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Thread: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

  1. #21

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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaximumFu View Post
    This is precisely, 100% what concerns me. I have heard/seen this before, but I have never seen a real explanation of it - and I am concerned that if and when I do hear an explanation of it, it will involve enough technical information that I will simply need more than a book and the internet. Honestly not trying to be a complainer and am self-taught in a number of aspects of my life (including my career), but just mildly frustrated at having lost this resource that I was hoping to be able to rely upon...
    As I said, you can choose to make it as simple or as involved as you want. You are at a crossroads, and I know it is difficult to decide which road to choose. But whatever you pick, you can always decide it is the wrong path, at any point -- and pick another one. It's not like Monty Hall on Let's Make a Deal.

    Just think about it for a minute. If you are using film X, and process it with developer Y at dilution Z with agitation W and temperature V, you will get different results if you use developer A at dilution B with agitation C and temperature D. The differences might be small, or big -- depending on what small and big mean to you. You can avoid the whole issue and expose at the ISO on the box without any tests, or you can choose to be more selective and run a few simple tests, or you can be picky and run a lot of tests.

    There's no right or wrong -- as there is with Monty Hall.

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  2. #22

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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    Yes, completely self taught. I live in a tiny desert town in Central Nevada and the next LF practitioner is 100's of miles away. So I bought a basic outfit, an old Cambo, and read books and just had at it. We're talking Time Life Photography's old book, The Print, and The Camera, and also Fred Picker's book Zone VI Workshop. There's better books now but those got me going. Not too long after I started, the internet kicked in. People here and at APUG are pretty gracious about answering questions and trying to help. Jump on in, the water's fine. And don't get bogged down in all the techy stuff. Buy some film and chems and go make pictures. DO keep good notes though. Write everything down. Only change one variable at a time. Film is cheap. Cheap film is good.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  3. #23

    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    Self-taught was all which was available 40+ years ago where I learned it.

  4. #24
    Silver Fox
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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    To me, self-taught strongly implies learning completely on one's own. Imagine learning on the dark side of the moon. All alone. So, on the contrary, all of us--anyone who has read a photography book, talked to another photographer, gone to a workshop, been to You Tube U., etc.--is more likely on a 'directed research project.' Yes, assimilating information, sorting out what's not useful or applicable, confirming one's own workflow, and such, is a huge task, but it seems to me to be more like the experimental method and synthesis than 'self-taught.'

    We stand on the shoulders of the photographers that are our elders, both living and dead.
    Peter Collins

    "Growing older is not for sissies." --anon.

  5. #25
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    That is how I generally look at it, too, Peter.

    Selt-taught and self-made are two things that are as rare as hens' teeth in any society.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  6. #26

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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Collins View Post
    To me, self-taught strongly implies learning completely on one's own.
    I could not agree more. Whether someone gains knowledge from a book from the library, or by paying a professor to read the same book, it is NOT self-taught -- at least not in my way of thinking.

  7. #27

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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    No. I didn't invent large format photography. Someone else did.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  8. #28

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    Jul 2006
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    Oceanside, CA
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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    Yes,

    You absolutely can learn on your own. Before Ansel Adams wrote his series, The Camera, The Negative and The Print, everyone was self-taught by almost pure trial and error. With his books, you have a rational, systematic way to get a very firm grasp of every concept of the process.

    Get his book, The Negative and read it several times. The first time through will be a little difficult. The second will be much easier. then follow his instructions in testing and determining film speed. Use one film. Any film. Get used to it.

    Then go through The Print. These two guides will give you very firm foundations in very short order. It will not take you long. Everything you need to know about the basics of exposure and development of film and paper is in those treasures. of information.

    His instructions will be a bit too restrictive for today's world, as his methods allow one to expose and develop negatives for the express purpose of printing to the limited capabilities of the photographic paper of his time. Now, not only is that material less restrictive, but if you want to adopt a partial digital work flow and scan your negatives that will give much more control and expand your parameters beyond those which photo paper provides.



    Rich

  9. #29

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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    Good Advice
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
    Yes, completely self taught. I live in a tiny desert town in Central Nevada and the next LF practitioner is 100's of miles away. So I bought a basic outfit, an old Cambo, and read books and just had at it. We're talking Time Life Photography's old book, The Print, and The Camera, and also Fred Picker's book Zone VI Workshop. There's better books now but those got me going. Not too long after I started, the internet kicked in. People here and at APUG are pretty gracious about answering questions and trying to help. Jump on in, the water's fine. And don't get bogged down in all the techy stuff. Buy some film and chems and go make pictures. DO keep good notes though. Write everything down. Only change one variable at a time. Film is cheap. Cheap film is good.

  10. #30
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: How many of you are self-taught (in LF)?

    The absolute over-riding concern with photography is consistency... repeatability... uniformity.

    You really MUST do everything exactly the same way every time.
    WHAT you do is not nearly as important as HOW you do it.

    Cultivate repeatable habits and follow them religiously.
    Keep accurate detailed notes of what you see and what you do.

    Start with one film and one developer.
    Use them until you absolutely KNOW what they do.

    You'll be amazed how easy photography is if you follow those rules.

    - Leigh
    If you believe you can, or you believe you can't... you're right.

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