Hey, I was just about to type that!!
Originally Posted by Photo Engineer
For up from the ashes, up from the ashes, grow the roses of success!
I just don't get it. Someone is going out on a limb to produce a NEW silver product. Why in the hell are people who don't use it and don't plan to use it crapping all over this thread?
What if someone else were to resurrect POP? Would that be an offense to people using enlarging paper, too?
How about platinum, that's not enlarging paper. No one seems to be bitching about people printing in that medium. This is just incredible to me.... Yeah, yeah, I know... public forum... I can be as obnoxious as I want to be, right?
Totally agree. If the thread title had been "lodima vs all other papers/methods", I could understand some of the comments. But the mere announcing of the availability of a paper seems to have attracted all who want to rain (or piss) on our parade. Its been quite a spectacle.
Originally Posted by Shawn Dougherty
Keith, I wasn't singling you or anyone else out, I was just observing (with tongue in cheek), that photographers are notoriously consumed with the facts and figures of print making rather than the gift of seeing. This board is a great help to many people who are trying to learn processes - myself included, I just think too much energy is spent on the technical aspects of aesthetics rather than the myriad of other things that make for good work.
Originally Posted by Keith Tapscott.
Speaking of good work, I went to Akron last weekend and saw the Weston & Friedlander shows. As always, loved the Weston prints, but I was blown away by Friendlander's eye. His prints were nothing special from a technical standpoint, but it didn't matter to me because he has such a wonderful way of seeing. I see a lot of beautifully crafted, but generally boring prints. No matter how fine the tones are, a boring photograph is still boring to me. I walked out of that show pumped up to make some new work, not because of tones or sharpness or any of those things, but because of Friedlander's incredible seeing. Of course, when the two come together, it's a wonderful thing (which is why I still lug around an 8x10). But if I had to choose, I'd pick the seeing every time.
I'll try my 2nd 'meaningless' post even though I've tried very hard to stay out of this thread as I am usually neutral in such instances. Context cannot be seen behind many of the postings that degenerate into the slanging matches I have seen on some forums. APUG is not like those that I have seen, and I do not believe this thread is unreasonable. People have questions regarding the claims that the Lodima product appears to have, and the claims of superiority to anything else out there. I don't think anyone here is knocking the very commendable people bringing back a very useable Silver Chloride paper. I think most of the outpouring of comments is based upon the underlying sense that if you don't contact print on Lodima, or AZO after using LF, ULF for you will not get good results over using regular enlargement paper or technology. It's a purely subjective thing and that's what I find distasteful is the implication that many respected and established photographers who do not produce contact printed work are thereby making inferior images on enlargement paper. Let alone those of you who use collodion!! I mean can azo resolve down to the molecular level?? Then there's platinum. The levity aspect here is clearly what is needed. No one medium is better than the other. Physics may place Azo/Lodima results to be more technically capable, but in the end they are processes and materials that allow us to express ourselves just like any other. As John Voss elegantly said "So that we See" That to me is the key piece here. VISION. Without it, most images will be inferior regardless of the materials and technique used to create it. Each to their own and peace out. I will certainly order some of this paper though just out of curiousity and contact print some 4x5 negs.
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Back to the original topic... Will any of the Lodima production run be available after the pre-order round? I'd love to take some Lodima out for a spin, but probably won't be in a position to buy any until around end of this year.
To respond to Tom Bertilsson: I would like to make clear a few things. It seems that some have a very distorted view of who I am as a photographer.
I am as interested in other aspects of photography as I am in LF or ULF. There is nowhere that I have written about not having a deep respect and admiration for all kinds of photographs, made in all kinds of ways. I have knocked lousy platinum prints, but that is because most of them are not very good, but that has nothing to do with camera size or subject. It has to do with quality. I do care about quality.
One of my own strongest influences as a photographer is Cartier-Bresson. His "Introduction to the Decisive Moment" should be required reading for all photographers.
The Vision and Technique workshops that Paula and I teach, although we demonstrate with an 8x10 camera, are not format specific. We have had 35mm photographs take the workshop and have even had photographers who use only digital cameras take the workshop. And they have told us how valuable it was to them.
Many years ago, I was a juror of an one of those kinds of exhibition where folks submit work for an exhibition and for monetary prizes. The other juror was Judith Golden (who, if you do not know her work, is in color and is often highly manipulated). Contrary to what most folks expected, I selected very few of the large-format black and white prints that were submitted. Judith selected most of them, and I selected most of the color work and alternative process work.
And many more years ago than that, in the 1970s, I saw at a workshop where I was an instructor at the Friends of Photography, photographs by a young lady who showed me, with apologies (apologies that were unnecessary as it turned out), prints that had only about two or three zones of contrast in them. They were beautiful. She then showed me the same photographs, printed with a longer scale, as she tried to make "proper " pritns. They were terrible, and I told her so. The "flat" prints were the perfect prints for what she was photographing.
So, there are no rules. I understand that very well, thank you.
However, if one is attempting to make "traditional" black and white contact prints in the tradition of Weston, Adams, or Evans, and if one is concerned with making beautiful objects, then, to me (and to many, many others as well, though clearly not to all), prints on silver chloride paper have more glow and more presence to them. And they are not only different than the same photographs printed on enlarging paper, they are more beautiful. If they are printed correctly.
Now, you did not get more beautiful results on Azo when you tried it. Perhaps you did not know how to print on it. I know it took me several years to figure out how to print on Azo. One thing you wrote that you did was use Weston's Amidol formula. I'm not sure why, since it is absolutely not the right formula for any Azo made since the 1960s. It will not give you the quality that Azo is capable of. I believe the major reason that it took me so long to get it right was that I, too, was using Weston's Amidol formula. It took me a long time to figure out the correct formula. And I must add that I have seen many, many lousy prints on Azo. But it is not the paper's fault.
And ULF? WHo said ULF was necessary? I never did. In fact, I discourage people from using ULF cameras. 8x10 is generally good enough. Just recently, a friend sold an 11 x 14 in large part because of my recommendation.
Concerning "grab shots." One can do that with an 8x10, or even a larger camera, as I and Nick Nixon have amply demonstrated. (I think there are some of mine on our web site under "see images" from my book "A Visual Journey.") If one feels limited to static subjects because of the format, that is their choice. The format is not dictating it. And seeing with a LF or ULF camera is equally spontaneous as using a 35mm. It just depends on how you see with it--which is what the essence of the workshops Paula and I teach is about.
You wrote at the end: "If you show me your prints I will look at the content, expression, emotion, composition, gesture, and frame. You will have to remind me to look at the tonal values."
Actually, they all go together, as they do in any work of art in any medium. One looks at a work of art as a totality, and that includes the tonal qualities. In fact, in black and white photographs all you have are tones. That's it. The surface of any black and white photograph is ultimately nothing but a bunch of tones. So you don't have to be reminded to look at the tonal values. You are looking at them by default. If they don't register with you . . . well . . . I don't know what to say. How the tones are arranged, and printed, and what they express, ah, that's where the art comes in.
Don't neglect the "what they express." It is the "what they express" that makes for great, or good, or fair, or poor, art--as long as the first parts--how the tones are arranged and printed are done as fine as possible. Silver chloride paper is only about "how the tones are printed."
Michael A. Smith
Send me your address via email (today) as I leave on a trip soon, and I will send you a few sheets of Lodima paper so you can see for yourself.
As I wrote immediately above, the seeing is the ultimate thing. (There I used the term "what the tones express.") The workshops that Paula and I teach: some attend because they "want to learn to print on Azo." As we make very clear at the start of the workshops, that is the least important part of our workshops, at least it is to us. The "seeing" we teach is what is important. And I might add, that from what we have seen from those who have taken our Vision and Technique workshop who have previously taken workshops with other photographers, is that in the other workshops, sure, they learn something and do get energized, but afterwards they do not necessarily make better seen (in their own terms, "better seen") photographs. After our workshops, in every instance where we have spoken with the participants, they always feel their photographs are now "better seen" (in their own terms, not ours). And we agree when we see their photographs.
Michael A. Smith
That`s OK Skillian. Lee Friedlander does have a good eye for making interesting photos and no umbrage taken.
Originally Posted by skillian
Back on topic, I have never used Azo or any similar type of papers, but I have read something about them on this forum. I might try the Lodima paper one day, probably grade 2, just out of curiosity. It seems from Michael`s reply, that any normally exposed and processed films are fine for contacting on Lodima. For the modern films and developers part of my question, he suggested T-Max 400 and what ever film developer that is regularly used.
Good grief, now "most" platinum prints are lousy along with silver enlargements.
Originally Posted by Michael A. Smith
I'm pretty much speechless.