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Thread: Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2003

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    My dad just bought a color printer. He is happy with the advances in technology. He is looking forward to the day, a few years down the road, when he will buy a digitial SLR. Since he is my father, by definition he is older than I. While he is gladly moving forward technology wise I am happily traipsing through the daisies on my way back to the early twentieth century. As things get more technical and computer driven I am looking for more mechanical and simple. I am actually looking forward to getting my shutterless lens on my 5x7, trudging through the cold for a picture to take, hand developing the film, printing by contact in a very old process.

    Is anyone else happily traveling the wrong way on the technological interstate?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    Mark, Curious, what did you end up with for a lens? Yes, thinking of selling ALL the cameras and pounding pictures into the local rocks with harder rocks. :>)
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    I'm right behind you Mark.

    All my photo mentors over the years are now waxing lyrical about dpi, megapixels, where you can get cheap printer ink, photoshop this, gamut that ...

    Whereas, in two years I've probably spent as much money on LF lenses, 4x5 and 8x10 view cameras as they have on digital bodies.

    But digitypes need to worry about obsolesence as much as us, look how long the latest DSLR stay current ...

    And how many people want to spend MORE time in front of a computer screen ?

    Bottom line is that I get more out of the process of making an LF photo than I ever would with the instant gratification of a digital camera.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2001

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    You're not the only one, Mark. I have also adopted the "back to basics" approach. I have recently ordered a 4x5 after many years of using modern technology, and will be manually processing negs soon. However, I do not deny the advantages that one might find in digital cameras, printers, etc.

  5. #5

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    You have to ask yourself: is the new stuff in some way better than the old stuff? “Better” is a highly subjective assessment, of course. Figure that out and make your choices. Resisting technological change for no good reason is just being stubborn. And it might ultimately be futile, as the ugly guys on Star Trek point out from time to time.

    Having said that, I understand the intent of your comment. It sounds like you don’t want photography to be just one more thing you do on your computer. That’s your choice, of course. The good news is there’s still lots of potential left in the traditional wet darkroom. Many thousands of stunning photos were crafted with these tools. These methods are no better or worse than they were before digital.

    Digital makes some tedious things easy, and makes some nearly impossible things practical. What it won’t do is turn any of us into a good artist.

    The photographer was and will continue to be the weak link in the chain. Turn out the lights, mix up the chemicals and don’t look back.

  6. #6
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Honolulu, Hawai'i

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    A little of both, but more backward than forward. Recently I decided that I ought to learn how to retouch negatives by hand while there are still people around who know how to do it. It's hard to walk down the street these days without getting hit by an Adams Retouching Machine flying out the window [okay, I'm exaggerating, but really, it's hard to give one of these away].

  7. #7

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    Sorry, I fail to see it as either moving forward OR backward — it is simply a matter of seizing or exploiting the extended range of possibilities offered today. What I do think is progressive is that by pursuing any field we are in fact moving forward internally or personally. We are expanding our own knowledge and skills base. yes, our enjoyment and reward also. Large Format, Alternataive Process, 35mm, Digital do not compete against each other - rather they provide us a plethora of choices never before known and we should take advantage of any and all that may appeal to us.

    Mark, might I suggest that you investigate the recent work of Sally Mann who has kitted up a wagon as a mobile changing bag so that she can coat and process her own wet collodion plates in the field.

    We are spoiled for choice. We are well catered for in whatever genre or method we aspire to with the support of modern materials as diverse as black-out fabric that doesn't leak light, water tempering, air conditioning,and exhaust devices, expansive research material on the internet ... the list goes on and on and on. In 2003 we are pretty blessed aren't we?

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Sweet, ID

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    Backwards, way backwards. I thoroughly enjoy rebuilding turn of the century view cameras and then using them to make exposures. Could do it much easier, faster, and possibly "better" with modern equipment, but that's not my objective. But I also do not necessarily consider this moving backwards. It's all about what floats your boat and right now using these old cameras floats my boat.
    The only trouble with doin' nothing is you can't tell when you get caught up

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    This here stone axe was me many-times great grandfather's stone axe. It was good enough for him, and by gor it is good enough for me.

    Me old axe has been in the family forever and has given good service all that time, if not longer. It was a fine stone axe in its day, and it is still a fine stone axe. It is a stone axe, and that is what it is, nothing more, nothing less. As I said, it was good enough for me many-times great grandfather. Who, I ask you, would know better than he?

    Mind you, me old stone axe is no longer the best tool for all of the uses to which stone axes have been put over the years, but it is still a fine stone axe, and as useable as ever. As I said, it was a fine stone axe in its day, a fine stone axe, and it still is.

    I ought not have to say that this here stone axe isn't a general purpose tool. It never was. It never will be. It is only a stone axe. Stone axes have to be accepted and used for what they are, not rejected and ridiculed for what they aren't. Me old stone axe never was a good skinning knife, it still isn't, and it never will be. Nor was it ever much help at knitting or embroidery, no help at all. As I said, it is a stone axe, and that is what it is, a stone axe. An honest stone axe what was good enough for me many-times great grandfather and is plenty good enough for me. This other thing here is a little motor chain saw. It is a heavy, bulky, awkward, noisy, smelly thing that needs fuel and constant attention. Just what you want for taking down little trees. That's its job, taking down little trees. When there's little trees to be cut, one thinks first of a chain saw.

    Taking down little trees, poor things, isn't me many times great grandfather's stone axe's job anymore. But yer chain saw is not at all the tool for bashing heads, and there me old stone axe still shines. When heads need to be bashed, no one reaches instinctively for a chain saw, no one.

    "Horses for courses," me many times great grandfather used to say, "horses for courses." His stone axe is only a metaphorical horse, metaphorical. There are still metaphorical courses for it and plenty of them, plenty. As I said, it is a fine stone axe and plenty good enough for me, plenty good enough.

    Don't scorn me old stone axe or me for using it still. It has its virtues and I has me reasons. Yes, as I've been saying it was good enough for me many-times great grandfather, and it is plenty good enough for me too.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 2003

    Anyone else moving backward instead of forward technologically

    Walter mentioned a point about choice and that digital is another choice. Unfortunately, commercial photography drives the direction of the photo supplies market. So our list of choices are shifting not expanding.

    Last Saturday, I was doing my occasional 'visit the downtown photo stores' here in Toronto. None had 8x10 (althought Eight Elm was closed when I was shopping) and those who carried 4x5 film assured me that as soon as the big photo schools stopped teaching with LF then they'd stop carrying LF all together. Students are currently their biggest market.

    So as the pro's go digital, the schools who teach tomorrows pro's also go digital, that leaves too few of us to provide enough demand to keep Kodak and Fuji producing big negs for us. Maybe we should all buy Ilford, Bergger, Forte and Efke to make sure their businesses stay healthy enough to provide us with enough film to last us our photographic lifetimes ....

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