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Author Topic: Remembering the time before digital  (Read 3579 times)
dirkpieters
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« on: August 16, 2008, 02:47:24 PM »
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The previous Topic on Duane Michaels made think of the old days.

"You could go to the Limelight Gallery in the Village coffee shop, in the back room, and they had a wall where they put up Ansel Adams for $5"

Its amazing how the world has changed the world has become so visual and digital and while its important to embrace  the digital age and even enjoy it I often find myself looking back
Some things were so much better in the old days.People have been saying this for generations but its particularly the case with photography.
I miss the smells film and mouldy old equipment and girls in the darkroom.Fixer stains on my favourite jeans and those all-night printing sessions.I miss the drama of the days before you finally process the film that you think may be great.The quick look you give the negs while they are still wet.The first time you ask a stranger to pose for you.The first time you wake up early and get blown away by the light. You could phone virtually anyone and ask to photograph them and they would say yes.In the days before digital things were better in so many ways and us old guys were heroes.Were were magicians, genius's

Anybody else want to share experiences about the good old days.

Dirk
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mahleu
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2008, 04:24:58 PM »
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I wish i'd been shooting film today. Then I wouldn't be editing the far too many digital images i took today. 10 years ago all the guests wouldn't have had digicams either so I could get on with working without them in the way.

I'm 23 so you can laugh at me reminiscing, but I learnt on film and I also miss the dark room. Whole nights were spent in there meeting deadlines and I only wish there was an infrared camera or at least a mic in there, some of the things that happened were just so funny/surreal.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2008, 11:31:48 PM »
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If I read this forum correctly, most of the people who shoot film today scan the film and print digitally. This is so taken for granted that when the flurry of postings comparing analog (film) to digital took place, nobody to my knowledge suggested comparing a 100 pct. analog print to a 100 pct. digital print. Nobody.
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plugsnpixels
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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2008, 11:51:23 PM »
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I started with photography in 1974 as a teen and had my own darkroom almost from the start. In my case, it was upstairs in an old house in a sealed-up, unventilated room, so not a lot of good memories of atmosphere! But of course the process was magical and I engaged in it right through 1997, at a newspaper, at college and at home.

I was given an old 5x7 view camera back in '75 and viewing the projected image on the ground glass was almost a meditative experience. I can still recall it today though the camera is long gone, sold to raise money for my first 35mm SLR.

All that said, I have zero desire to enter a darkroom again (much less find a place for one with all its related junk!), and in this current time of environmental sensitivity I guess dumping the chemicals down the drain like I used to would be frowned upon...

I work in higher ed and occasionally hear a student get excited about learning the darkroom over in the Art department... I guess it depends on your experience and background (the less you have with traditional workflows, the more exciting it all is). These students are also known to think clothes from the '60s are cool!

I love the ease of digital (instant color! Did you ever try processing color film and slides yourself?) and its immediacy (share a new photo internationally in seconds).

Of course there are storage issues with digital, but nothing like dealing with drawers or binders of negatives.

Obsolescence can be a problem, though. Modern cameras and computers age out so much faster than old metal hardware.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2008, 11:53:14 PM by plugsnpixels » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2008, 05:32:19 AM »
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I guess Iīm as old as anyone can be and still be interested in photography, but age is a double-edged weapon: it gives you experience but also short temper with idiots. It can be damaging to the career, if you still have one.

But on the purely photographic side, yes, I do miss the old days quite a lot. I do not have fond memories of chemicals - I used to put clear varnish on my nails to prevent myself from looking like a heavy smoker - but I do have very fond memories of real photographic paper. My favourite was Kodakīs WSG 2D although most of the commercial stuff was on single weight. I loved the gloss from a drum...

Storage was never that much of a problem for me with film, far more secure than my current collection of files is ever going to be. Lenses seemed to work perfectly well with their respective cameras - a personal fanfare for Nikon and Hass here - and I canīt remember pained discussions about CA either. In fact, I canīt much remember pained discussions about anything other than clients, to tell you the truth. We bought what we could afford and just got on with it as well as we could. Some of us were very good at some things, others fairly good at most things and others just sucked at everything but still managed to find clients.

If there was one really bad thing it was the advertising agency trick with payment: I donīt know how common this was outwith Scotland, but the agencies I worked with had this useful clause in their terms of contract, the one where they told you they would pay you three months after the date of invoice. It was so nice to think you were keeping those fat cats in their city-centre offices, subsidising their lobster lunches and probably their Martinis too. No, there was another bad thing: Friday afternoons you could catch the īphone call where one of them would order something for first thing Monday morning. Another bloody weekend effed, and you knowing The Man wouldnīt give you a thought as he passed the time away on his boat. He probably didnīt need the damn shots Monday morning anyway.

But that wasnīt really photography, it was advertising people and their power.

Much has been written on this site about todayīs commercial ethos and how so many people go on a shoot to do the simplest things. My work was seldom like that - a location shoot for half a day, or a day, was far more a matter of myself, a model, a bunch of clothes in the car and nothing else. The models knew how to do their faces, the clients respected my vision and we just did it, like Nike tells us to. Bigger shoots, mainly abroad, were a little more complex, in that when the budgets grew and I could afford it, I asked my wife to come along and assist with the clothes, the models and, importantly, to pour oil on potentially troubled waters.

In latter days, some clients started to tag along and that never did much for the work; it was my experience that the moment another mind began to interfere with the tight photographer/model rapport thing, standards would fall dramatically. That being the case, I can only conclude that I was lucky to have worked when I did, for I was clearly never going to be a corporation man. Guess we all have our era.

Somebody mentioned 60s clothes being thought cool. I was a photographer then and that was indeed pretty cool; had you a mind to, it would unbutton all manner of things. The clothes were something else too: the male peacock was in full swing in those days and I was no different with my Cecil Gee leather coat, purple cords, tight polo-necks, flowing silk scarves, Ravel boots and so on. Then it felt perfect; today youīd think yourself gay. But thatīs life, as they say, and you mustnīt let any of it slip away, not ever delay doing today what you might do tomorrow because tomorrow might never come for you.

Would I do it again? I suppose, being who I am, there wouldnīt be any other choice, regardless of the experience/life-lessons gained over all those years.

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 17, 2008, 03:22:06 PM by Rob C » Logged

dalethorn
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2008, 08:23:20 AM »
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Actually, if you just look-see what Bryan Ferry is wearing today, you dress like that and you can get the girls now.  Never mind what he's after.  As far as clients on a shoot go, I let them say a little, then I start with tech talk and that calms them down.  Tell the model he's paying the bill, she starts focusing on him, perfect!  Need a different mood?  Tell her he's making secret trips to Burma for God-knows-what, but shhhhh... don't say anything - he's paying the tab.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2008, 09:02:30 AM »
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Quote
If I read this forum correctly, most of the people who shoot film today scan the film and print digitally.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=215599\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Yep, I just sold my B&W enlarger on Yahoo Auction 2 days ago... 1/10th of the price I had bought it for 7 years ago... mostly to free up storage space in my small appartement.

I still have the Imacon large format scanner, and do not intend to sell it at this point of time.

So yes, film is still an option, but through the eyes of the scanner indeed.

On the OP comment, I am sure that many things were better before, but aren't some things better now?

Cheers,
Bernard
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jecxz
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2008, 10:04:34 AM »
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If I read this forum correctly, most of the people who shoot film today scan the film and print digitally. This is so taken for granted that when the flurry of postings comparing analog (film) to digital took place, nobody to my knowledge suggested comparing a 100 pct. analog print to a 100 pct. digital print. Nobody.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=215599\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yes, film to scanner to print.

For me "remembering" isn't an issue, I'm just coming off film! December I went digital with over 300 rolls (220) of exposed film in boxes (that I had just shot and have not gone through yet) and I'm still scanning today.

Chemicals? OMG - I'm using some chemical called Lumina to wet scan the film. Tastes terrible too.

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I guess Iīm as old as anyone can be...
How old are you?
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dalethorn
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2008, 11:19:44 AM »
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On scanning - yes, I scan everything I can get my paws on, but to be more specific, if we were comparing the final output of a digital -vs- analog process, it isn't a fair comparison when scanning the film (I'm thinking B&W), since film enlargers can do wonderful grain masking that digital doesn't duplicate exactly.
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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2008, 03:20:50 PM »
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Quote
Quote
I guess Iīm as old as anyone can be...
How old are you?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=215653\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]



That depends entirely on the way I feel when I wake up. Mainly, I feel 39 and holding, pretty well like Jerry Lee Lewis describes it, but without the lust - Iīm married and donīt want to lose her too, along with the hair, so some circumspection is required of me. None of this will make sense unless you know the song.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2008, 03:37:21 PM »
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Scanning film was not on the cards for me at the time when I would have most enjoyed it, the years during which I still owned my īblad sytem. Iīve said this elsewhere, I think, but I would love to be in a position to work in 6x6 again and scan those transparencies. Unfortunately, that will not happen because it is all too expensive to set up again and, worse, my subjects are also out of sight without a client paying the fees. Not to mention the fact that my nearest pro lab - 60k away - no longer does E6...

I donīt think Iīd use b/w materials anymore either; I have had so much luck scanning old Kodachromes and even some Ektachrome (both for people shots) and Velvia has also scanned well, all those colour originals ending up as black/white prints.

In fact, the only colour stuff that I have printed digitally, that I can remember, has been from my D200, which says something, but Iīm not sure exactly what that is. I must admit, too, that I have had some really pleasing results doing b/w from that little D200 - I use manual Nikkors only, a 24mm, 50mm and 135mm. Thatīs one of the nice things about the D200 - you can use those beautiful manual lenses perfectly well. But 6x6 would still have been nice!

Rob C
« Last Edit: August 18, 2008, 04:47:53 AM by Rob C » Logged

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