Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler View Post
An example of the vacuous type of item is his description of photographers working in black as opposed to other artistic approaches - this sounds deep and profound but he is fundamentally describing a working method, not a philosophy or meaning. Change the analogy and see if it holds - a sculptor working with stone, the basic element of our world evokes the more base or primitive feelings of his audience. Bullsh*t! "By contrast, the photographer inhabits the camera obscura, and he ultimately and always draws in the future viewers with him." Bullsh*t! Both are mediums of expression - the fact that the sculptor needs light to see is no more significant than the fact that I don't need a chisel to make a photograph. While his prose sounds impressive and admittedly somewhat poetic, it is not meaningful. However, I will take the time to read the book before deciding on its' value to me. If it has value to you, use it and care not what I think! I don't mean to discourage you, I mean to prod you into deeper introspection.
Thanks Kevin for your earnest and sincere engagement. Now, yes, these passages are well out of context--he is speaking very specifically about black and white photography at the outset, because of its technical purity and innocence of claim to be 'truly' 'representative' (which color processes may or may not have--he addresses color neg, polaroid, slide in their turn). But, in these two passages I've selected I don't think he's talking about blackness as a necessary environmental quality of the process, but the blackness as the absence of record, that in photography the important (philosophically distinctive) part is all of the whole of creation that you omit (says Nietzsche's Zarathustra, every Yes is an even greater No). The lighted room of the non-photographer visual artist attempts to pull in everything they can of reality (pertinent to their message) they see to build a further reality for us to see, where the photographer only samples reality through dispersed and intermittent penetration of the real (or rather, by the real); being in the darkroom, employing the camera obscura, blocking out everything but what is essential. It is a contrast between the certainty of signed reality, of myth, of story, of narrative, contrary to the photographer's working in possibility and brushing by the ineffable. So, I think that I meant to present here one area of his thinking that would be especially appealing and reassuring to the analogue practioner, troublesome though it may be.

Your comments would be very valuable as both a place to ponder and better understand what is worth holding onto out of this thing I've read and love, but also necessary for me to procede. Understand, that if I could do this all on my own I absolutely would; my brain doesn't do well outside the lively company required of the Socratic method (talking to myself gets depressing and confusing, but I do it all the time anyway).

Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler View Post
However, I would not get my hopes up too greatly for a thread like this - my experience is that people will discuss the precipitation rate of AgN03 in a metol solution for hours or the log of a exposure curve (I have no idea what these things mean, as much as I have tried) but will not read through a thread like this. There is a reason philosophy departments are generally small - not only can't you get a job with such a degree, it is intellectually harder to pursue than a number of other disciplines (I'm looking at you accounting!)
Two points; this level of discourse I enjoy with you at present is all I had hoped for. Should one or two other brave souls open this (or any) book (or webpage, pdf, whatever) and join us it would exceed my highest expectations. Also, the chemical technical side of darkroom work is really not that hard, and mostly worked out for you. APUG being what it is I'm sure you've heard of Phil Davis' BTZS book (the absolute best exposure manual ever written), and if the whole quantification thing is appealing but bamboozling, that is the one book which will sort it out for almost anyone.

Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Kehler View Post
At the Universities I attended, these were fighting words - analytic philosophy is heavily distinguished from continental and it was pretty insulting to either camp to mistake one for the other. Perhaps things have changed in the past decade but I would be careful around certain academics with a comment like that.
Yeah, I'm obviously not a student of philosophy itself (political science) but I recognize the difference in branding Anglo v. Non-Anglo schools of Eurocentric thought, and meant to describe the work here as analytic philosophy to contrast it with the kind of "philosophy" (self-help/'spirituality'/how-to books) that the likes of Bill Jay and others produce, noting that it's from the continental tradition. I know you know that I knew that you'd know what I meant. But, also, I think that he means to bridge the gap between epistemic positivism (and its claims to more scientific and certain claims) and phenomenological thinking with his very acute appeals to the physical properties of our being, and the universe; critical-realist, or interpretivist, I'm not sure. BUT, I think on that account you're better equipped than I am to evaluate, so I eagerly but patiently await the time when you can spend the time, and to then let me know what you think.