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Craftsmanship

dudler

Time for an update: I still use film, though. Not vast quantities, but I have a darkroom, and I'm not afraid to use it.

I enjoy every image I take: I hope you'll enjoy looking at them.
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Craftsmanship

25 Apr 2020 9:21AM   Views : 317 Unique : 213

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My dayjob working life was mainly at a desk, or in a meeting room. Over the last thirty years of it, a very great deal of it was spent with a computer in front of me: writing, researching, communicating.
I think itís the same for a lot of people Ė and this was a major reason that I was quite a late adopter of digital photography, because digital means more time at a computer.

Darkroom work feels different: it is different. Instead of sitting looking at a screen, you stand, moving around between workbenches. Thatís really important to me, and I want to test out one side of it with you.

It was quite unusual for a pupil expected to do well at ĎOí Level to take woodwork for more than a couple of years, but I did. I wasnít desperately good at it, but I enjoyed it, found an interesting challenge there Ė and I got on well with the teacher, Mr Jones.

He taught me that you need to practice to get good at a craft, and that taking care matters Ė as well as how to use a tenon saw and a mortice chisel. I also learned about something that amounts to bootstrapping: taking a rough-sawn, vaguely square piece of wood, and making it smooth and square with a progression of steps: first the face side, then the face edge (both gently marked in pencil on the wood).

Iím still not really good at taking my time and working at something hard. But itís so satisfying when it works well (and so frustrating when it doesnít). There are links to the world of self-development, as you become aware of your abilities and failings, and set about altering them.

I have a number of friends who seem to be universally gifted: tools and materials obey them, just as horses respond to the whisper of a sympathetic rider.

And Ė on a good day Ė printing in the darkroom lets me share in this world. Thereís a satisfaction in physically moving things, standing and being active, using my hands to make shapes to dodge and burn, instead of waggling a little round blob on the opposite end of a mouse.

There's no prize for recognising the location of today's pictures: but you may want to show off your photographic geography.

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Comments

mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 38 8 England
25 Apr 2020 10:19AM
People tend to enjoy doing things they are good at. Artists, sculptors, teachers, carpenters, footballers. Whatever the passtime or job is, if someone has a skill or tallent they try to make the most of it. Either by using it to earn a living or by making it their hobby, sometimes both. Pupils do much better in subjects that they enjoy and as you said, the pleasure someone gets from creating something or achieving something they thought was too difficult makes the effort more enjoyable. Everybody's good at something.
PaulCox Avatar
25 Apr 2020 10:22AM
I agree with your woodwork analogy, I went to a Technical School in the Welsh Valleys, took Woodwork, Metalwork, and Technical Drawing, the best part was the Tech Drawing Teacher Mr John Smith, also ran the school Camera Club so from age 14 I regularly developed and Printed all my photos in the school darkroom, and yes the discipline that is required in the pursuit of a craft can only be achieved with practice. Thank you for these Blogs/articles I look forward to reading them daily, especially at these restricted times. Paul.
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
25 Apr 2020 11:33AM
Thank you, both.

The darkroom feels so different from the computer - and I really do enjoy them both. I haven't achieved my goal of working in the darkroom every day this week, but I have been thinking a bit.

Probably a bit of non-analogue fun some time next week... After watching Ivan Weiss's Q&A, I am going to experiment with tethering my Alpha 7r III. Tetherdown, maybe?
mistere Avatar
mistere Plus
10 38 8 England
25 Apr 2020 12:07PM
Digital bondage? SmileSmile
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
25 Apr 2020 2:42PM
Nah. That's when you tie people up iwth cables and leads.

There's a tale about someone who considered all leads to be her husband's problem, and couldn't find her iPhone charging lead.

Just saying.
dark_lord Avatar
dark_lord Plus
19 3.0k 836 England
25 Apr 2020 8:32PM
Looking back I did enjoy my time in the darkroom even if I never produced any masterpoieces.
There are old negatives that I'll have to revisit, albeit with producing a scanned version. Some were never printed. Loading a scanner isn't the same as an enlarger of course, but there is that anticipation while searching through nrgatives and waiting to see the positive appear on screen.

I recognised the location above immediately Smile
dudler Avatar
dudler Plus
20 2.1k 2048 England
25 Apr 2020 10:02PM
I wonder if anybody else did...
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