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yuexiachou29
31-Jan-2013, 21:32
I am looking for photo apprentice opportunity. Does anybody have idea about how to get started?
Does this common in photography area?

John Kasaian
31-Jan-2013, 22:15
Probably back in the days when LF was used widely in commercial photography the big metropolitan areas would have opportunities, but those days are long gone. If there is a working architecture or portrait photographer in your area you might approach them. Or find an assistant's opening at a unversity with a noteworthy photography program. Outside of that, I haven't a clue.

Daniel Stone
31-Jan-2013, 22:47
I work as an assistant here in LA. NO ONE that I know of is still shooting 4x5, much less 8x10 for commercial work anymore. Not to say there aren't those that occasionally do:

http://austinhargrave.com/blog/tag/danny-devito-8x10-camera

Unfortunate, for sure. I joined the assisting game a few years ago, and to be honest, it has its ups, but it can definitely have its downs. Assisting can be a great way to learn the technical, as long as you're working with people who are willing to teach. I'm not a 20yr veteran like some of the guys and gals(few, but there are some female assistants here I know of) that have made it a career. Some of them shoot LF for their own personal work, but for paid jobs, its pretty much all digital now. The technical requirements, smaller budgets(generally) and 'behind schedule' rushing of a lot of jobs that I work on simply couldn't 'work' with film's schedule.

BUT THERE ARE HOLD-OUTS. Don't get discouraged, there ARE people who shoot film still for paid work. But when time is on the line, and you have a P.I.T.A. art director breathing down your neck all day, digital can be both a God-send, but also a curse IMO. There are, in general, MORE 'options' to shoot than if shooting film(not always), but it really depends on the shooter, the client, and their relationship with each other.

But if searching for a 'LF' photographer in particular, you might be searching for a while, especially if you're not in a large(ish) market like NY, LA, London or Paris. Hong Kong is getting bigger too.

Just my $.02

Personally, I wish I could step-back 20yrs and work on some car shoots where 4x5 and 8x10 was 'the norm' for technical... I've seen some 8x10 finished transparencies(final product) of a photographer I used to assist, to me, well done 8x10 and 4x5 chromes are art in themselves, even if they have commercial intent in mind as the final use.

-Dan

Drew Bedo
1-Feb-2013, 06:39
I wish you all the best in looking for an assistant position.

I suggest that you do some market research on-line and see how many LF photographers you can find in your area. I live in Houston Texas, a major city by any standard; even though its not even the largest city in the USA. I feel safe in saying that Houston has NO commercial photographers working in any film format let alone LF. The only film photographers that I know of do hobby or art photography.

I could be wrong in speaking in such absolutes—and welcome friendly correction.

Like many here on this forum, I got started in LF by reading some, then bought some used equipment and made a lot of technically bad negatives for a few years.

There are a few good how-to books out there. I'd start with Adam's books. Anybody have their own reading list to recommend?

Cheers

brian mcweeney
1-Feb-2013, 10:41
It depends what market you work in. Where are you planning on working?

I hire assistants all the time, but not as LF assistants. LF film just isn't a part of the commercial photo world anymore. That being said, assisting is the BEST way to learn photography and if you find an old enough photographer working commercially, they can teach all the ins and outs of LF from their past experience.

ImSoNegative
1-Feb-2013, 18:36
my youngest son is my assistant... he has to carry all my sh&t

Kirk Gittings
1-Feb-2013, 22:05
unfortunately you need a time machine........

John Kasaian
2-Feb-2013, 08:58
Not exactly what you're looking for, but I suggest that you should search out any retired commercial and/or newspaper photographers in your town who used large format cameras. The one's I've met love to talk "shop" and are generous with their experience, which self taught guys like myself can put to good use. Talk to them while they're still around!

toyotadesigner
2-Feb-2013, 14:47
I know several several commercial photographers who still work with LF and film and no digital. But they are based in Europe, but I know they will not hire assistants during this severe economic crisis. Maybe in the US you need a time machine because it's a totally different world.

yuexiachou29
2-Feb-2013, 16:40
:D
my youngest son is my assistant... he has to carry all my sh&t

yuexiachou29
2-Feb-2013, 16:54
I will get out the college soon and plan on relocating either LA or NY for assistant job. I don't know anybody and don't know how to get my foot on the door.
Brian, do you have any word of advise? how do you find the assistant you would hire?

John Kasaian
3-Feb-2013, 08:59
Hmmmm....
maybe you can check with the History Dept. at your college and ask to use the Wayback Machine?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnmiwo79aTg

Good luck!

yuexiachou29
3-Feb-2013, 09:02
Adam? Ansel Adams?

John Kasaian
3-Feb-2013, 09:21
IIRC the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley is still hiring for the summer. That might present an opportunity for some schmoozing, and it might be on the way to LA.
Good luck (sincerely!)

bdkphoto
3-Feb-2013, 09:26
In NY and LA both APA and ASMP off Assisting Boot camps for those that are looking for work:

http://www.apanational.com/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=4052

www.asmp.org

Kirk Gittings
3-Feb-2013, 10:34
While I have no doubt that those workshops are of value and while some of the knowledge would apply to a LF workflow, I seriously doubt that any of that is specifically tuned to LF and assisting such as the OP requested.

yuexiachou29
3-Feb-2013, 10:52
IIRC the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley is still hiring for the summer. That might present an opportunity for some schmoozing, and it might be on the way to LA.
Good luck (sincerely!)

Many thanks.

bdkphoto
3-Feb-2013, 11:15
While I have no doubt that those workshops are of value and while some of the knowledge would apply to a LF workflow, I seriously doubt that any of that is specifically tuned to LF and assisting such as the OP requested.

See post 11.

It's more helpful than a time machine. At least he'll understand what expected of a professional assistant, and a place to start networking.

Daniel Stone
3-Feb-2013, 14:32
I got my start as an assistant by cold calling people. I offered to work FOR FREE at the beginning, I was upfront and honest with them.

Be ready to get "shit" jobs. FYI. There ARE MANY PEOPLE in the photo industry who "chew up and spit out" assistants like crazy, Annie Liebovitz is one of them.... I could give you a good number of names of people I've worked for, that honestly I'd stick away from. Lots of cheap people just looking for that next "intern" who's basically willing to do anything to get their start.

BE PREPARED: you're entering a BLOATED field. There are many assistants who don't have regular clients, and those "regular" clients are getting less jobs a lot too, so less work to be done...

However, ask yourself this: "Do I want to SHOOT, or do I want to ASSIST?"
I'm only mentioning this because there are great shooters, and then there are great assistants. Sometimes those that can do both, but if your end goal is to shoot, keep shooting.
Assisting can be a tremendous way to learn the technical, to network, and to get yourself "out there", but don't lose sight of your end goal(that's if shooting is your career goal)...

best of luck,
Dan

Kirk Gittings
3-Feb-2013, 15:43
Assisting can be a tremendous way to learn the technical, to network, and to get yourself "out there",

I never assisted but dearly wish I had. It would have eliminated some of the retarded mistakes I made trying to figure out the basics.

This is the situation around here. All my assistants, I always have one regular one and some others to fill in occasionally on large shoots, came from people approaching me pretty much cold. I may not have needed them then but filed away their info and called them when the need arose. Since 1982 I have always had one regular assistant but only 5 or 6 in that entire time. My present one has been with me almost 15 years. I get allot of requests-almost weekly and this is in a town of only 1/2 million.

Brian C. Miller
3-Feb-2013, 19:11
I will get out the college soon and plan on relocating either LA or NY for assistant job.

Why not start shooting now? A good number of photographers got their start by literally photographing a bunch of people on the street or in their neighborhood. Then they took the photos and drummed up business with those. Just set up on the street and ask people if they'd let you photograph them for a college project, and send them an 8x10 print in return. Go through 200 sheets of film, like Freestyle's Arista EDU.

Yes, you will make mistakes. But no problem, nobody has any towering expectations of a college photography project. But this is a good way to get experience and build up a portfolio.

brian mcweeney
4-Feb-2013, 16:35
If you are looking to assist in the NYC or LA commercial photo market I would first suggest you seek out photographer's work you like. The Workbook, Google, etc. are your friends. The ASMP workshops are a great suggestion. I would check out the rental houses and labs for connections and contacts.

Most professional photographers aren't going to have much time to be looking for assistants, and especially inexperienced ones. You may only get to talk to the studio managers or the first assistants. You are going to have to make the initial calls and be ready for anything.

I have had 4 or 5 really memorable assistants through the years. They all usually started with a cold call from them.

Good luck.
Contact me if you need any further information.

jnanian
4-Feb-2013, 18:47
maybe a museum ?

yuexiachou29
10-Feb-2013, 15:07
ya, have handed in my application in interning at MOMA.
Wish me luck!

Uri A
8-Apr-2013, 11:39
I know this thread is a couple months old, but I regularly hire assistants for LF when I am shooting my personal work. Mostly just as bag schleppers, but if they want to learn I always spend time showing them the way things work. Surely other shooters do this as well?

Kirk Gittings
8-Apr-2013, 12:04
Yes I do it BUT :) I wouldn't call it a job job.

Uri A
8-Apr-2013, 12:07
Yes, well.. full time LF assistant is a job description that went out with full time scrimshaw artist assistant :)

I feel lucky to have had the chance at the time.

C_Remington
8-Apr-2013, 13:15
Why do you want to be an assistant? What do you think you'll get out of it??

bdkphoto
8-Apr-2013, 13:36
Why do you want to be an assistant? What do you think you'll get out of it??

It's probably the best way to learn every aspect of the business, get paid while doing it, and make lifelong contacts and friends. It's the best education, and you can make a living at it.

C_Remington
8-Apr-2013, 14:00
It's probably the best way to learn every aspect of the business, get paid while doing it, and make lifelong contacts and friends. It's the best education, and you can make a living at it.

But, that business (LF) doesn't exist anymore right??

Richard Mahoney
18-Apr-2013, 22:13
Hello All,


I know several several commercial photographers who still work with LF and film and no digital. But they are based in Europe, but I know they will not hire assistants during this severe economic crisis. Maybe in the US you need a time machine because it's a totally different world.

As an aside? ... I should perhaps mention that I've just today signed off the image layout for a magazine / journal article incorporating 12 LF images. All were drum scanned from 4x5 transparencies and delivered on CD as either A4 or A3 images (RGB and CYMK). Some of these images fell out of a long term project I have been engaged in but others were produced just for the article. What is important to note is that all of this was planned. The commissioned lead in time for the writing of the article and the production of the images was reasonably long. Working with trad. LF and transparencies was simply a non-issue. The owner / editor of the journal was concerned only with the suitability of the images. How they were produced was immaterial. And yes, I generally needed assistance ... though thankfully it was provided by a colleague. Still, this is New Zealand. Perhaps it's just that New Zealanders are not as driven and impetuous as North Americans? Who knows :)



Best, Richard

David R Munson
19-Apr-2013, 06:51
But, that business (LF) doesn't exist anymore right??

LF as basis for commercial photography has clearly become so rare that its actual existence might be disputed, but as a whole commercial photography is alive and well. Volatile, yes, and highly competitive as always, but it's there. Assisting is a great job option that teaches you a hell of a lot. And it no longer has to be something you do on your way to being a commercial photographer yourself. I've been assisting about five years in total now, and one of the greatest things I've learned is that I would go nuts as a commercial shooter. I'd hate it. I love assisting, though, and it allows me to be deeply involved in the industry without putting at risk my own relationship with making photographs. I make enough to pay my bills and save for other things and I have a great time doing it. All in all, a great line of work. Not for everyone, but if it's a good fit for a person, it's very rewarding.

yuexiachou29
19-Apr-2013, 07:05
wow, good for you

yuexiachou29
22-Aug-2013, 08:08
I assist a well known fashion photographer in NY. We use 4x5 and 8x10, as well as smaller formats and digital. And even 8x10 Polaroid. I think fashion is the one area where people still want to use film and darkrooms, and I got my job partially because of my film experience.

However I do not think what we are doing is common and you can't have my job ;-p

Haha... of course
I live in NYC too. Would you mind grabbing a coffee sometime?