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Thread: Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

  1. #11
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

    John, one thing you said has always been true for the majority of people:

    "You cannot afford to purchase one-off custom-made products. As expensive as an automobile is, try making one yourself. Here is a shovel - go dig some iron ore to start. How about a crystal mouth-blown catsup bottle?"

    It's a misconception to think that back in the days when all things were made by hand, most people could afford to have them. They couldn't. The standard of craftsmanship was high, but the standard of living was very low by some of the most basic measures. In the Seventeenth Century, long before disposable Ikea furniture, all furniture was made by hand from hand-prepared wood (there wasn't even lumber in today's sense, so do-it-yourself building was really limited to professionals). The furniture was all very nice. The flipside of this is that the typical middle class household would have one or two real pieces of furniture. Typically a rough hewn table with benches and an heirloom chest of drawers. These would be worth months and months of wages and would be passed on for generations. It was impossible for all but the very rich to have things like chairs, sofas, beds. Is this a better situation than ours today? In some ways, and from some perspectives, yes. But in many ways no. I don'k know too many people who would prefer it.

    Photography is a more recent example, For its first several decades it was a pursuit limited to the elite. Only very wealthy members of the leisure class could afford the time, equipment, and materials to practice it. Gradually, technological innovations like the dry plate, film, silver paper, the brownie, the 35mm camera, and now the digital camera, have democratized the medium. Is this a good thing? Not in the eyes of the very rich who'd rather keep it to themselves. But I think it's been good for the world that more people have had a chance. How much great talent would never have been known if photography remained limited to the elite few?

    Does this progression have its downsides? Of course--everything does. Are they insurmountable? Get real. It's been a hundred years since platinum printing died (with the discontinuation of commercial platinum papers). Yet somehow, there were more people making platinum prints in 1999 than ever before in history.

    ... And others making silver prints, and others making digital prints. In the big picture, choices are expanding, not contracting. Of coure this leaves room for people to make unfortunate choices--if your neighbor's kid truly does nothing but play video games, then that is indeed sad. But there are other kids doing amazing things--mixing music and making videos in home studios, inventing new sports, silkscreening original designs on shirts, and in some cases doing photography. If it's digital photography, then great. It means that kids who ten years ago couldn't have afforded to explore that side of their creativity can do so today. Would you take that away from them?

  2. #12
    Ted Harris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    New Hampshire

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge


    I also feel you are doing a great diservice to today's kids when you say "I feel sorry for that kid and what he is missing." He (or she) may be starting with a digital image and manipulating it in Photoshop but he is still using his creative abilities, exercising his talent, still taking an image in his minds eye and translating it into an image for the world to enjoy. Can you honestly say that the final print that he may produce is any worse than that you produced when you were a kid? Maybe he got there walking a different street but he still got there.

  3. #13

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

    True Ted,

    And that kid probably feels sorry for the poor soul working in the dark handling a variety of environmentally questionable chemicals, to in the end have less control of the final product than he can with a mouse.

  4. #14

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

    environmentally questionable chemicals

    Do you have any idea of the damage chip manufacturing causes the environment? Stay away from things you know nothing about.

    As to the control, you are right. Learning how to control real photographic materials is harder, but as they say, if it was easy everybody would be doing it. Sort of like ink jet printing... ;-)

  5. #15

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge


    The market has been a wonderful place for vinyl lovers the last decade. I picked up a new Sota open chassis vacuum Millennia turntable with SME Series V tonearm. The quality of output has improved incredibly over the last decade. New small companies are reissuing remastered LP pressings that are of better quality then ever before. I see the same happening with film. It will be around a long time being supported as a niche part of the market. And there is nothing wrong with that as long as we can still get the emulsions we love.


  6. #16
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    brooklyn, nyc

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

    "but as they say, if it was easy everybody would be doing it. "

    This is perfect example of the kind of elitistist thinking that clouds these issues.

    The only people who object to something becoming easy are the people who believe they have some kind of higher status based on mastering something difficult. In the arts, there have always been people who objected to newer easier processes, because they feared losing their elite status if the "unwashed masses" (to borrow John's phrase for the people he shares the planet with) could do what they do too. The fear runs even deeper if there's a chance that their status was based on nothing BUT mastering that process.

    This is why artist's who keep the emphasis on their vision don't seem to be threatened by new processes that make their work easier.

    As far as the damage that chip making causes the environment, yes it's significant. But you're talking about the one-time manufacture of hard goods that are reuseable for years. In the world of film, you're talking about the chemical processing that has to be done every time film is developed or a print is made. The hidden benefit to digital snapshooting is that consumers tend print in a way more similar to serious photographers: they only print the images they want. As opposed to the minilab way, which is to print all 36 crappy exposures on every roll (sometimes twice).

  7. #17

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

    Learning how to control real photographic materials is harder

    Really, Jorge? How do you know this?

    Maybe you should stay away from things you know nothing about.

  8. #18

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

    True Paul,

    Although, for some the process has become the definition of who they are or want to be, and are threatened if someone comes along and can recreate what they do and more. These people fade into the woodwork when no one is willing to listen to status fluff any longer.

    This thread has brought on a sudden desire to plunk on a jazz LP and enjoy for a while.


  9. #19

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

    Ok, lets start with Butzi. How do I know? Well, see, you assume that I know nothing about ink jet printing or how to use Photoshop, as usual your assumption is wrong. So, I did not have to move to ink jet printing because I needed more "control." How come you did? I will gladly stay out of things I know nothing about when you do the same.

    Paul, do not even go there. I worked for 15 years in hazardous waste disposal and environmental remediation. Chemicals used in the darkroom, including fixer have little impact on environmental issues. As a matter of fact even those used in one hour labs have little impact compared to manufacturing of chips. In this case you are talking about something you know nothing about. Chip manufacture is not a "one time" process as you would like us to believe, while it is true that chips are made once, this is a continuous process, they dont stop once they finish one chip. To better illustrate this issue, Intel and IBM were one of our better customers and spent millions cleaning up their shit. Kodak OTOH only had problems with heavy metals disposal, which compared to the crap I had to clean up at Intel or IBM it was a drop in the bucket.

    Furthermore, all of the chemicals used in home darkrooms break down by the action of bacteria and oxidizers as well as UV light to form simple carbon compounds like methane with the exception of silver. The concentration of silver in spent fixer is so small that is easily removed by activated carbon, a normal procedure in sewage and water treatment plants. And even if it was not removed, you would have to drink fixer in a daily basis for years before you saw heavy metals poisoning.

    As to your "insult" about being and elitist. Here is the definition of elite:

    1. A group or class of persons or a member of such a group or class, enjoying superior intellectual, social, or economic status: “In addition to notions of social equality there was much emphasis on the role of elites and of heroes within them” (Times Literary Supplement).
    2. The best or most skilled members of a group: the football team's elite.

    Somehow I am not offended by your implication.

    The funny thing is this claim that "artist" who emphasis their vision are not threatened by new processes, like only those who make ink jet posters are the ones who can make claim to this exalted position. You are right Paul, all the photographers who came before us were only interested in the process, not in making good photographs...... You are the only ones who care about

    It is time you guys come up with a new argument, this one is wearing rather thin.

  10. #20

    Ending Film camera sales + print fading challenge

    Hey Paul,

    Jorge says,

    "Well, see, you assume that I know nothing about ink jet printing or how to use Photoshop, as usual your assumption is wrong. "

    But Paul, I think you're correct. Reading some of Jorge's other threads he has said the following:

    “I can assure you it would take me a lot less time to learn and master PS and do an ink jet print…."

    "This is what I dont get, even the most ignorant person about digital printing (like me)”

    So, based on his own admission, he knows nothing about inkjet printing or PS. All he is trying to do is highjack the thread to turn it into another inkjet vs whatever he likes argument. Waste of time to give him his much needed ego boost.

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