View Full Version : Hi, I'm Nathan And I'm An Alcoholic

28-Nov-2007, 12:00
Oops wrong introduction! No but seriously, I just decided to get into large format a few months ago and so far I'm really enjoying it. I did some 35mm photography when I was a kid, then took a hiatus for many years. I followed the development of digital cameras but could never bring myself to buy one. They were just getting better and better and you didn't know when to jump in, kinda like how many people feel about computer technology. So when the time came I said screw it, let's get one of those "old fashioned" things and just be a total luddite. Who really needs a bazillion mediocre digital shots littering their hard drive? Okay, so I also bought a digital camera around the same time as my 4x5, but the 4x5 is so much more fun to use. So while I still can shoot 100 digital shots and photoshop them into something aesthetically pleasing, with 4x5 I find I only take about 8 pictures in a single outing and the results are much more satisfying. The level of waste and spoilage with film is MUCH less I've found.

I was also inspired to go old school by my grandmother's photo collection. Those old B&W prints look SOOOO freaking good, so sharp and so much TONE and I just never got that vibe during my entire digital imaging career (drum scanner\pre press operator etc.) It didn't matter to me that it's just an everyday snap of Uncle Ted and Aunt Marge standing on the porch, it just LOOKS so GOOD!

I wondered too if there would be anything left to show people of the future after our crappy inkjets faded and our computer hardware became obsolete and unreadable. But I kinda abandoned that reasoning since it's really irrelevant if my stupid print lasts 20 years or 100 years; is it actually worth looking at? Like, NOW? I'm probably gonna get sick of the damn thing in a month anyway! But archival concerns or not, I still love the look I get with B&W film right "out of the box" witout having to cheat in Photoshop.

I've got an analog darkroom but to be honest it's a real struggle. Compared to my skills in Photoshop making a silver print is kinda like playing guitar with mittens. So I do make them now and again, but mostly developing film and scanning it for digital darkroom work is most enjoyable. And the reality is that very few people in the physical world would even see my prints, even if they didn't suck...but on the web thousands can see a technically superior result. So it's a wash I guess.

I've found out about plenty of technical stuff I wondered about on this forum. It's a great resource. Lots of inspiring photographs too! So thanks everyone! :)

Here's my current batch (er, ONLY batch) of 4x5 stuff:

28-Nov-2007, 13:05
sounds like we're somewhat in the same boat.

my darkroom experiences are actually all small and medium format related. i bought an enlarger on a whim, tried making some prints, gave up. then i a took a class at the local community college, basic photography, but the teacher was a master printer. that revitalized my interest and i was able to make prints i actually wanted to frame. now that the class is long over, my interest has waned again. i don't shoot on 35mm anymore, and only a little on medium format. all my most interesting negatives seem to be on 4x5, but i have no way to print them except digitally (or with a inkjet-transparency contact print, which i've tried a couple of times). i enjoy developing my own film and enjoy printing too, but the latter is just too much of hassle. the laundry room takes a long time to convert into a temporary darkroom, and then i'm stuck with nothing to print. perhaps i need to use my Bronica more.

like you, i'm more adept at photoshop than i am with an enlarger. if someone donated a 4x5 enlarger i think that would change quickly, as i'd have motivation to print more.

i do use a dSLR, but not for art. i've recently started a portrait photography business, and digital is where it's at for that. i keep trying to get clients to pay for 4x5 portraits with my homemade lenses, but so far no takers... :)

so welcome, from a fellow newb.

Clueless Winddancing
28-Nov-2007, 21:39
12 steps at a time and keep your sponsor's number handy. When acedic acid, fixer, and curled prints begin to hit you -you know you're home.

28-Nov-2007, 21:48
No you got the intro correct for the most part just the wrong drug! :eek: Looked at your images, very nice indeed!


28-Nov-2007, 23:29
Good Job, I enjoyed watching (and especially reading) your flickr's show..

John Kasaian
29-Nov-2007, 00:15
Nice work! Welcome aboard!

29-Nov-2007, 02:21
Hi Nathan, like your photos and added you as a contact so I can keep an eye on you!

29-Nov-2007, 12:13
Great selection of work. I really like those foggy images. Welcome. :)

evan clarke
29-Nov-2007, 14:15
Nathan, Welcome from New Berlin. The good news is that you are still a social drinker!!...Evan Clarke

29-Nov-2007, 15:52
Thanks much for the compliments! (The truth is I don't really drink much at all. But no matter, I have plenty of other money and time-consuming vices, and the current one seems to be photography gear! Ha!) I am really tempted to get an 8x10 camera after I saw how cool my 90mm worked on the "Rock Garden" image. But oh man, that means more tanks, more hangers, more film carriers...$$$

But in a way now is a good time to get into old photography processes as there are plenty of folks getting rid of their stuff. Perhaps it pays to be a late late adopter? Actually it does, because I've had an inordinate number of strangers offer me old large format equipment either when out in the field or on other message boards. One guy offered me film carriers on a bike trail, another guy sent me his old easel and a darkcloth, someone sent me four boxes of paper (expired\spoiled unfortunately, but it's the thought that counts), another guy borrowed me a lens and a guy I work with might sell me his old Crown Graphic. So getting this 4x5 camera really brought out the charitable donations! Really kind folks out there. One man's junk in the closet is another's treasure I guess.

Perhaps next I'll have to get into printing newspapers with metal type or something! Heh!