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Thread: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

  1. #41
    aleatorist David R Munson's Avatar
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    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    I came to LF when I was 15 and built a Bender 4x5 kit, and later bought a Linhof monorail. When I was 17 I bought and restored a Deardorff 8x10. Got out of it once maybe 4 or 5 years ago when I was super-depressed, frustrated with everything, in a horrible relationship, and basically my life was broken. I periodically regretted it immensely, but mostly tried to put it out of mind until recently (within the last year), when I bought a Chamonix from a good friend.

    Coming back to it has proven to me that I never should have parted ways with view cameras. It isn't my most-used camera. I have 35mm, 645, and digital gear that I use more often, but when there's a shot I want to do on 4x5, nothing else will do. Pretty much nobody outside a handful of my photographer friends understand what I mean when I tell them that it's the simplest, most direct way to make a photograph that I know. There's no noise, no complication, just a straightforward system that, once you've internalized how things work, will pretty much always do what you tell it.

    I've come to acknowledge that the deliberate nature of it fits how I like to approach many subjects, and that's enough for me. I have to think about what I'm doing less with a view camera than with any other sort of camera. I like that.

  2. #42

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    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    I'm not sure exactly when it was, tho likely it was early/mid '80s. It's really strange, but many (if not most) of the LF/4X5 exposures just feel right. Not that the 35mm are all crap, but the "keeper" percentage is different. Which means that 4x5 is a really good, if costly, teacher for miniature work.

  3. #43

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    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    David: Jay Bender, Bloomington, IL, ca 1982

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  4. #44
    8x10, 4x5, ..., Tessina Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Trius View Post
    It's really strange, but many (if not most) of the LF/4X5 exposures just feel right. Not that the 35mm are all crap, but the "keeper" percentage is different.
    I think it's because you put more thought and effort into an LF exposure than into those done in smaller formats.

    I shoot every format from Minox through 8x10.
    Each has its own unique character, and drives a particular mind set and discipline.

    When I envision a shooting project I seldom need to cogitate on which format to use.
    That's obvious from the subject and desired results.

    Given that the LF images take much more time and effort to create than smaller ones,
    it's not surprising that the keeper percentage is higher.
    You just put more thought into doing it right in the first place.

    I do tend to vacillate between formats, sometimes letting LF age and mellow for months at a time, but I always go back to it.

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

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leigh View Post
    I do tend to vacillate between formats, sometimes letting LF age and mellow for months at a time, but I always go back to it.
    I like the way you said this, and it speaks for me.

    ...once you've internalized how things work, will pretty much always do what you tell it.
    David's point brings an analogy to mind. In the tuba-playing world, the Alexander tuba is legendary among those who came of age as orchestral tubists in the 60's and 70's. But they are bearish to play in tune, requiring considerable effort to learn slide pulls and alternate fingerings. One current player who switched from an Alex to the currently popular York design said to me, back right after the switch in 1984 or so, that they York required one to relax and the horn to the work. The Alex, on the other hand, could do anything, but you had to make it happen.

    Pros don't often use Alexes any more, but they still love the sound they produce.

    Rick "not equating difficulty with artistic value, however" Denney

  6. #46

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    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    There are those special situations where the light and opportunity say LF and movements. It is partly wanting to say something with great resolution and detail, but also controlling the end result with refined movements. It is at once a meditative process on an impulsive need. The "vision" thing that is part if the process, seeing in LF is seeing the possibility of subtle details and its impact.

    For me, LF should be employed where one wants to say something compelling that cannot be expressed in smaller sized images. In other words, if you can say it in digital slr than that is the right choice. In my experience, there are simply too many situations when a smaller format does not produce sufficient detail. On the other hand, I shoot digital as a backup but am always rather disappointed in the prints.

  7. #47

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    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    I have a 4oz hammer, an 8oz one, a 16oz one, a 25oz one, and a 4# one. I do not use that 4# hammer a lot, should I sell it?

    Nope, every so often it is the only one that will do the job, I need to do. The same with cameras.

    Oh, and because I have that 4# hammer, does that make me a large format hammerer? How about the guy that has a 16# sledge hammer? Funny, isn't it, when I start defining myself by the hammer I use it is very silly sounding.

    The strangest thing is that I do not even consider someone who is not involved in the craft of photography (darkroom work) a photographer, but an imager (someone who records images). Note, in that I am going by the process you are involved in, not the tools you use to do it. (I am, however, quite aware that 99.9999% of of the people out there with cameras do not agree with me, so no need to flame me.) Most of my life I have been an imager, even with film, but every once in a while I do get into the darkroom to do some B&W stuff.

    I will say to that OP, that the kind of images you make has a lot to do with which tools you use. Since you can get tilt & shift lenses for your digital or 35mm camera, a view camera is not strictly necessary for movements either like it was a few decades ago. So, the final answer seems to be image quality, digital has overtaken 35mm there, and is rapidly moving in on 120's territory, 4x5 and larger still seems to have an edge there. The other thing about the view camera is the way of working: slow and methodical as opposed to the frenzied shooting of the DSLR crowd. Of course, there is a large area of overlap between the two styles.

  8. #48

    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    "Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?"

    If you don't want to pick up the camera and use it, that's the sign. As far as being a "photographer", that's questionable.

    I'm on hiatus from 4x5 shooting small format. It began 2 years back when I started shooting bands, and after that never came back. The portrait and landscape threads here are my vicarious experiences. I just don't have to pay for gas or walk that far in some cases.

  9. #49
    God loves a tryer Scotty230358's Avatar
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    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    I, initially, regretted getting into LF because of my first field camera. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with it. It just did not suit me. When I bought my lastest camera, after a lot of research and playing with one my interest in LF was rekindled to the point that I have not shot 35mm for over 5 years and MF for over 2. I enjoy LF now.

  10. #50

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    Re: Was there a sign for you that you weren't (or were) a LF photographer?

    My only problem with LFP was the cost of film.
    I created an adapter to use my Canon20d as a digital back on my Sinar F and now that is virtually the only camers thatI use.
    I am a doodler with pictures and enjoy the artistry of the tilts and shifts and rises, falls and swings of the view camera.
    As long as I am able I will continue to ust it.

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