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View Full Version : To get out of ULF or not?



StoneNYC
24-Mar-2016, 11:49
So I love shooting with ULF, but I'm in school full time for another 5 years.

I have hardly had the time for 8x10 shooting, mostly shooting medium format as of late.

I've got a single 11x14 holder and from time to time borrow a friends 11x14 Century, and I have 3 14x17 holders and a home made box camera (which I've posted my YouTube video on that in the past) and a ton of film.

Summer's coming and I know I might have more time to refine the box camera for focusing and such, but I also have to finish my darkroom, the 8x10 is up and running, but needs some maintenance as its not holding still on focus and is drifting. So I'm still unsure if I'll be able enlarge the 8x10.

I'm also a broke college student, and I kind of need the $1,000 or so I could get for selling at least 2 of the 14x17 holders. But that only leaves me with one of each, or get out of 11x14 and stick to 14x17 and maybe keep 2 and end up with $800 or so off the 11x14 and one 14x17 holders.

I'm just stuck, I'm also trying to clear space and distractions to focus on making better images when I have the time after my studies are done.

But each size carries its own benefits, there's just a translation that happens with an ULF image that's different than an enlarged 8x10 or 6x4.5 or anything. Even if the FL's are the same or equivalent.

I know this is an age old question, but any advice would be welcome. I could always re-acquire stuff later, but most likely at a higher price right? I'm not purging lenses or anything, I've been very careful and specific to make sure all lenses cross over so I also needed less lenses overall. I only "need" 2 lenses and both are relatively cheap ($400 or so if I'm patient) and I don't have money for them anyway obviously since I need money for real life things (CC and car maintenance).

So what do you guys think? I have grand plans in the works for the summer, but do I really have the time? Is it worth it? I know some of this is "only you can decide" but some advice or words of wisdom would be nice.

NO this is not a post requesting offers, if I had already decided to sell I would just post a FS add. Just wondering if there's something I haven't thought of.

Randy Moe
24-Mar-2016, 12:08
If your 'hobby' is taking away from your MFA Art studies and is not directly related to the degree, you must change plans and use the next 5 years very carefully.

Soon you will be old and wonder where the time went.

Sell it all and travel for Art purpose and study.

I don't regret spending months in Paris, Venice and London studying art. I wish I had gotten to China. Now I never will.

Time is way more valuable than money.

Corran
24-Mar-2016, 12:14
You are studying art / photography and you don't have time to shoot even your "regular" format? I think you put too many irons in the fire instead of actually making photographs.

I have a Masters already and I'm transitioning out of that field. It's never too late I suppose. I wonder if you really know what you want to do (and it's okay not to).

Make time for what's important. If you aren't doing that, then don't try to force it. Frankly I wonder if your insistence on shooting 8x10 only is already handicapping you.

sanking
24-Mar-2016, 12:54
If you don't plan to use the equipment very much for the next five years my advice would be to sell it. You will always be able to replace this type of equipment at a later date. And, in five years your interest and goals may have changed. There is no sane reason to hold on to equipment that is not being used, unless it is for collectible or sentimental reasons.

In my opinion the major stumbling block to ULF photography in 5-10 years will not be equipment, but the cost of film. Cost of film is much higher today than it was ten years ago, and will almost surely continue to go up in the next decade. When I began working with 20X24 the cost of film was less than $5 a sheet, when I got out of this format the cost was over $25 per sheet, and has continued to rise. So if you want to put a hold on your use of ULF consider getting rid of the equipment and holding on to the film (frozen of course).


Sandy

StoneNYC
24-Mar-2016, 14:31
Thanks guys, Randy and Corran, my MFA will be in Photography but first I need to get my AFA (associates in Fine arts) and BFA (bachelors in studio arts) which is why I have 5 years left, 1 for the AFA, 2 more for the BFA and then 2 for the MFA.

But they don't have any photo-specific degrees near my location so I'm taking no actual photo courses for the next 3 years at least.

Sorry I forgot to clarify that.

Shooting 8x10 to me is no different than 4x5, it takes the same amount of time, just a bigger backpack.

Sandy, sound advice, I hear you on that. The 14x17 film I have is the Ektascan which is super cheap. $2/sheet and I already shoot that in 8x10 so testing is easy.

But I suppose in 5 years that film might be phased out as well.

Hmm, things to think about. Thanks.

Corran
24-Mar-2016, 16:15
My personal opinion, which I may have said before, is that you should go to a different undergrad program. That's messed up. Also, many MFA programs are 3 years now, if not most.

Michael Kadillak
24-Mar-2016, 19:48
Sell your equipment and get back into it at the correct time. Just put two kids through college and the best advice I could give you (as I gave my kids that they used) was to get a degree that you have an 80% or greater chance of making a living/saving for retirement wage at. They took the advice and are on their own and are on a secure path. Five years of college to get a degree that is (honestly) not worth much (experience is as valuable in this regard when we chose to be perfectly honest) is highly suspect if we want to be perfectly honest. The real world we live in is cold, hard and intensely problematic and needs to be accepted for what it is rather than what we hope it could be. The pressure of paying back a student loan when you are working your ass off just to make a living let alone cover the ancillary obligations redefines the term stressful. This is the reason that college enrollment is going through a complete stem to stern transformation resulting in much lower college enrollment. No longer can college students get a "degree" and assume they are secure. The degree you pursue is absolutely critical to your future and chasing a dream or your heart is immaterial to the realities of the market value of said objective. Finance, economics, the sciences are the core of employment. There is nothing wrong with managing this risk.

I chose to stay aside from photography / and architecture as a profession to pursue an engineering degree and participate in photography as a sideline and I can honestly say that it was the best decision I could ever make. The ability to not be concerned about saving for retirement and the flexibility to make images I want to make when I chose to make them. Just buy $0.02. I wish you well.

angusparker
24-Mar-2016, 20:58
My personal opinion, which I may have said before, is that you should go to a different undergrad program. That's messed up. Also, many MFA programs are 3 years now, if not most.

There are also a bunch of distance learning programs, and programs with concentrated residency (like in the summer) with the remainder distance.

Kirk Gittings
24-Mar-2016, 21:15
You don't know how your work is going to evolve over the next 5 years. Sell the gear you are not using and if you can set the $ aside so you can explore what evolves during your education. And yes explore some of the limited residency programs out there. Some have really good reps like Hartford and SAIC. SCAD's online MFA is pretty demanding and great for working guys, I have a friend in it now. It is not a bullshit degree-he works his ass off.

BrianShaw
24-Mar-2016, 21:18
Size isn't everything. I'm sure you can do good stuff with your smaller equipment. Good luck on your education!

Randy Moe
24-Mar-2016, 21:33
I must admit, I also chose practicality at an early age. I realized by 1970 I was not happy with many things, including claustrophobic colleges.

So I became a self taught mechanic, choosing a trade I knew would be in demand for most of my life.

However not all mechanics make decent money, luckily I found my way into engine testing laboratories enabling a good career and above Union wage. And fancy pants engine wrenching, no cars necessary. I hate cars.

This plan worked until 2008. Then the it died and I had to find a new plan. Earlier...

By 1996 I knew my initial plan would fail at some time, so I tried to cover my bases, by getting a college education late in life. Maybe teach. I was teaching everyday anyhow. Still do.

I enrolled junior college with zero credits, used CLEP (https://clep.collegeboard.org/) to gain maximum learned credit by testing, saved a year. Then took exploratory classes and whoopee I liked Art, so I ran full speed through 6 years of college from age 46 to 51, gaining MFA SAIC 2001 while working full time at night. My 2001 MFA Thesis project addressed Student Loans. I was before the curve and got beat up about that. :) I saw the death spiral earlier than some.

Now I am 65 and retired, but not tired, so I keep real busy doing whatever the hell interests me, for once in my life. Twice divorced during all the this with a lovely daughter and 2 teenage grandchildren. They are a joy. 2 deceased wives. 4 deceased girl friends. Sad but true.

You cannot plan your future. Just make sure you never sign college loan papers for any reason.

I still have my tools and only draw my weapons when absolutely necessary.

papercam
25-Mar-2016, 01:32
Sell off everything you have: lenses, bodies, film, film holders. Keep only your small or digital cameras and don't look back.
There will be plenty of cameras and lenses and film if/when you return.
Don't do what so many photographers do, obsess about gear, when you should be
grinding out and obsessing about fantastic photographs. 8x10, 4x5 or ULF are great conversation pieces
but in all reality one can take fantastic photographs with anything that works with your "chi".

Best wishes for your AMA, BA,MFA

StoneNYC
25-Mar-2016, 07:10
My personal opinion, which I may have said before, is that you should go to a different undergrad program. That's messed up. Also, many MFA programs are 3 years now, if not most.


The hard truth to post public ally is... My step dad died 2 years ago so I'm supporting my mom by continuing to run my step-dads business, and my Dad-dad is dying of cancer and I'm living at home with mom and really can't leave my area.


Sell your equipment and get back into it at the correct time. Just put two kids through college and the best advice I could give you (as I gave my kids that they used) was to get a degree that you have an 80% or greater chance of making a living/saving for retirement wage at. They took the advice and are on their own and are on a secure path. Five years of college to get a degree that is (honestly) not worth much (experience is as valuable in this regard when we chose to be perfectly honest) is highly suspect if we want to be perfectly honest. The real world we live in is cold, hard and intensely problematic and needs to be accepted for what it is rather than what we hope it could be. The pressure of paying back a student loan when you are working your ass off just to make a living let alone cover the ancillary obligations redefines the term stressful. This is the reason that college enrollment is going through a complete stem to stern transformation resulting in much lower college enrollment. No longer can college students get a "degree" and assume they are secure. The degree you pursue is absolutely critical to your future and chasing a dream or your heart is immaterial to the realities of the market value of said objective. Finance, economics, the sciences are the core of employment. There is nothing wrong with managing this risk.

I chose to stay aside from photography / and architecture as a profession to pursue an engineering degree and participate in photography as a sideline and I can honestly say that it was the best decision I could ever make. The ability to not be concerned about saving for retirement and the flexibility to make images I want to make when I chose to make them. Just buy $0.02. I wish you well.

Well my grandfather did this and set aside painting for engineering and helped make Sikorsky what it is today, without his patent designs the blades would have shaken off and the space shuttle would have had damaged parts (see elastomer load bearing device). So I get what you mean. I've always valued your advice.


There are also a bunch of distance learning programs, and programs with concentrated residency (like in the summer) with the remainder distance.

I'll be doing some summer courses to make things go faster for sure.


You don't know how your work is going to evolve over the next 5 years. Sell the gear you are not using and if you can set the $ aside so you can explore what evolves during your education. And yes explore some of the limited residency programs out there. Some have really good reps like Hartford and SAIC. SCAD's online MFA is pretty demanding and great for working guys, I have a friend in it now. It is not a bullshit degree-he works his ass off.

Thanks, I do hope I can get into the new Hartford program, that would be amazing, close enough to home. Only thing better would be Yale, I'm told it's not as good a program but the contacts are better so you end up in a better spot, however at this point I'm not that good. Working on it.


Size isn't everything. I'm sure you can do good stuff with your smaller equipment. Good luck on your education!

Thanks Brian


I must admit, I also chose practicality at an early age. I realized by 1970 I was not happy with many things, including claustrophobic colleges.

So I became a self taught mechanic, choosing a trade I knew would be in demand for most of my life.

However not all mechanics make decent money, luckily I found my way into engine testing laboratories enabling a good career and above Union wage. And fancy pants engine wrenching, no cars necessary. I hate cars.

This plan worked until 2008. Then the it died and I had to find a new plan. Earlier...

By 1996 I knew my initial plan would fail at some time, so I tried to cover my bases, by getting a college education late in life. Maybe teach. I was teaching everyday anyhow. Still do.

I enrolled junior college with zero credits, used CLEP (https://clep.collegeboard.org/) to gain maximum learned credit by testing, saved a year. Then took exploratory classes and whoopee I liked Art, so I ran full speed through 6 years of college from age 46 to 51, gaining MFA SAIC 2001 while working full time at night. My 2001 MFA Thesis project addressed Student Loans. I was before the curve and got beat up about that. :) I saw the death spiral earlier than some.

Now I am 65 and retired, but not tired, so I keep real busy doing whatever the hell interests me, for once in my life. Twice divorced during all the this with a lovely daughter and 2 teenage grandchildren. They are a joy. 2 deceased wives. 4 deceased girl friends. Sad but true.

You cannot plan your future. Just make sure you never sign college loan papers for any reason.

I still have my tools and only draw my weapons when absolutely necessary.

You are an outlier, but good thoughts on how life changes.


Sell off everything you have: lenses, bodies, film, film holders. Keep only your small or digital cameras and don't look back.
There will be plenty of cameras and lenses and film if/when you return.
Don't do what so many photographers do, obsess about gear, when you should be
grinding out and obsessing about fantastic photographs. 8x10, 4x5 or ULF are great conversation pieces
but in all reality one can take fantastic photographs with anything that works with your "chi".

Best wishes for your AMA, BA,MFA

Thanks, no digital cameras, sold them off last year.

But image making advice is sound. That's for sure.

I should mention that I'm going for an MFA because I plan to teach, but specifically traditional techniques. Most of the teachers who are well versed in the old ways are retiring or frankly dying off. There's a need at some fancy fine art colleges for people who know those techniques and I plan to fill a void now that traditional photography (film, wet plate, etc) has taken a seat along side the "fine arts" like paining and sculpting etc at colleges that are focused on fine art and charge a lot to students. So the need for me will be kind of small, but at the same time the competition will not be so bad, most WP guys don't have a masters etc, at least that's my thinking.

I'm also doing a minor in women's studies I think, at least I've considered it when I transfer. All state schools, so money is low until the MFA.

Perhaps I'll try to do something this summer before I give it up entirely? Give myself a time limit to make images on 14x17 and then if I cant make my own deadline, it's gone?

I'll need the 8x10 etc gear for my MFA for sure so I'm not getting rid of everything like it's been suggested. But it's time I guess to realize I may not have the resources to do ULF right now to any worth while success anyway.

peter schrager
25-Mar-2016, 08:41
Follow your heart stone..photography needs you
I met some of the Hartford people at the l.a book fair last month
Yale might take you further. .good connections. .

Kodachrome25
25-Mar-2016, 15:44
You have gotten some really sound and yet compassionate advice Stone, so all I can add is by all means, trim the fat if you have to trim the fat.

A more relaxed and stress free state of mind is a far more productive place for creativity to live than under loads of gear and stress.

Winger
25-Mar-2016, 16:53
You have gotten some really sound and yet compassionate advice Stone, so all I can add is by all means, trim the fat if you have to trim the fat.

A more relaxed and stress free state of mind is a far more productive place for creativity to live than under loads of gear and stress.

+1
And you'll use your brain more because you'll find a way to do what you want with the gear you have. Better than having GAS all the time and thinking "If only…"

Alan Gales
26-Mar-2016, 19:23
I recommend to get out of the ULF. You can always buy the stuff back in 5 years if you are still interested. I doubt prices will go up on equipment. As mentioned earlier film probably will.

It sounds like between helping your mom and going to school you have a full plate. Make your life as easy as you can. I wish you the best!

DennisD
27-Mar-2016, 13:04
Hello Stone,

I arrived late to this thread and would have written more. However, there's little I can add to the excellent and thoughtful advice provided to you in the posts on the first page #3,4,7,8,9. A few quick thoughts:

Trim what you don't need, especially the ULF, especially if that's not your best. "Focus" on (one) large format 4x5, 8x10 that provides the most satisfaction and where you can do your best work. Don't be distracted by other "stuff", i.e. get the clutter and unnecessary expenses out if the way.

You are at a time in your life where you must carefully evaluate your options - what you do, your priorities, and how you manage time. Know that Your decisions made now, will have lifelong effect. Be realistic - play out in your mind and with a trusted advisor or mentor,the different directions / avenues you might consider and the results those choices will bring (pos/ neg). That should help in your decision making. Once decided, set the priorities for your work / education and family responsibilities carefully. Stick with your plan, modifying as needed, to maintain your goals.

One final thought. You mentioned the Yale program. Examine it carefully. If it suits you and you're accepted, you will be forever grateful for the level of education and affiliation the program and degree will provide.

Very best wishes to you as you go forward.

Dennis

GG12
29-Mar-2016, 08:01
Hello Stone,

One final thought. You mentioned the Yale program. Examine it carefully. If it suits you and you're accepted, you will be forever grateful for the level of education and affiliation the program and degree will provide.

Dennis

Agreed. The level of stimulus and challenge will be top-tier. Don't get bogged down with equipment at this stage in your life. Go for the best challenges, and the highest level of inquiry - the format and equipment really don't matter now, you can always pick them up later. I'd recommend 4x5 (small and light) and keep moving forward amid all the challenges you have on your plate. Time is the one irreplaceable element in all this, and learning as much as you can is paramount at this stage.

Geoff

DrTang
29-Mar-2016, 09:16
keep your stuff..in fact..buy more.. stop going to school, and instead..with that money..go and shoot...a lot

it's all about the prints.. and not the paper

Randy Moe
29-Mar-2016, 09:30
keep your stuff..in fact..buy more.. stop going to school, and instead..with that money..go and shoot...a lot

it's all about the prints.. and not the paper

The most famous and successful Chicago artist I know says exactly that. Well, the no to Art School part, he is a writer and printmaker.

Tony actively and continuously advocates for not attending Art school.

https://tonyfitzpatrick.wordpress.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Fitzpatrick_(artist)

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1995-03-26/features/9503260244_1_jim-nutt-artist-s-work-james-yood

However, Tony is proud to BE an Artist and now has work in http://www.artic.edu/ His mom is also proud. https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20130604/downtown/tony-fitzpatricks-art-institute-of-chicago-debut-makes-mom-proud

Michael E
29-Mar-2016, 10:41
A decent education and the paper to prove it are becoming increasingly valueable these days. Yes, it the art field as well. That's just the way the developed countries have developed.

Stone, all (camera) things equal, how does your processing compare? I shoot a lot more 4x5" than 8x10" because I can fit 12 sheets into a single JOBO drum instead of 2. Sometimes I shoot 10 to 15 sheets on a particular day - I can easily process 4x5 the same night and go out again the next morning, 8x10 is a PIA by comparison.

Randy Moe
29-Mar-2016, 11:17
You should have encouraged Stone to join the free ride. Germany has free college!

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-32821678


A decent education and the paper to prove it are becoming increasingly valueable these days. Yes, it the art field as well. That's just the way the developed countries have developed.

Stone, all (camera) things equal, how does your processing compare? I shoot a lot more 4x5" than 8x10" because I can fit 12 sheets into a single JOBO drum instead of 2. Sometimes I shoot 10 to 15 sheets on a particular day - I can easily process 4x5 the same night and go out again the next morning, 8x10 is a PIA by comparison.

Michael E
29-Mar-2016, 11:20
You should have encouraged Stone to join the free ride. Germany has free college!



Yup.

papercam
29-Mar-2016, 13:57
keep your stuff..in fact..buy more.. stop going to school, and instead..with that money..go and shoot...a lot

it's all about the prints.. and not the paper

Making art might not have much to do with the paper, but teaching usually does.
Some sort of formal education (M.ed, MFA, BS/BA ) is requires no matter where someone wants to teach. Whether or not schools will allow classes in early-mid 19th Century Photography might be a different set of issues (perceived danger, toxins, liability waste haulage et al.).

Fr. Mark
4-Apr-2016, 19:57
Drawing and painting instruction might not be the best in the university setting. Look for Ani Art Academy.
http://aniartacademies.org/
These folks have a scholarship for ft apprentices, IIRC. May be too far away for your situation. But there are other similar old art type instructional venues.
Debt is very dangerous unless you are collecting it!
Back to film, film can be done with very low toxicity and cost. We could probably make that a whole thread.
I'd suggest trying to avoid liquidating camera gear if you can store it responsibly---I just developed some 5x7's I'm fairly happy with and contact printed them as cyanotypes. There's certainly the temptation to have bigger and bigger and bigger contact prints all analog. But, bigger cameras are bigger, heavier, more expensive, more expensive to feed. And, it's hard to deny that you can do more more easily with a computer and a good printer (maybe with custom drivers and ink sets) than you can in the darkroom. I keep telling myself I don't need negatives bigger than 4x5. On the other hand, if you need it you can make it in LF and ULF to a large extent. Even film holders. Once all my kids are out of college, maybe sooner, I might buy wood and metal machining tools rather than film holders and cameras for WP and 14x17 if I still want those sizes.

Kirk Gittings
4-Apr-2016, 20:09
Drawing and painting instruction might not be the best in the university setting. Look for Ani Art Academy.
http://aniartacademies.org/
These folks have a scholarship for ft apprentices, IIRC. May be too far away for your situation. But there are other similar old art type instructional venues.
Debt is very dangerous unless you are collecting it!
Back to film, film can be done with very low toxicity and cost. We could probably make that a whole thread.
I'd suggest trying to avoid liquidating camera gear if you can store it responsibly---I just developed some 5x7's I'm fairly happy with and contact printed them as cyanotypes. There's certainly the temptation to have bigger and bigger and bigger contact prints all analog. But, bigger cameras are bigger, heavier, more expensive, more expensive to feed. And, it's hard to deny that you can do more more easily with a computer and a good printer (maybe with custom drivers and ink sets) than you can in the darkroom. I keep telling myself I don't need negatives bigger than 4x5. On the other hand, if you need it you can make it in LF and ULF to a large extent. Even film holders. Once all my kids are out of college, maybe sooner, I might buy wood and metal machining tools rather than film holders and cameras for WP and 14x17 if I still want those sizes.

He plans to teach at a university where to be competitive in the job market usually requires an MFA. Everyone can come up with a name of a successful artist who doesn't have an MFA, but that is not the scenario he envisions. 40 years ago it was the same which is one of the main reasons I got an MFA. It has served me well. I haven't always needed it but when I did it was in my pocket.

"I should mention that I'm going for an MFA because I plan to teach, but specifically traditional techniques. Most of the teachers who are well versed in the old ways are retiring or frankly dying off. There's a need at some fancy fine art colleges for people who know those techniques and I plan to fill a void now that traditional photography (film, wet plate, etc) has taken a seat along side the "fine arts" like paining and sculpting etc at colleges that are focused on fine art and charge a lot to students. So the need for me will be kind of small, but at the same time the competition will not be so bad, most WP guys don't have a masters etc, at least that's my thinking."

StoneNYC
5-Apr-2016, 12:12
He plans to teach at a university where to be competitive in the job market usually requires an MFA. Everyone can come up with a name of a successful artist who doesn't have an MFA, but that is not the scenario he envisions. 40 years ago it was the same which is one of the main reasons I got an MFA. It has served me well. I haven't always needed it but when I did it was in my pocket.

"I should mention that I'm going for an MFA because I plan to teach, but specifically traditional techniques. Most of the teachers who are well versed in the old ways are retiring or frankly dying off. There's a need at some fancy fine art colleges for people who know those techniques and I plan to fill a void now that traditional photography (film, wet plate, etc) has taken a seat along side the "fine arts" like paining and sculpting etc at colleges that are focused on fine art and charge a lot to students. So the need for me will be kind of small, but at the same time the competition will not be so bad, most WP guys don't have a masters etc, at least that's my thinking."

What Kirk said.

Thanks guys for the advice, my Dad's really sick and in hospice suddenly and sooner than expected so I haven't been on much. All of this stuff has taken a back seat.

I'll mull it all over and comb through my gear to see what will and won't serve me going forward. I'm sure for some of my MFA work, I'll be able to utilize the bigger gear and the smaller gear will be available to borrow, so I'm less concerned with the smaller stuff.

I'm mostly thinking about the impact my work will have on the viewer than in the gear itself, but gear can be also have an impact on the viewers perspective, if I can utilize difficult gear in a way that's not common (shooting a hurricane image or tornado image using an ULF camera, as an extreme example) I can show both forethought and skill that will hopefully allow others to take notice (I'm not becoming a storm chaser I'm saying this as an example).

When this life stuff is all over (or the current at least) I'll be able to focus more and have more time, all my time now is spent on visiting Dad and taking care of his things.

Hope everyone here is doing well. Thanks for the advice. My Dad said to me today, when I asked him if he approved of my current lifestyle (he was introduced to both of my girlfriends the previous week) and his response was both accepting and wise "you have to follow your own path son".

I think Grandpa had the same view when he said to me "Don't ever let them tell you something can't be done just because they haven't been able to do it". Grandpa came up with the idea and patent for the "elastomer load bearing device" and essentially made Sikorsky helicopters what it is today, as well as helped some NASA space shuttle devices not shake apart during take off.

So I've been raised to think differently and go my own way, sometimes it's good, sometimes bad. I have big shoes to fill, with a little luck and a lot of dedication perhaps I'll make something to positively impact this world.

Thanks again for the advice, off to Chem class.

Drew Wiley
5-Apr-2016, 16:03
Sorry to hear about your difficulties. And it is always a very rough stretch when losing immediate family members. As far as the long term question itself, you
might be wise to hang onto any special lenses that would also be useful for somewhat smaller viewer camera formats, such as 8x10. Yes, there is a flood of affordable used lenses right now; but certain ones aren't likely to reappear often, and might command very high prices if they do. ULF cameras per se can always be made by somebody out there. It's not technically as difficult as lenses. I never had the patience to deal with school. Yeah, I got my degree, but mostly did independent study anyway. I took my aunt's advice to never formally study art or it would ruin me; and she had four phD's including art history, and taught art in major universities much of her life! But each of us has different situations, and if you expect to teach in an academic setting, you have to go through their
prescribed protocol first and become one of them. Not like the 1930's, where artistic merit alone was the priority. One step at a time.

Fr. Mark
5-Apr-2016, 21:14
Probably true that an MFA or being hugely famous is needed to teach at a University, or both. I was probably projecting my wishes for some real drawing/painting instruction onto the situation (to me traditional techniques means charcoal and maybe oil paints to me...) and I've not been enormously impressed with what passes for art instruction or art results coming from academia compared to the work coming out of the small instructional studios. If I knew I HAD to be an oil painter of the kind I usually admire/wish I could do, I'd not go to a college type art school, I'd go to one of these small private academies. But, for many reasons, that's not going to be my path in life.

Stone, sorry to hear of your dad taking a turn for the worse. Might not be the time for more big decisions.

Intro college chem classes can be the pits, taught in a method I'd call anti-evangelical or made to make people quit. I'm not looking for a big tutoring gig, but if you want some chemistry help, I might be able to answer questions. I've taught some intro classes/labs at HS and college level and did get my first master's in chemistry back in 94 and worked in the industry 1987-2004. Send me a PM if you want. Won't be offended if you don't.

dimento
11-May-2016, 13:02
FWIW there's a Masters in Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, 2 years part-time, taught online, I did it myself, excellent course and tutors. The fees I'm sure will be substantially less than what you're paying now and you'll have an MA from a highly rated college with an ex magnum photographer as course leader. They take about 20 students per year and there are students scattered all over the world, some working pros, some part-time, some career conversion, my 2 cents, what the others say about selling gear is true. I have gotten out of 5x4 and 8x10 several times and and have found ways to get back in. It's easy to become attached to gear, I'm as guilty as anyone, but you can buy back the gear, when you're no longer a student and making some money it will be easier. In case you're interested the course starts every January, applications from around August.

good luck, D

Two23
11-May-2016, 15:51
I'll add some thoughts, from a practical Midwesterner. I agree that you should avoid piling up debt. That is bondage of your very soul and will cripple you, especially for a field as uncertain as art. I do agree that an MFA is critical for your goals, but you might consider a plan B as well, such as a minor in marketing. That combined with the MFA will give an option of getting into the art "business" such as selling it, selling supplies, etc. You might also consider that it's possible your interest will change. When I graduated high school I wanted to be an archeaologist. I ended up with a degree in business administration and 20 years later a degree in medical science. I spent most of my adult life selling pharmaceuticals! You currently have yourself spread too thinly. I suggest picking two formats and selling off the rest. One might be 4x5, for the economy and convenience of using it, plus one ULF. You need to begin concentrating your resources better.

You are in a tough spot in your personal life, one that generally comes later for most people, when they are better prepared. I'd say you are doing the right thing in this regard. Just keep yourself moving as best you can. It does get better.


Kent in SD