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Thread: New to LF

  1. #1

    New to LF

    Hello all,

    I find myself getting into this mostly because I am a stubborn curmudgeon. In another life, I taught photography (badly) for about 8 years. That said, I have no fear of most anything with film.

    Now I want a family portrait but I am distrustful of the way portraiture is currently done. I want a portrait I can hand down to my grandchildren. That leaves out virtually all current printing processes. That also pretty much leaves out color. I want to store the originals in my Bank safety deposit box. That means either digital files on CD/DVD or film. I don't trust CDs. That leaves me with B&W film.

    No local photographer works in film anymore.
    No local photographer will release the negatives. (there is a rant there)

    That leaves out the pros.

    Now I have to get creative. I have good friends who are very talented filmmakers and generally artistic. They have access to lights and a background. I am unafraid of the film hardware and am perfectly capable of setting the correct exposure and focusing.
    All I really need from someone else is lighting, composing the shot and clicking the shutter.

    I haven't owned a camera for a very long time. I figure if I am going to do this, why not do it up right.

    Here is my plan:

    --I obtain a 4x5 view camera, lens, meter, film holders and tank off Ebay
    --I do some initial testing to test the rig and get comfortable with exposure, processing the film myself and using a few poloroids.
    --I get the background and lights from my filmmaker friends.
    --We have a portrait party.
    --I use a local B&W lab for the printing (although that was always my favorite part).

    I figure that even paying for the equipment, film and processing, I won't be much more expensive than using a studio (not Walmart/Sears) AND I get the negs for my safety deposit box.

    So, my questions:
    1. Is there anyone out there willing to do a bit of mentoring?
    2. Am I nuts. No flame wars, please. I am just a guy trying to get exactly what I want.

    thanks to all,

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Westminster, MD

    Re: New to LF

    So where are you located? Mentoring over the internet is difficult. Best for find someone local.

    Some of the best plans in life are called 'nuts' so if you are following your dream do it.

    Good luck.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

  3. #3

    Re: New to LF

    I am located in Kansas City

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: New to LF

    Sounds like a blast, Roger!

    OTOH have you checked out local "alternative" 'togs working with platinum/palladium?

    Speaking of blasts---
    I used to know a very talented photographer Allen White, IIRC, who is from KC. He published a book of Hassy photographs quite awhile back (like 20 years ago!) He and his bride and I were on a train in Northern Spain when the tracks were blown up by Basque seperatists and I met them while hiking to the main highway where busses were brought in to take the passengers on to Burgos. Being english speakers we kind of stuck out the ordeal together. You might see if he is still active and will do a portrait for you.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  5. #5

    Re: New to LF

    sorry it took me so long to respond. I've had some stomach crud. Much better now.

    I know about the alternative processes and may give them a look down the line. For the moment, I just don't have the space or the cash for a darkroom or even much of a processing lab.

    I am starting to get pretty stoked about this process. I have been looking around on Ebay to find a camera. I think pretty much any camera will do as long as it's solid and light tight. I find myself drawn to the venerable Graphic View (or II).

    Thanks to all that responded. I am feeling pretty good right now.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

    Re: New to LF

    Roger, I'm in the same boat, although in a much more isolated spot than Kansas City.

    I want to do LF because I just want to learn and am fascinated by the process (and results). Maybe it's a quixotic part of my psyche, I don't know...but I like the idea of doing things photographically most people don't even know about. This board has been a big help so far but we're all students our whole lives long...just at varying stages, is all.


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