Usually to start with, the intrepid photographer will learn on a semi auto 35mm (or 35mm of some type) and ventures into the landscape or suburbia armed with their prescribed allround film, and dreams of making their mark on the world of fine art photgraphy.
Originally Posted by Ian Grant
It doesn't take long for the landscaper to find out that they can't seem to be able to get the results they were expecting on the 35mm cheapy B&W or Kodak Gold that they were expecting .... and moves up to a pro film. Even this doesn't seem to provide the quick path to Artist recognition they were seeking, and after frequent exposure to the miriad of fine examples of landscapes that are published regularly, they make the leap to a larger format (bound by their own financial contraints) . If their aspirations are cultivated by Lee Frost et alia, they may be content to remain with the MF. If they aspire more towards Jack Dykinga et alia, they are still unsatisfied. And so the steps towards seeking the holy grail of the technically perfect landscape print are trodden.
If they are nutters like some of us around here, they are never satisfied, and even a negative that has to be reduced instead of enlarged won't be good enough. And it will become necessary to use things like hand made artists paper, platinum and gold to approach the quality level they are seeking. At which time, they have usually surpassed the quality appreciation levels of the wider audience, and they need to seek an audience with a higher 'artist appreciation quotient'.
Meanwhile the others take their own road.
So, from this perspective, photographers find their own format of film to fulfill the personal requirements they have.
Then there is the other kind of nutter. The one that wants to be different, not just by being better/more skilled at what everyone else is doing, but by using their highly developed skills to push a camera into something that it was not originally designed for. 8x10" handheld, candid people photography, polaroid transfer (perhaps not such a good example) but you get the idea.
As I see it, none are really wrong. Thing is people will always have their own levels of satisfaction to fulfill in their photography, and choice of film format and type is a consideration.
A friend of mine as a very successful print of a New Zealand landscape icon. It was taken on 35mm film and grainy. It would just not have worked on any larger format.
For me however, and despite this example, I personally don't agree with Ian's first statement above. For me, it's gotta be large format (even MF is a compromise on necessary info in the neg).
But who is to say this format is correct, and that isn't. "Or Horses for Courses". As soon as we go down that track, we take away a choice for the photgraphers' own personal expression. just my 2c