Actually, it's easier now than it's ever been to find the information to start on your own. If you have the will, you will find a way. There's google, and then again there's the search function here on APUG.
Originally Posted by snowfooled
YIKES , I'm starting to sound old - I'm stuck way out here on the northern edge of the continent - I never touched a 4x5 camera until mine arrived in the mail - I had nobody (in person) to teach me anything - and in over 20 years I've never met another large format photographer in the field...yet I've learned because that's what the images seen within demanded of me so others could see what I felt.
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
IMHO the most powerful influence on the quality of my photography has been my time in the darkroom.
I believe this flows from the fact that knowledge about the end product (the print) and how it is made greatly influences your ability to take quality photographs in the first place.
You may be able to gain some similar benefits by employing careful, painstaking work in a digital environment, including full control of all steps in the process, but to my mind, the early results are not nearly as satisfying, and the experience isn't nearly as much fun!
It is possible to have good skills with both digital and analogue procedures - so don't worry too much about the time spent in the darkroom. If you have knowledge about both digital and analogue, you can either choose to concentrate on one or let the strengths of each support your work in the other.
Probably the most important advice - be sure to try the analogue darkroom route, because if you do, you may very well find, like I have, that it is an incredibly inspiring process.
Good luck in your explorations.
once you start, you will wonder what kept you so long. it really isn't as hard as people suggest it is. the hardest part of developing film is getting it on the reel in the dark.
ps. henry horenstein's black and white photography - a basic manual is very good. it explains the basics of camera-stuff and darkroom-stuff.
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Quite frankly, to me, the labor of photography is about 50 percent of shooting and the other 50 for printing, including the process of developing your own negs and/or re-loading your digital files into a program.
Whether you work in a traditional darkroom or on a computer, you will be doing the same thing, essentially. But for black and white images, the digital technology is not nearly as good as the non-digital one.
Well, should we learn how to add, substract, multiplie or divide numbers using head or paper and pen when we have calculators for that.
Or better, we all now use computers and write Emails and others using them. Is that means we shouldn't learn how to write by hands?
I can imagine next situation (SciFi future): Imagine someone sitting in front of computer and writting his or hers paper for school or PhD or like... Then that person go to take its new drivers licence, or passport. He or she take that and when must sign, he or she leave fingerprint. Not because security reasons, but because she or he can't write using hand. Schools don't teach cildren anymore how to write by hands after all everybody use computer or PDA or like... That is how I see future when I see question like this...
So, should you learn how to develop your film or print? YES!
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No need to spend a lot of time, energy, money, and frustration just for the sake of doing it. Wait until you get into a situation where you NEED to learn it, then it will be easy ("that time may never come," as they say in The Godfather). Generally, color is much better (and cheaper) done by others.
Originally Posted by snowfooled