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Thread: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

  1. #1
    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    In the new Freestyle Educators' Resource Catalogue there are a few testimonials by members of the advisory board about the continued relevance of traditional darkroom. Here are all the statements:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/importanceofdarkroom.php


    Here is my contribution:

    http://www.freestylephoto.biz/import...room.php?id=37
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 67
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

  2. #2
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    Without doubt, photography took a giant step forward sometime around 1910 with the advent of silver gelatin photo paper. It was a big step forward just about any way you look at it, from image quality to ease of use.

    I'm not convinced, however, that it's going to remain the backbone of photography. Not even fine-art photography. I think instead that silver will become the king of the alternative processes. Some form of digital printing will become the mainstream. We've already seen this in color work.

    It certainly won't hurt to expose students to a variety of processes, with lots of time spent on silver gelatin. I don't see any of the processes being or becoming irrelevant. It they are taught in such a way that the students can learn the strengths and weaknesses of each method, what more can one want? That's sort of the definition of education I think.

    If the students pick silver gelatin for their own work, great. It not, I don't have a problem as long as the choice they make is an informed choice.

    Bruce Watson

  3. #3

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    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    Digital and silver photography are two different artforms, as painting and photography are two different art forms. Neither can supplant the other, even if their end results were identical.

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    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    Quote Originally Posted by cyrus
    Digital and silver photography are two different artforms, as painting and photography are two different art forms. Neither can supplant the other, even if their end results were identical.
    as are platinum, cyanotype, 4 color carbon, dye transfer... but i suspect all will be classified under photographic arts

  5. #5

    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim collum
    as are platinum, cyanotype, 4 color carbon, dye transfer... but i suspect all will be classified under photographic arts
    Maybe, maybe not....time will tell.

  6. #6

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    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorge Gasteazoro
    Maybe, maybe not....time will tell.

    well, the museums and photographic art galleries have already decided. (maggie smith is being sold right up there with her husband Jerry as photographic)

  7. #7

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    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    but back to the original thread.. it's important that students get experience in all aspects.. it allows for the exploration of different visions in different mediums

  8. #8
    Ted Harris's Avatar
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    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    We make images for two reasons, 1) in the pursuit of our own artistic muse and to please ourselves and 2) to produce an image for others to see. For our own pleasure, in pursuit of our own muse we do what pleases us; for some that is all traditional processes for others all digital and for many both. When producing images for others, to me, the final print is the only thing that matters, not how you go tthere. Having said that, the more any artist, including a photographic artist (or commercial photographer for that matter) knows aout the craft and processes relevant to his art the more choices he has, th emore likely he is to be able to successfully translate his 'vision' into the image present for others.

    I'm no tsure I could do a goo djob of verbalizing the linkages but I absolutely know that the 45 years I spent with a wide variety of traditional processes (even almost mastering some of them) greatly enhanced my abilitiy to use the new digital processes as they became (and continue to become) available and also help to sound a mental cautionary note on what may npot yet e in the realm of the possible for digital work.

  9. #9

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    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    The silver standard was looked at mostly for commercial purposes during its heyday. The art part was there too, however so much of it was taken for granted. Look at the lowly AZO so many contact proof sheets were done on, only to be regarded as something mostly for that purpose - proofs.

    Today, people who want prints and photographers alike may be coming full circle, coming back to appreciate so much more of what may have been taken for granted or not fully explored by most.

    The fine darkroom made print ( or alternative process prints too ) that come from a traditional film well handled is something of intrinsic value for its craft and material. Instead of having to invent the very process along the way, there is now a rich pallete of knowledge, perspective and material available to those who want to explore the limits. New artists can build upon the lifetime contributions of great photographers / printers / processors, scientists and writers.

    The darkroom is as relevant as ever. It's just not the path to a future working in a lab to produce headshots, photos for pasteup / stats, and other purely commercial materials.

    It is truly wonderful that the Board at Freestyle appreciate the value of the darkroom, and good of you, Kirk to note that it is a vehicle to understand photography.

    If the darkroom does become irrelevant, at least there will be many fine examples of solid, great silver ( and other "alt" work ) photography to look back upon in the future. This is a special time which should be taken advantage of, a time when we can still purchase convenient, ready-made materials and chemicals so that we can get about the process of making fine images.

  10. #10

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    Re: Relevance of Traditional Darkroom.

    the introduction of photography into schools didn't remove the necessity to learn oil, acrylic, watercolor painting, etc. they are still valid artforms that are taught in schools. i don't understan why brining digital into the schools should surplant any other art form.. all of the photographic processes are still just as valid. Cousin Frank may not be interested.. but he's usually not the person who enrolled in the darkroom classes before either, and would be enrolling in a digital photographic art class.

    keep the darkrooms!!!!

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