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Remember when photography was cool?

Old 08-09-19, 07:29 AM
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Remember when photography was cool?

Remember when photography was cool? Don't get me wrong, digital has a lot of advantages and you can still get some awesome shots. But now everyone is going it.

There was something really cool about popping you film selection into the camera and snapping a few shots. Then there was the waiting to get the film developed. Either sending it off or developing it on your own. I did my own BW development for a while. There were also film development kiosks everywhere including the drug stores and ubiquitous camera stores.

How many generations will it take till people have no idea what this song is about? Or has that ship sailed with the youger generation?

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Old 08-09-19, 07:40 AM
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Having gone through the whole of the arts program, I never put two disciplines up at the top: ceramics, and photography. Ceramics has nearly unlimited do-overs, and photography is at the very least 50% luck*.

Getting a "good" photograph is akin to catching a home run ball at a baseball game-- be in the right place, at the right time, and do the exact right thing-- but luck got you there to begin with.

I remember a National Geographic photographer talking about some shots for the magazine being the result of 2,000+ exposures-- while others, usually the ones that end up winning Pulitzer Prizes-- were a single snap taken without any preparation.

So I don't think the digital takeover has weakened photography. It just made everyone a potential photographer.

*well, not if you're say Ansel Adams. That is the art of patience, taken to an extreme.
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Old 08-09-19, 08:13 AM
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I took non-credit courses at a university and then became a lab monitor there even though I was not enrolled. When I rode across the country and then some I carried a Nikon 35mm with a 35-70 zoom lens, a Mamyia 645 with a 120 back, metered view finder, power grip, 150mm lens, 80mm lens and 55mm lens. Talk about a weight penalty. Shot close to 100 rolls of film. Not as much as it might sound since the 654 format only gave you 15 shots per 120 roll. I periodically mailed exposed rolls home and had my mom mail me more. It was a PITA developing all that. But I could spend hour upon hour printing.
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Old 08-09-19, 08:53 AM
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The thing I remember most vividly about learning photography in the pre-digital era... is not a good memory. Yeah, printing was fun. I enjoyed the darkroom. It was going into the pitch black to transfer the film to the developing canister, and praying to all manner of gods that the coil of film wouldn't stick together and ruin everything you had done-- and we were shooting on 35mm B&W, 36 shots to a roll. It happened more than once, and it sticks with me to this day.

I still don't know if things like composition can really be taught. Some people have "an eye for it," some don't. I watched people go all the way through a program, and effectively master the technical aspects, but still never manage to take a decent picture. So to amend my post from above, 50% luck (higher if a darkroom is actually involved) and at least 30% plain old innate talent. Some folks have a knack for taking terrible pictures. Mind you, I don't consider myself a photographer, despite having some training in it, having shot full manual for many, many, many years, and having some basic idea of how to proportion and frame a shot. I take snapshots-- a phone with a decent lens and Instagram are perfect for me. I love digital, and I love taking a quick snap with my hands off the bars, and capturing a single moment by virtue of just being where I was at that particular time.

Couldn't get out in the morning, so I left for this day's ride at about 7:45pm, right around sunset at this time of year in this neck of the woods. As I was coming around a bend, I saw a guy taking a picture of a girl he was with, and looked over my shoulder to see what the background was. Pulled out the phone and snapped this @ 20mph, just holding the phone up above my head. Luck, the right place, and the right time.

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Old 08-09-19, 09:11 AM
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Why did the hipster burn his mouth?

He drank his coffee before it was cool.
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Old 08-09-19, 09:55 AM
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A beautiful sunset with the exception of that one little piece of sidewalk which can be easily removed with the right software. ^^


You might be caught in a lot or romanticism about film photography -- you left out the "film" part . In any event, you can get great pictures either way. As for luck, it can also be call a "decisive moment" (Henri Cartier-Bresson). That time when all the right elements are in the right place just as you snap the shutter to make the perfect photo.


Learning film photography is an interesting process but I wouldn't say its the end all of photography. You can become a great photographer using film or digital. The difference in film though is with your preparation:

Since it costs you money every time you click the shutter, you less inclined to just press and pray, and more likely to take your time and be methodical about each and every picture you take. Developing that quality alone does have its advantages.

Last edited by KraneXL; 08-09-19 at 08:52 PM.
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Old 08-09-19, 10:06 AM
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Great photography is timeless.








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Old 08-09-19, 10:15 AM
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It wasn't cool when everyone was doing it.
Moms were taking endless pictures of their kids with point and shoots.
The dark room was nerdy, not hip.
False nostalgia, like what's driving sales of lousy record players and way overpriced vinyl reissues.
A '58 Chevy wasn't cool in '59, it was what everyone's moms were driving to the store.

But what did change is that getting your pictures back and sharing them used to be more special.
You had to wait, and spend a little money
You shot 50 or 100 frames on a vacation and tried to make them count, not 2000 (which may never leave the camera).
Pictures were more valued because they were fewer and you shared them in person hand to hand.
Maybe you made the effort to have copies made and send them through the mail to people you cared about, instead of instantly blasting them to 100-2000 acquaintances. Or strangers.
That's where society really lost something.
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Old 08-09-19, 11:58 AM
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I miss the smell of D76 developer...
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Old 08-09-19, 12:22 PM
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digital photography has made it easier to take photos without even thinking about what was needed to get a photo with film. i see nothing wrong with that if that’s what a person wants. too often, like on this, complaining just results in focusing attention on negativity and not on the creativity of photography, regardless of the medium. the basic principles of photography are the same with film or digital, smartphone or medium format film, the main difference is just how the image is stored and processed. it's all good to me and more people sharing the world around them is also good.

for me the creativity of the continual learning of how to balance the necessities of getting a photo is what i enjoy. a person can also do that and visualize the world with an iPhone, holga, rangefinder, dslr or film camera etc. etc.

Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Great photography is timeless.
if you haven’t already, find and watch the documentary ‘the salt of the earth’ about salgado.
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Old 08-09-19, 12:27 PM
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I enjoyed Salt of the Earth a great deal. Saw it in a small theater in Port Townsend with family. Even for somebody with half a dozen Salgado photo books on his shelf, I learned a great deal.
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Old 08-09-19, 12:36 PM
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The worst "compliment" I ever received was, "Wow, you must have a really good camera."

Yeah, thanks, it's not like I planned for the action to be at that location, at that time, with the light where it was, and the advance focus on that spot, and ensuring all the camera settings (one of the first ever digital SLRs) were correct. Obviously, I don't agree that it's all about "luck", though I'm sure that plays a big factor in the amateur taking a nice photo.

The difference between an amateur photographer and a professional: the amateur doesn't see the difference.

I'm not a professional photographer, but I see the difference, and it's not down to luck. "10,000 hours", experience, preparation, knowledge of your equipment, subject, the study of art (in many forms), all go into making a beautiful product.

A nice side-effect of the digital age is it's allowed the amateur "point-and-shoot" user to take some really nice photos, and for a wide range of people to share great experiences.
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Old 08-09-19, 12:39 PM
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Super cool.

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Old 08-09-19, 12:40 PM
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Here's a self portrait I made with a digital camera a few years ago. I spent the night before my birthday in the Teanaway Guard Station, a couple mile snowshoe hike to a rustic cabin. Thought it would be a fantastic bday present to wake up in a beautiful mountain area. I'm reading that digital photography is all about spray and pray, I must be doing it wrong.

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Old 08-09-19, 01:20 PM
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Great photography is not moment dependent. Anyone who thinks that photography or ceramics is a simple craft, just a matter of getting lucky hasn't even gotten beyond the basics and doesn't have the intellect or the talent to go any further with it.

A master photographer can take the simplest moment, the most ordinary object and imbue it with mystery, beauty and meaning. It doesn't matter whether it's film or digital or wet plates.


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Old 08-09-19, 01:28 PM
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Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
I miss the smell of D76 developer...
Me too...and long nights in my bathroom darkroom trying to create the right photo image.
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Old 08-09-19, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
I miss the smell of D76 developer...
I don't. It's the fixer and the stop bath I remember smelling.
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Old 08-09-19, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
I miss the smell of D76 developer...
I also miss shopping at Freestyle Photo store in Hollywood and buying bulk film to load up using my black camera bag.

Those college days were remarkable for how fun I could have trying to see how far I could make a dollar go. Nowadays I have more disposable income but not nearly as much fun.
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Old 08-09-19, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
I don't. It's the fixer and the stop bath I remember smelling.
+1. Our primary developer in the lab was FG-7. I learned on that but then switched to something different. Not made by Ilford or Kodak. Wish I could remember the name. Think it had "Pro" in the name.
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Old 08-09-19, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
+1. Our primary developer in the lab was FG-7. I learned on that but then switched to something different. Not made by Ilford or Kodak. Wish I could remember the name. Think it had "Pro" in the name.
Edwal had a developer designated FG-7. Could that be the one?
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Old 08-09-19, 03:04 PM
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While I enjoy my dSLRs, I do still enjoy messing around with my old film cameras. My little Canonet would be awesome for L'Eroica or retro ride use, though some companies do offer some lovely retro styled digicams now.
Would like to try caffenol, too, and I have a few rolls of film in the freezer...
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Old 08-09-19, 03:17 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
+1. Our primary developer in the lab was FG-7. I learned on that but then switched to something different. Not made by Ilford or Kodak. Wish I could remember the name. Think it had "Pro" in the name.
Was it Rodinal?
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Old 08-09-19, 05:30 PM
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Maybe it was Eco Pro or Promicrol... or even Pyro.
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Old 08-10-19, 03:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Great photography is timeless.








And every shot was more about "right place/right time." High contrast added drama. My son says, "the best camera is the one you have at the right moment."

He has an art degree in multimedia design, and creates videos... and manages a coffee shop. Guess which pays more.
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Old 08-10-19, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
Great photography is not moment dependent. Anyone who thinks that photography or ceramics is a simple craft, just a matter of getting lucky hasn't even gotten beyond the basics and doesn't have the intellect or the talent to go any further with it.

A master photographer can take the simplest moment, the most ordinary object and imbue it with mystery, beauty and meaning. It doesn't matter whether it's film or digital or wet plates.


And yet some of the greatest award winning photographs of all time were spur of the moment shots. You may want to reconsider that one.
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