargers and now have two different types, different papers, developers, different toning techniques etc and after 11 years, I realize that I still have a huge amount to learn. But it is never boring.
To make a long story, longer, I have discovered that in photography as in life, there are no shortcuts.
There are many illusions that you think will help you get to a quick result. For me, first, it was labs, which I found out didn't turn out my "vision". Then it was countless other gismos and gadgets that were supposed to help me. They didn't really work either. After almost thirty years of photography, I now know that you have to put in the time, pay your dues, and learn it all the hard way.
Photoshop and digital in my opinion is just another illusion. We are fighting it because we don't think that these people, and rightly so in most cases, have paid their dues. They are looking for shortcuts. But their work will show it. The public in most cases can see the difference, and the big lie will be exposed.
So perhaps we should lighten up and let these digital types have their instant gratification, and we can calmly say as they display their latest gimmick, " thats nice dear". You call it whatever you like but we both know it ain't the real thing. Naturally they name it the same as the real thing, because without that they have no credibility.
To me, it is like stage actors compared to movie stars. One knows their craft and the others knows they are a fraud. The stage actor can do movies but the movie stars can barely do the movies, and they know it and are insecure about it.
I guess we should be like the stage actors, because we have learned that there are no shortcuts.
Well, he had a go... ...and I think we've hooked another! 8)
Originally Posted by FrankB
I started him with a couple of photograms, then a contact of a roll of 35mm HP5+ he'd shot on a cheapo compact, then a couple of prints. I even got him doing a bit of basic manipulation (a couple of dodges, one to lighten a face, another to remove some camera-induced vignetting).
He loved it, and definitely preferred it to Photoshop. The clincher (as usual, I think) appeared to be the way the image sprang up from the paper during development and the level of detail on the 10x8's we were producing.
He's currently looking at an English and Media course at a couple of universities, and is hoping that there will be an element of trad photography in that.