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Archive through July 25, 2002

Sepulchritude Forum » The Absinthe Forum Archive thru January 2003 » The Monkey Hole » The rain » Archive through July 25, 2002 « Previous Next »

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Pikkle
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 11:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

It's just that someday (and I think we're pretty close) we're going to have the kind of archival mediums that you can basically kick around, throw into the fireplace, deep freeze, drop in the toilet and still be able to recall all the information intact. I don't think film will die out by any means just as painting hasn't died out but it will not be the great conveyer of art and information it once was... it will always have a place in the world and rightly so.
Anatomist
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 10:25 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Actually, good prints will outlast negatives. Paper is the most archival medium of all. There are intact writings on paper pulled out of ancient Egyptian tombs. If you want archeologists from a race of future cockroach beings or space aliens to read or look at your stuff, put it on paper.

K.
Pikkle
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 9:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

But Chonger, please bear in mind that celluloid, if not very carefully stored will not last over the great number of years you'd expect it to. Yes, the storage mediums for computers are changing with the seasons but you can also transfer from one type to another with very little effort and lose nothing in the transfer (unless you're completely incompetant.) My personal experience with actual film... I had reels and reels of 8mm I'd inherited from my father of himself as a child with his family. Fascinating stuff really. Well, unfortunately through a couple of moves and some misplacement all the reels became moldy, brittle and ultimately useless... Digital storage to me is a godsend.
Nolamour
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:57 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Absolutely,

I remember going to Art School in the late 80's and finding out the costs of the photography class. Holy crap - A starving artist would have to just keep starving...I had to hold off on the class while bussing a table or two just to afford the camera, fluids, canisters, film, and so on...

Or maybe the money was better spent on the bar tab of countless beers.
Bob_Chong
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

As for the archival aspects, the one that hits me most immediately is the conversion tasks of digital. My father in law is a video hound. Before that, it was film movies. He converted all his movies to VHS. And now he's gone to digital video. And now he's waiting for DVD burners to come down in price to convert everything once again. That's cool if you're 66 and retired and enjoy that sort of thing. But for me, it's a big enough task getting my negatives cut and put into acid-free sleeves. I can't imagine having to convert them to anything just to look at them again in five years.

But if I were doing this stuff to make money, I would certainly go digital. I know exactly what you're saying, Nola. No fuss, no muss. But I'm just a guy who likes to burn film. An expensive hobby, to say the least.
Bob_Chong
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

K:

You've hit the nail on the head: it's all about the darkroom for B&W. Labs are good for developing the negatives and making proofs, and that's about it. For color, my local lab is surprisingly good--which works for me, because I don't know anything about the color darkroom.

The best use I've found for the Holga is for dead objects: statues, rock formations, buildings, rail yards, etc. The fat 6x6 negatives allow for some good cropping and so forth in the darkroom. I stay away from the gimmicky shit that people use toy cameras for (I know exactly what you're talking about, and that stuff doesn't interest me in the least). I'm looking for relatively sharp pictures, not some vignetted, soft, murky crap that some people think passes off as arty. The modified Holga I have vignettes only very, very slightly, and even so, the customized film mask in the camera is a bit bigger than the usual 56x56...which means that any vignetting is naturally cropped by the negative holder when printing.

Another use for the Holga is to load it with 35mm film for a bastardized panorama camera. You can get 24x60 shots instead of the usual 24x35.

If I am going somewhere and want a big negative to play around with later, and safety or weight is a concern, then the Holga serves nicely. If I lost it or if it were stolen, I would be bummed about the lost exposures but who gives a shit about a $30 camera.
Anatomist
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:27 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

From an artistic standpoint, picture resolution is merely an optional variable. Since my reasons for photography have nothing to do with archiving, history, or grandchildren, that's not much of an issue for me. I enjoy hi-res prints, but I found from my experience that I am not well-travelled or socially connected enough to have enough subject matter available for that gig to occupy me much. I began to get sick of viewing everything I came across as the possible content of a photograph, and spending so much time assessing available gear and readiness. At first, the photog-consciousness was refreshing, but then it became oppressive. It's somewhat antithetical to the hole-up-in-the-steel-sculpture-cauldron part of my lifestyle, and just a strange philosophical/attitude conundrum: am I experiencing this, or am I an observer and recorder? I guess I decided to lay down the little eternity machine and just enjoy burning it up like everyone else.

K.
Nolamour
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sir Chong,

You have a great argument for print production. I agree that it's an archival medium. I would only use my Canon 35mm 400z for hardcopy prints. Although, my Olympus Digital is optimal for online use. Amazingly clear and crisp stills. It's all I use for customer sites and it's much quicker than developing the pics and scanning them in, etc.
Anatomist
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:13 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Supposedly, the famed DIANA cameras are even better. I think they have a few more adjustments, and they're easier to fuck with. Art students take them and damage the lens in interesting ways, or just work with the flaws in the lens as is. It's basically a cheap piece of plastic crap. I thought about getting one, but after looking into it a bit more, it seemed like kind of a one-trick-pony, gimmicky sort of thing. It would have been exciting to be one of the people who first started doing it, but now it seems like it's kind of over. Although, one original twist I saw was someone who mounted the front end of a Diana onto their large format camera.

Part of the problem is that I never got commited enough to build my own darkroom. You can't really get into photo art when you're letting some technician drone who you can barely even communicate with do a large portion of the process. I think I'd have to build one to get serious about monkeying around with toy cameras or any kind of photography. Now that digital and photoshop are an option, it's difficult to see how it would be worth the trouble. You'd have to be really turned on sensually by the peculiarities of real film prints to make it worth it.

K.
Bob_Chong
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:05 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

And to add my $.02 to the digital vs. film debate: I will never go digital. Film is an archival medium. For me, that is the deal-breaker as to why I won't go digital. And since digital has yet to even approach medium format in quality, regardless of price, it is a no-brainer.

But even if the quality were there, I wouldn't want to convert all my digital files every time a new storage medium comes along. In the last five years alone, we've seen floppy>Zip>CD>DVD. What's next? Fuck that. I like to think that my grandkids will someday be able to grab my old negatives and pull a print off them if they wish. Film will never die.
Pikkle
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I seriously have no problems with the Nikon actually. I'm such an infrequent shooter anymore that I probably wouldn't even tinker with anything else right now... Depending on the shift and what's running where, I'll sneak the camera in under the pretense of some quality issue and in between shooting horrible close up photos of bad edge trim on coils or numerous other steel making defects that absolutely have to be catalogued, I'll walk around the mill pretending to shoot pics of equipment for engineering upgrades... well, it's supposed to look like that anyway. And my goodness, do the managers think I'm such a helpful guy using my own equipment and all...
Bob_Chong
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 8:01 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pata:

You said Fuji has nice greens. In some ways, I agree, but I've also noticed that this can be an illusion of sorts, especially with a P&S camera. I think a P&S can often underexpose greens outdoors, particularly in semi-shade. The dark greens look cool at first glance, but some of my pics are actually underexposed and there is a loss of shadow detail. I've found that the faster Fuji films don't have this problem with my P&S and give a much truer green. Maybe I've grown weary of the blackish-greens of poorly exposed Fuji print film. But I do admit that it has a certain quality that appeals to some.
Bob_Chong
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 7:53 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

K:

I know what you mean about the C41 B&W films. When I first used XP2, I was amazed at the smooth, creamy tonality. Very flattering for people pics, and it sort of made familiar interior spaces feel more "alive." It's hard to explain.


Pikkle:

If you want to try something cheap and different, may I suggest you pick up a Holga toy camera? It takes 120 film. You can get a "modified" one for $30 from www.holgamods.com. Despite the Holga naysayers, I have gotten some pictures from my Holga that are nothing short of stunning, believe it or not. I think it would be the perfect camera for the kinds of stuff you're doing. It has two f-stops and one shutter speed. XP2 is a perfect film for this camera. Especially expired XP2 available on eBay for a buck per roll.
Pikkle
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 7:47 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My god, I've created a monster...
Anatomist
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 7:11 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think that XP-2 is almost the same, but most people I ever talked to about it like the Kodak version better. I don't remember why. I think the Ilford version might be contrastier. It just has a look that's addictive. It seems to have finer grain than any B&W film I've used except the Ilford 50 speed - I used that stuff for all my anatomy lab still-lifes. Great film: I could get very nice 11x14s from those negatives.

K.
Pikkle
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 5:37 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sometimes there is a sick kind of satisfaction to doing what I do... it's kind of like golf. You play and play, it just never seems to get any better but you always come back... why? It's always that one perfect shot... if all else fails you made that one shot that makes all other shot pale by comparison and that's what makes it all worth it. How do I know? I went golfing today, shot terribly, threw my clubs, jumped up and down and swore this was it, I'm done, I'll never golf again and then, I made that one perfect shot... and all the world was beautiful again!
Bob_Chong
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 3:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Misery can be relative. Would I trade my situation for one that was less cognitively challenging but also let me leave it when I punched out? I think both situtaions have their plusses. Doing what you're passionate about can start to blow if you end up doing it for 70 hours a week. Sometimes I think it might be nice to be a fucking paycheck collector and just do some shit for 37.5 hrs/wk and fuhgettaboudit after hours.

It's a trade off.

But in regards to film, I will have to try the Kodak you mentioned, K. I've liked the Ilford XP-2 (also a C41 B&W). I guess Kodak makes some good products, even though they have their heads up their asses.

Pikkle: 800 film has come a long way lately. Some is very fine grained. You would not believe it if you haven't tried it in a while.
Traineraz
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 2:50 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

pata -

The lower pay is assumed, as in every creative field; however, how much money is daily misery and potential disfigurement worth?
Pataphysician
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 2:04 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

"Having read your prose, I must wonder . . . how it is you ended up working in Hell? Surely there must be jobs available which would make better use of your talents!"

At 1/2 the wages and 1/3 of the job security.
Nolamour
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 1:51 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Anatomist,

Point well taken. I once worked for 3 different financial firms...lost most of my hair and drank more than the average enthusiast due to fear of the future. (Mental HELL)
I took the chance of getting out of the financial world and started my own Design company...something I always wanted to do, though, it wasn't easy. Today, I don't make as much financially (yet) but, I couldn't be more comfortable mentally. I like your statement: "a more tolerable present"

One day at a time, I guess...as the 12 steppers would say.
Anatomist
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 1:34 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Trainer,

It raised that question with me too. Although mine was more like 'why continue to work in hell? why not set yourself free?' Unless there are kids or a poor, sick relative in the mix, I don't really get it. Since I'm healthy, and have no dependents other than a dog, I've always been willing to risk a potentially shitty future for a more tolerable present, and found ways to get by on less money when necessary. I see so many people enduring long hours of tedious, painful labor now, for the sake of financial security later. So: shitty, alienated life now with high probability of a comfortable, mediocre future vs. going for what I want now with an uncertain future. Seems like an easy choice to me. Of course, shit can happen, like: father gets cancer, move to Floridian hell, do not pass GO.

K.
Traineraz
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 1:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Pikklepuss -

Having read your prose, I must wonder . . . how it is you ended up working in Hell? Surely there must be jobs available which would make better use of your talents!
Anatomist
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 1:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I enjoy taking pictures of bands I like playing in clubs... or at least I did when I lived where I could go to such places. Not high art, but I like it, and have even gotten paid a little once or twice. Shots like the ones on this page cannot be had without large concessions to speed: http://personal.atl.bellsouth.net/jax/a/n/anatomis/annapage.htm

Those were taken at 3200 or 1600 ASA, with the lenses mostly wide open, and at the slowest shutter speeds I can reliably hand hold. I wouldn't be able to get them with slower film or a digital camera. Metering is also tough - my solution is a Pentax digital spot meter which I aim at the faces and compensate using the Zone method.

K.
Anatomist
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 12:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I sold off all my rangefinder stuff and most of my Nikon outfit, under the assumption I'll eventually go digital. I don't want to build my own darkroom. Relying on the photo places is excruciating. I'm holding out for a little more resolution and a little more light sensitivity - and a little lower price.

K.
Nolamour
Posted on Thursday, July 25, 2002 - 12:09 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I made an investment in a high end Olympus Digital for my business and it has been awesome for all aspects. 3.4 mgpxl is the lowest setting. It even takes 4 minute videos. The only downfall is the batteries, they go pretty quick. I now use rechargable and it has worked fine. Oh, it only came with a 16mg card, but I upgraded and now I can snap about 100 pix per session. Good investment.

2 cents...

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