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I have noticed over the years on this site, also at most photographic clubs, that so called enthusiastic photographers, professionals and otherwise, are willing to
send their precious work to various establishments for developing, printing, and other types of photo-finishing.
From my experience, the only way I have found to get consistant results in any form of finishing is to learn the technique, perfect it, and get the satisfation of having produced the final work yourself.
I hear some say, 'well I don't have the facility or the time to do it all myself'
If that be the case, they are, by definition, but half way photographers!
So, why do so many wanabees spent a small fortune on equipment to obtain a picture
that they hope will be a masterpiece, only to sent their precious work to some unknown
craftsman for finishing. Why do they insist on changeing horses in mis stream?
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Even top Professional photographers who are household names put their work throu' processing labs,Stan.
Some don't even handle the camera at all-assistants do all that NASTY work!
Oh,and test clips (or polaroids)for every shoot..
Is'nt photography such a messy business for those with money to burn...pass the champagne around the studio,darlings!
Who is paying-the client.Why,because they think they are getting a bargain from someone with a 'name'.
Joe Bloggs could possibly do the same picture if he had the money & studio.
As a Pro friend said the other day-these are NOT photographers in the true sense.It's everyone else doing all the work...
It has been said that a photograph is 'taken' with your own eye and using your imagination.
Everything else is just a mechanical process.
In these digital days many photos never even get printed, but go onto the internet or are sent by email. Some younger photograpers of my acqaintance think printing out pics is positively Stone Age!!
Carabosse, thanks for your input.
As an artist/photographer for over fifty years I consider your theory that the photograph is taken with ones own eye is quite false. I have never yet managed to record a scene by looking at it!
By the standard definition a photograph is:
'A picture made by chemical action of light on sensitive film'
Taking into account the march of time, I consider it necessary to make a distinction between, photography and digital recording. A new title such as:
'Digital Image recording' being an accurate definition of the digital process.
Finally, to suggest that young photographers
would consider the traditional photograpic
process as 'stone age' would mearly to show that they have not grasped the fundamental principles of the craft of photography or even digital imaging!
If you've had 50 years experience Stan you ought to know precisely what I mean!
The ability to see an opportunity and "capture" an image (mentally) using ones eye and imagination is fundamental to the artistry of photography.
How that image is captured and whether it is on film or digital and whether it is printed out or not are all secondary issues.
Photography has moved forward into the 21st century - but I can well understand that some individuals will wish to stay in the last one!!
"Definitions" of photography are pretty pointless and sometimes used as an excuse to remain in the Stone Age!!
Stan, I suspect the reason why many people don't process their own film comes down to one or all of the following:
- No space for a darkroom
- No time
- Never had the opportunity
My brother has been into photography for over 20 years and has never developed a film.
I send my slide films off to Peak in the knowledge that they will do a MUCH better job than I could.
I can then use the dreaded "digital" darkroom to produce a print I am happy with.
Stan I do not have your years of experience only about 20 years but I still remember taking the shots mainly slides but also B&W then processing the film and then printing but I first stopped proccessing slide film because the chemicals became to expensive and did not last long then I stopped printing slides you know, CIBA CHROME the cost was just not justifiable. Also I found that the local photo supply shops just did not stock the range of B&W papers that they used to. Alright some would order it for you but you would have to wait.So I now do everything digital so much better and cheaper. But I still have yet to find a digital paper that is anywhere near CIBA-CHROME. Looking back it was a good learning experience but I have no regrets about giving up the darkroom. So Stan if you are still doing everything yourself by traditional methods good luck I could not afford to go back. And before any body comments on the cost of computers and printers etc. you can do a lot more with a computer than photography unlike a darkroom.
I did a short course some time back in the mid 80's and developed some B/W - and I know that were I to buy the equipment and make my available space dual-purpose, I would just love it. Being a very 'hands-on' sort of person it's the kind of creative activity I know I'd love ..
Maybe it's because the activity of developing one's own work is a very tactile and 'active' thing to do is why it holds such a fascination quite apart from the process of photography itself. I'll probably get hold of a digital camera somewhere along the line, but I also know that I'll want to work with film in the darkroom. Stan was talking about canvas and different papers in another thread .. and that would be such a lovely thing to do as well, working with different textures.
I also love working with computers too .. and that's a different skill again with its own fascinations. Computers and software are grown-up toys for me and I love 'em!! But it's a different activity .. I'm using a mouse instead of two hands, and although I hear what some of you say about textures and quality of photographic paper in the printing stage, the actual art and craft of working with images on screen uses different bits of my brain (what's left of it!! LOL)
Thanks all for your comments:
For the past year or so I have become enthused about the integration of digital processes of the 21st century with the chemical processes of the 19th century. I like to think I am making
headway in achieving the best of both systems.
I admit that compared to digital, chemical processes are very time consuming, particularly for preparation of
liquid emulsion, transfers, cyanotypes, platinum and tintypes, but to my mind the extra work involved is proportionate to the
The many textures of emulsion supports and papers now available for either darkroom or digital prints are freely available and provided care is taken, does not have to be prohibitive in cost.
I am only too aware that many keen traditional photographers just do not have the time for darkroom work and are right to welcome with open arms the speed of the digital process.
For the forseeable future, the digital and traditional processes will work together
to satisfy my creative needs alone, without having to meet a deadline or a customers brief.
To wind up this thread:
If one does not know the origins of his craft, then,
how can he expect to take the right road to fulfilment? 'Stone Age' Stan. L-B
Stan, the times they are a-changing. Who knows, in 20 years time the wet darkroom may be a relic of the past. Maybe I will stockpile some film and chemicals and when my daughters leave home and I have more space I will throw away the digital gear..
20 years? LOL!! I wonder what percentage of film users do their own processing. 0.1%? 0.01%?
It has always been of interest to only a very tiny minority. On the other hand a high proportion of digital users take an interest in the process beyond merely taking the photo. Even if it's just to improve contrast/brightness/sharpness.
That is the great thing about digital - people are getting more involved in the entire process.
Photography has a new lease of life and we should be very glad about it! Rejoice! Rejoice! Hmmmm.....didn't someone else say that? :O)
Carabosse - you miss my point. In 20 years, film and processing chemicals may no longer be manufactured....
I did realise that Big Bri, I was doubting (just a bit) that it would take as long as 20 years.
About half that would be my prediction; but who knows, a "nostalgia" market may keep film alive, much in the same way as vinyl has not been totally displaced by CD - and may never be!
Many moons ago, I spent many a happy hour in the darkroom with my brother developing and printing. I was still very young and it always fascinated me to see the image develop on the paper.
For much of my adult life, I've lacked the finances and the time to pursue the traditional darkroom, more recently, the finances are better - but I haven't the space.
The solution - I've switched to using slides and get these processed by a top lab. If I want a print, it gets scanned onto the computer. This also allows me to work with colour - and record our wonderful world with all the vibrancy with which my eyes see it. I don't find that monochrome inspires as much as the full technicolour of mother nature.
I got to thinking about this again, and to elaborate a little on what my thoughts were about the creative activity of developing one's own pics .. it feels like the same urge to practice a craft as a traditional woodworker would experience .. or a potter .. it's a tactile and practical thing to do, and there's an extra dimension to producing or having something that is 'hand made'. Yes the same could also apply to digital on screen manipulation, but the end product hasn't been moulded or touched by the artist's hands .. and although by no means am I knocking that, as I also use whizzo computer trickery .. I would love to hand craft my own pictures which then would have an infusion of time and (dare I say it!) love for what one's doing ..
That doesn't mean that lab-produced pics don't have extra dimensions too .. or that one is better than the other .. but there's a subtle difference between the two. And I love the similarities as well as the differences.
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