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Thread: Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

  1. #21

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    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    Well said for an individual of your youth, and shows an open mindedness and maturity way beyond your years. You know now what some people never learn.

    You do not suffer from myopia. We, right now, are someones distant future, and at the same time we are also the dim past to some future generation.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  2. #22

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    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    Sooner or later, someone should bring Ansel Adams in to this discussion. Adams was evidently very impressed and openly excited about the very high quality of the high end laser scans madefrom his negatives for reproduction in the last book he produced before his health failed -- and that was at least twenty years ago! he felt that this technology was ableto get more information out of his negatives than he was ever able to get through his considerable darkroom skills.

    My point is that digital technology is coming and that no amount of emotional attachment to one set of tools will offset thepotential of this newer and more precise set of tools. You may think it sterile and devoid of creativity -- but that is more a judgement of the user of those tools than of the tools themselves.

  3. #23

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    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    A talented individual can create magic with a pencil, crayons, anything, that is not in dispute Ellis, at least not by me. I think several threads have crossed back and forth between two different issues here.

    Digital's not coming, it's here, and it can be very precise, when it works right, but there isn't going to be any precision because there isn't going to be anything when your systems crashed, frozen, not communicating with your printer and so forth.

    That's the issue, at least for me, not that I don't like using digital as tool, but the workmanship and dependability of that tool. Digital is useless when it doesn't work. I have eight cameras, including three that are electronic, and I have a breakdown in any one of my cameras about once in 10 years!

    The crashes and freezes with my digital tools have been countless, and sometime they occur from just turning my computer on. I've suffered a lot of downtime, so in terms of digital as tool it's going to have to be better made and cheaper, and I have no doubt that it will be.

    I use digital in spite of the problems, but digital at this stage of its evolution is costlier, and a lot less dependable than my other equipment. Emotion has got nothing to do with pointing out this fact.

    I would never dismiss digital which is why in the hell I have digital in the first place, but there is simply no excuse for bad workmanship and indifference. Make this stuff right with the best materials, make it dependable and don't release until it is right and digital begins to realize its full potential.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  4. #24

    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    adams did indeed say he was excited by the coming technology, but he did not say that the scanned reproductions were better than his original prints, he said they were close, but not quite as good.

  5. #25

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    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    The only thing anyone knows for sure about the future of anything is that no one knows for sure. One of the troubles with these kinds of discussions is that people tend to speak of "film" as though it was all the same. In fact there are different markets for different films (and papers), some more susceptible to digital competition than others. By far the biggest single seller among films is 35 mm color negative film. It accounts for something like 90% of all film sales and something like 50% of that is in disposable cameras. This is the stuff used by vacation/holiday snap shooters who aren't interested in the greatest quality. I don't see digital being able to compete on a cost basis with disposable and low end point and shoot cameras/drug store processing and printing any time soon so I think the future of 35 mm color film and papers is pretty secure. OTOH, commercial photography is already pretty much digital. The pro labs in my area have all gone completely digital - no more wet processing at all. I only know a handful of pro photographers but they are all into digital almost exclusively. So the materials used mostly by pros - i.e. medium and large format color film - is probably in some trouble. Doesn't mean it will disappear but it probably will go up in price and way down in choices. One of the big differences between pros and fine art/serious amateurs is that the pros all can pass the cost on to a client, so digital cost isn't the factor for them that it is for a non-pro. Black and white stuff should be pretty secure since it isn't used commercially to any great extent anyhow.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  6. #26

    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    I find it funny that all those who welcome the demise of silver photography and embrace the technology of digital with a closed mind chanting comments relating the silver process to the stone age, when digital is trying to mimic its very outcome. So when you have copied it, I say welcome to the same era. Grab a tree stump, pull it up next to the fire and sharpen your spear because you really havent acheived anything that hasn't been done already.

  7. #27

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    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    This is a really tough one for me, as I have been reading this thread go across my email over the past few days.

    I am a large format newbie, and I am at the crossroads of either making an investment in an enlarger or in a scanner and a Piezography-enabled printer. Wow, what a tough one. I have the option of picking up a D5, 3 Nikkor lenses, model 400 cold light head, and a Jobo CPP2 for under $1400. Or, I can invest in digital equipment and save the 'wife factor' headaches of hogging the bathroom on weekday evenings.

    I do love the qualities of a silver print. Nothing like the pure blacks you can get with a print from an enlarger, and the continuous tones.

    I haven't seen any Piezography prints yet, but I am going to try to get in front of a few in the coming weeks. I am very proficient in Photoshop, due to my 35mm color work to date. I am skeptical as of what the final results a 'digital' print will look like, if I were to compare it to a silver print.

    This is precisely the case. No matter which tools you use, ultimately, your vision and craftsmanship will show. Even though many more people will be taking up the mouse and doing their prints through a digital process, this good vision, or lack thereof, will show in the final image(s).

    For me right now, it is not so much a financial or space issue. Yes, an enlarger will take up quite a bit of room, when you consider all of the chemicals required. Digital won't take as much room, but it will hit the pocketbook significantly.

    It all winds down to one question: what do you want your final image to look like? This will make my decision easier. Who cares? If I decide I like the look of a Piezography print versus a silver print, my decision will be easy. However, I doubt it will be that easy. It is like somebody saying that a platinum print is better than silver prints. They are just different.

    So, anybody want to make bets on what decision I will go with?

  8. #28

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    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    If you decide to go digital great, but there are several things you and anyone jumping into digital needs to do before you start buying.

    When you've settled on a system and/or an individual piece of digital gear, go to every digital forum, sourcesite, any place you can find w/info regarding the problems, issues, conflicts, info on any additional items you have to purchase to make the gear work that aren't mentioned in the original promos.

    Find out all the problems first, find out how good the software is, get a line on the manufacturers willingness to back up the gear if problems arise after your purchase. This will take time, but is time well spent.
    Jonathan Brewer

    www.imageandartifact.bz

  9. #29

    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    Andy if I were you I would still go for the traditional darkroom. Apparently you are already working with photoshop, so you would not loose any practice. The "wife factor" will be much worse when she sees how much you spent on the Epson and piezo equipment. The price you mention for all those darkroom articles is excellent and should last you for many many years, you will still be making silver prints with this gear long after your Epson and piezo combo are obsolete.

  10. #30

    Traditional Darkroom, A Dying Art?

    Richard mentioned woodwork and craftmanship; Raven wanted to know about availabity: the intersection of these can be seen by walking into a Home Depot.

    I went into the "tool coral" and asked for a coping saw. I got the same dumb, rodent staring at a dinosaur, look I get when I go into the middle end photo chain-store and ask for a roll of 120 FP4. I go to the big two stores in my area and ask for a box of 4x5 film and I might just as well ask for a cabinet scraper at Home Depot -- even if they find it, will I get an ounce of usefull advise? No. I think we will still be able to get quality products at reasonable prices, but it will be mailorder or we have to drive a long long way, and then it will be a pleasuer to talk to someone who knows something. We just won't be able to run to the mall if we run out.
    Dean Lastoria

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