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  1. #51
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    I started in the newspaper biz at 13, working a summer in the back shop of the small town weekly: folding inserts and sweeping the floor. But hanging around that print shop did it's damage. The sound and smell of the presses and linotype; handling the newspapers. Printer's Ink. Caught up in the romance, in the old fashioned way.

    I was writing little things not long afterward.
    The photography came naturally.
    The paper was the conduit,
    and I got to meet some heroes during the high school years.
    Lots of 'old hands' helped me along.

    And my little town ( not far from Schwab's ) had some remarkable newspaper guys at the time. It was just a natural thing.

    By the time I was ready to head out into The World,
    the camera was had become My Way.

    During college, I carried a Filmo under the car seat for spot TV news ( before video, kids ).

    Did little jobs on weekends that paid college bills,
    and did photolab work in the school biophysics lab,
    shot theatre and nightclub stuff;
    interviewed old soldiers,miners,and ranch hands - guys out of my hemingway / hammett soaked imagination.

    Met more real shooters.

    One thing led to another.
    One night I was holed up in the office of a small town daily,
    riding out a Rocky Mountain blizzard, when the teletype went off.

    It sounded like WW3, but it was worse.

    Life magazine announced it's final issue.

    There would be no brass ring.

    It's all been dip and dunk ever since.

    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  2. #52
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Early Riser
    Bill, I agree that luck is a factor, but it seems that those who are dedicated and put long and hard effort into their work seem to attract more luck than those who do not.
    I also believe in making you own "luck".

    But that being said, I also believe "life" is about learning lessons, and for whatever reasons, somethings just are not "meant to be".


    Michael
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  3. #53
    SuzanneR's Avatar
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    Back in my days in L.A., my mom was an artist, lots of great paintings and drawings. She had a studio out back, and one day decided to take a photo class at UCLA. She built a darkroom in a closet of the studio. Guess who used it more than her!! That was in highschool. Luckily, my parents were very supportive, and despite putting 3,000 miles between me and them, they agreed to art school in NYC.

    After school, and floundering around a few odd jobs, I landed in DC, and found a position with a small photo agency that represented a number of National Geographic photographers. Great to plow through the outtakes, and I learned just how those big stories are organized! Sold reproduction rights to all sorts of folks for all sorts of uses. One client, U.S.News eventually had an opening for a photo researcher, and managed to land it! Got promoted a few times, and was a photo editor there for over seven years. Fun job... bossing photographers and sending them all over the place!

    Got married, moved to New England for hubby's job, and had a temporary stint at Yankee magazine when the photo editor took a leave of absence. When that job ended, I decided to take a year off. I felt that I'd had enough of magazine work, but was unsure about what to do next, when I got pregnant.

    So... decision was made! Did the mom thing, and started to photograph again with the same intensity I had in highschool, and college. Focussed the lens on my kids, and started to think that my original plan of being a photographer may yet come to fruition.

    Built the darkroom, and have worked part-time for the past two years doing children's portraits. With my younger one off to kindergarten this fall, I'm hoping to create a more full time job for myself. Actually doing a little marketing this fall!

    So, as Les said... I'm having a go at it.

  4. #54
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by df cardwell
    There would be no brass ring.

    It's all been dip and dunk ever since.
    Great one Don! I gotta say that those newspaper days were some of the best. Nothing like newspeople. I even married one! My wife spills more words in a week at her daily than I've written in a lifetime I think. Sadly not the business it once was though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Early Riser
    I agree that luck is a factor, but it seems that those who are dedicated and put long and hard effort into their work seem to attract more luck than those who do not.
    I can't agree more Brian, but lighting has struck more than a few times and I don't want to tweak the nose on the gods of humility. I've seen it all crash down a few times too.

    I enjoyed hearing of your path as well. (funny as my first solo was at a place called "eye-Browse"... ugh) Those were cool days in the PD, weren't they? All the things you described were a big factor in giving-up NY. I could see if I took that path that I would never get where I wanted to be. It was a BIG decision to leave it behind and come back to the Midwest, but I had no desire to keep all those overhead balls in the air. Fortunately I have never regretted the choice! Just paying your studio space must have been a monthy stress! I remember the prices were going through the roof in those days in the photo district. We moved from 23rd at that time down to 1st between 10th and 11th. Photographers were going to Little Italy, the alphabets and Brooklyn in numbers as I remember. It was a great time in New York though. I remember anticipating all the new Haring drawings in the Subways each morning, before I even knew who he was. I could go on... the place was so alive. I have grand memories of those times. What a place.

    Bill
    Last edited by billschwab; 08-31-2006 at 10:58 AM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: atrocious spelling

  5. #55
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billschwab
    I remember anticipating all the new Herring drawings in the Subways each morning, before I even knew who he was. I could go on... the place was so alive. I have grand memories of those times. What a place.

    Bill
    I think that was "Haring" in the subway. Herring you can get at Zabar's.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  6. #56
    billschwab's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    I think that was "Haring" in the subway. Herring you can get at Zabar's.
    LOL!!!! Thanks David! Must have fish on my mind.

    Bill

  7. #57
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    I'm starving, don't mention Zabar's.


    .
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  8. #58
    DKT
    DKT is offline

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    Quote Originally Posted by markbb
    I'm aware that there are some lucky people who always enjoy their work, some of them are even pro photographers, but sadly for most us it's now just a Job.
    It may be just a JOB, but I still love it...it reminds me of an intern we had at work several years ago. The student just did not *get it*. They kept whining about "when do I get to do something fun?". Unreal--it's a job, get used to it, kid (like I'm some old-timer myself, ha!).

    One thing that happened to me recently, has been a pleasant surprise. One part of my job is to produce prints for museum exhibits around our state, through our system. I usually have to work with a mix of old copy negs, original negatives and newer copy negs. The old stuff, runs the gamut of being produced as far back as 100 yrs ago. These are pretty hit & miss. Some are great, some are okay, and some are horrible. I always try to make them look the best as I can, as reasonably possible. I feel like I've actually become a better printer, from having to make so many prints from lousy negatives.

    My favorite negatives to work with, are the originals that come out of the newspaper and commercial studio archives. I particularly like the 4x5 negs from the 30s-50s, and the smaller formats of the 60s. It's like a time machine almost--I have printed Civil Rights sit-ins, protests, even some pretty awful things like cross burnings, and all sorts of ugly stuff. But it's just amazing to work with the originals.

    When it comes to copy work--some people take a different approach and just crank stuff out. I always tried (try) to make the best copy negs I can, and that lead me to approach it like the zone system almost--and I got into filtering, cross polarization, and using batch development to tweak the contrast & extract detail out of these old images--I got into ortho copy films and all sorts of arcane stuff now in the scheme of things...

    I started documenting (reformatting) a photo collection back in the late 90s for a book project. Years passed, and the project came & went and the negs sat largely unused in a file. There were hundreds of them, btw.Then last year, the museum planned a small exhibit around these photos and we quietly put it together at the beginning of this year. It was a pretty humble beginning for the exhibit, and we thought they were neat photos, that had been used off & on for 50 yrs or so in textbooks and the like, but they're relatively obscure photos. I really didn't expect the level of interest from the outside though--some of the people I work with, did--they felt very strongly about the images, whereas I had been copying them for years, and it had gotten to the point, where I really wanted to move on to another project. I did the printing though, and painstakingly toned each print (16x20s) and we assembled this exhibit.

    It opened a month or two ago, and the public support for it, has been just astounding--surprising to me almost. I have had photographers in town, tell me how great the prints look and how they can't believe that we managed to get such detail out of the originals. To me--my work is usually in the background, and nobody really cares about what goes on in exhibit production really. This has been a real compliment for me, personally, because I know that copywork is often derided. I think this is why it comes as a surprise to many people, that you can make a good print off a copy neg--because a lot of people don't take the time & effort in the first place.


    So---it's like I was trying to explain to our intern (who we almost failed by the way, and the school that sent him, didn't send another intern for about 5 years also). It may be *boring* to you--but it's important in the scheme of things, especially in an institution as old as these, where whatever you produce will live on past your life even. I want people to see my negatives, whether originals or copies--50, 75 yrs from now and look forward to working with them, from the point of view of CRAFT. Not be something that you have to work to make a so-so print out of.

    so, yes--it's a job. sometimes it's boring. sometimes you have to just do it. But I try to approach it as a craft and take pride in it. Sometimes, when you least expect it (as in this exhibit I mention), people notice.

    since I'm talkin' work--my opinions only/not my employers.

  9. #59

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    Bill you may consider luck a factor in your success, but we all know it was talent and hard work. ( And whose talent and hard work you'll never disclose!!!

    I do miss those early days of my career and the life of the photo district. It was pretty glamourous in some ways. As a photographer I got invited to all the hotspots, I guess the assumption was that photographers always brought models with them. Also photographers had a certain status back then which seems to be missing nowadays. It really was a hayday.

    Maintaining the studio was extremely stressful, having paid studio rents approaching $10k a month with clients that required that you lay out huge sums of money and then wait 90 days or more to get paid. And I'm not talking small businesses making you wait that long, I'm talking banks, credit card companies etc. It seemed that the companies most insistent that people pay them promptly always tended to be those that paid the slowest. Have you noticed that? I guess it was good training for dealing with galleries!!

  10. #60
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    The toughest thing was realizing the 'pals' you made doing good work for
    turned my bill over to the accounting department, whose sole reason for existence was to pay as slowly as possible to let the company make another 1/2 percent.

    Collecting has always been a bitch: I never got into the business to knock heads
    with 'suits'.

    EVERY school should teach the reality of The Fine Print.

    It has nothing to do with making pictures.

    And join ASMP.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell



 

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