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View Full Version : Admiration & curiosity about our venerable, graying shooters



Heroique
26-Jul-2014, 13:30
[Poll to follow]

Today, I was browsing the ever-enjoyable "How old are we?" thread (which is now 14 years old!), and as has been pointed out, the average age of respondents is about 49 years – older than one might suspect, given the physical and mental challenges of our old-fashioned craft.

That got me thinking about & appreciating the many people here, still shooting on a regular basis, who keep this average age from sinking to, say, age 35 or 45.

I’m not one of them (yet!), but as a preface to questions below, I do think this graying crowd – so quick to share tips here, practical and theoretical – deserve an occasional round of applause for their endurance and "staying power." ;^)

I also wish (I don't think I'm alone) that I had a better understanding about just how old these devotees are, and what their principal viewpoints might be, as LF practitioners who have matured well beyond age 49, the "average age" here.

If you're one of these people (or younger) and would like to share remarks about your personal experiences, please let us know –

• How has your style (and technique) changed in field, studio or darkroom as you've gone through the decades?
• What is the single most important attribute to "keep going"? When is it time to stop?
• What balance have you discovered between losses and compensations?

Your reflections will help the whippersnappers around here know what to expect as time's winged chariot hurries near. :D

jp
26-Jul-2014, 17:22
I'm a whippersnapper but have hung out with enough older people that it simply means they were born before you or I, and often have more similarities than differences. The differences can make for some good stories (as long as they are not repeated too frequently)!

Heroique
26-Jul-2014, 18:40
...The differences can make for some good stories (as long as they are not repeated too frequently)!

I should add – let's please be tolerant & forgiving of any stories that are posted twice or thrice!

:cool:

Jerry Bodine
26-Jul-2014, 20:11
Well, let me say this about that ... uh, forgot what I was gonna say.

Jody_S
26-Jul-2014, 20:17
I'm too young, physically, to vote in your poll, but I'm getting cranky enough I feel I should. Is there an option for that?

Randy Moe
26-Jul-2014, 20:48
63, but think I am under 21. Brain fading quickly. Body failed some time ago. Loaded 60 sheets minutes ago for a fashion shoot tomorrow where I will be double the age of anyone involved. Shooting a massive 50's Linhof Kardan Color on matching Linhof tripod and dolly. It's all part of the vintage culture poisoning our youth. I'll also shoot Fuji FP3000B with Mamiya RB. THe organizer will wrangle the models, makeup, hair people and set the lighting. She will shoot digital and I will do my best to keep up. Fortunately the shoot is in my building, but I do need to make 6 portages to move this gear. I primarily shoot in my studio.

I didn't know what LF was until I started messing with it at age 60. Heck I didn't start college until I was 44 and got an MFA at age 50. I'm a late bloomer...who is enjoying an early retirement and doing what pleases me for once in my life. Since my studio is ADA compliant, I have no plan to stop until they carry me out.

Pretty excited about the shoot tomorrow, hope I can sleep.

Heroique
26-Jul-2014, 21:35
I'm too young, physically, to vote in your poll, but I'm getting cranky enough I feel I should. Is there an option for that?

Yes, Jody – option #5 is for you, and we want to hear your story.

Option #5 is mainly for people (60 and older) who feel younger than their age, but it's also for younger people (like you) who feel older than their age. I'm certain plenty of whippersnappers feel like you do, briefly or chronically, given the demands of LF photography.

So if you're an LFer who's 35 but feels 75, we want to know how you manage the situation too!


I’m 63, but think I am under 21... Pretty excited about the shoot tomorrow, hope I can sleep.

That is an impressive attitude for age 63 – inspiration for us all.

-----
Interesting, but very early results (just 20 respondents) show a sudden, even dramatic drop-off between age 60 and 70. I'll be curious to see if this trend continues...

Jim Jones
27-Jul-2014, 05:24
First, to settle an ambiguity in the poll, I'm slightly over 80. That seems better than being 90.
• How has your style (and technique) changed in field, studio or darkroom as you've gone through the decades?
Rather than capturing interesting subjects around the World, making better photographs of ordinary subjects near home is good enough.
• What is the single most important attribute to "keep going"? When is it time to stop?
If we don't keep going, we soon fall far behind. It's time to stop only when we can no longer keep going.
• What balance have you discovered between losses and compensations?
Wisdom, experience, and even better equipment have so far compensated well enough for decreasing strength and stamina.

bob carnie
27-Jul-2014, 06:29
Great Post Jim

I live to the part about ( It's time to stop only when we no longer keep going.)

Also , I plan to leave behind a complete printed history of my work in archival media... maybe it won't go to the dumpster.

John Kasaian
27-Jul-2014, 19:16
One's age should equate directly to the number of square inches on the sheet film one shoots. That is all.

Tim Meisburger
27-Jul-2014, 20:32
Then I'm shooting for 11x14!

Vaughn
27-Jul-2014, 21:13
I just hit 60 this month, so as I am not over 60 yet, I am too young to vote above.

I have been poring cement for the base of piers and posts, and leveling out a room in my 'new' place. The room will be the finishing room (matting and framing) as well as a place for UV exposures for alt processes. The room is half on a slab, the other half on piers and posts. The slab has broken and is slightly slumped a couple inches. The old piers have sunken a couple inches due to a washing machine being drained onto the ground under the room for who knows how many years! Creative leveling to say the least! Got it pretty close, just ignore the new crack in the wall. I am feeling those 60 years tonight (but the hot tub helped)...or should that be 154 in ULF photographer's years?

At least I can count this as photographic work since it will be part of my studio.

Leszek Vogt
27-Jul-2014, 23:13
#1 and #5 applies.

But, the bigger question is, if I was already showing grey hair when I was 17....what does that make me today ? Due to weirdness of immigration, etc. I was little older than most kids while in HS. There were couple kids that called me gramps. Sooo, in my view, whether you have silver hair or whatever, it's all about attitude.

Les

Michael_4514
28-Jul-2014, 03:00
I am a lawyer. Do you want my chronological age, or my age according to my time sheets?

Jim Jones
28-Jul-2014, 05:19
One's age should equate directly to the number of square inches on the sheet film one shoots. That is all.

It applies to all sizes of film. Thus, a photographer ages faster when exposing several rolls of 35mm while another sets up his 8x10 for one shot.

Sal Santamaura
28-Jul-2014, 06:54
I just hit 60 this month, so as I am not over 60 yet...You were 60 on your birthday. Now you are over 60, but less than a full year over. :D:D

Sal "who fell into the same boat late last year" Santamaura

Heroique
28-Jul-2014, 11:06
I hope the poll eventually reveals a "90" voter among us, who might share some hard-won wisdom.

If born in 1924 (or earlier), this person may have been shooting in the FDR years; they might also vote #5, feeling today the youthful zest of a 75 year-old.

I'd love to see a before/after landscape or portrait study, images separated by several decades.

-----
Still remarking the apparent 60's threshold, and the sharp drop-off by age 70.

Kirk Gittings
28-Jul-2014, 11:58
I am a lawyer. Do you want my chronological age, or my age according to my time sheets?

:)

Alan Gales
28-Jul-2014, 14:41
I'm 52 but I voted #5 since my back is feeling 102 today.

ridax
31-Jul-2014, 04:15
One's age should equate directly to the number of square inches on the sheet film one shoots. That is all.

That's why 5x7" is too small to be watched comfortably with my aging eyes!...
Good news is, I am still supposed to crop my 8x10"s brutally. ;)