Film revival?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by JDMvW, Jan 27, 2018.

  1. No. I think we mean different things by "teaching." Teaching someone doesn't ensure success. Teaching is providing a roadmap, a foundation. I can teach portraiture by talking about the differences, for example, between Karsh's portraits and Avedon's portraits, by alerting people to what a difference various kinds of backgrounds make, by suggesting that gestures as well as expressions can add to a portrait. By talking about how to relax a subject or even by verbally questioning whether a subject's being relaxed is necessary or whether tension and uptightness can be used to get a good portrait. That's not going to make the student an excellent portrait photographer. What it's going to do is teach him or her about making portraits.
  2. And just to be as obvious and clear as I can be. I don't think one can be taught to be an Avedon or a Karsh. One is going to have to have some innate talent and ability to get to a certain level. But there is plenty about photography and portraiture to teach beyond what a pixel is and beyond the scientific intricacies of resolution and lens manufacture.
  3. Are there mechanics in teaching or discussing aesthetics when making a photo that can be discussed online?

    How would those words go that would be different from teaching/discussing gear and how to use it?
  4. Elite schools, Eton & Harrow, Harvard & Yale, for example, might disagree (ow they might have to drop their fees) :)
  5. Just as one can’t be taught to be a Gauss, Newton or Euler, one can still be taught basic maths
  6. And vice versa. The mathematics (science) of a subject is as meaningful & beautiful as the subject itself.
  7. Yes, I would say these can be part of a good portrait. I say relaxed in the sense that a certain number of adults tend to put on their "camera face" and have a hard time letting it go. It's as though they are on-guard all the time because they are afraid you may press the trigger when they're not ready. When they finally let that guard down, or perhaps just forget about it, I would say they have "relaxed," although its not strictly true.

    Perhaps this is the issue. In post 134 I said, "But I can't teach people how, in text, to work with a subject, make some sort of connection, and get good expressions."

    Now, if I set out to "teach" someone how to "take portraits" and they failed (whatever this means), then I would judge that I have not successfully taught them.

    Now the question of what it means for them to fail, well it depends on what you are trying to teach. In a certain sort of chain studio operation, I'd say my goal is to teach someone how to handle all comers, and keep up with the appointment schedule. So maybe they have to be able to do 2 or 3 sittings per hour, perhaps a dozen shots per sitting, and the customer has to leave happy. And if the studio can't keep this up on a regular basis, then they can't stay in business. So if that is the goal, and the candidate can't finish sittings on time (after some reasonable training period), then I would say they have failed, and thus I have failed to teach them adequately.

    Now someone else may have a different definition of what it means to be a successful portrait photographer, but to me it means being able to make a living at it.
  8. This helps make my point. Thanks Norman. All I’m saying is that one can teach some aesthetics.
    There’s a certain level, though perhaps a bit ideal and abstract, on which I agree with you. And it’s a nice way to look at it. But if you want to claim most PN discussions of gear or technicalities to be meaningful and beautiful relative to actual photography, I’ll part ways with you there.
    If I were confident in my teaching, I’d judge that I did the best I could and they just didn’t have what it takes to succeed at it.

    Judging by your description, I’d say we’re also talking about two different things. You describe teaching them how to run a portrait business, which has very little overlap with how to make a good portrait. If I were teaching the aesthetics of making portraits, which I thought is what we were discussing, I wouldn’t be talking about scheduling or the customer leaving happy. I’d talk about being aware during breaks about perhaps getting some of your best uncanned moments, having someone close their eyes and look down and catching them as they look up and open their eyes, about the different feel and degree of flattery involved in shooting down at someone vs. up at them, and about how effective rim lighting can be to add drama.

    Let’s not forget. Plenty of students fail even the best teacher’s class. Unless we live in some Pollyanna school district where everyone is given an A, great teachers will always have a range of students, from exceptional to failures.
  9. Fred, this is a gear & science site for photographers, there isn’t a well recognised artist among us. And the science, and discussions thereof, are as beautiful as the images and will prevail whereas the images won’t.
  10. It does seem that way sometimes.
    That’s ok. I like my artists and photographers unrecognized. They sometimes do more interesting things than the recognized ones.
    Prevailing is overrated. I’m in it for the here and now.
  11. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Hmm... I REALLY hated
    geometry and advanced
  12. It's hilarious that Millennials think that film is complicated ancient technology. I thought it was a lot easier to understand than the menus of endless useless features on digital cameras.
  13. This sounds like mythology. I know several Millennials who are either into photography seriously on their own or studying it in school and they each respect and understand film, whether they primarily use digital gear, film gear, or both. I don't find Millennials as stupid or shallow as most old geezers like to tell themselves they are.
  14. I develop my 6x7 MF film. ( B&W) After it dries, I make contact prints in my darkroom. Then I view the contact print and make prints anywhere from 5" x 7" up to 16" x 20". I own a FF Digital camera and I use it for a lot of things, and it blows me away. It just isn't how I create. As an artist, I need to slow down, think about the subject matter, the final image etc. I have 40+ years working with film and maybe 5 using digital. I know I could learn to create with my digital gear. I just don't have the desire at this time. I also like not having to worry that it could vanish into who knows were. I don't need to shoot thousands of images a year. I like knowing that when I'm gone, my family will know were my important work is. Not that I expect it to be worth much! :)

    My late Father spent hours, and hours scanning all of his work during his last few years on earth. Sadly, I'm the only one who knows how to open the files. His main computer crashed before I could move a lot of his work taking over half of his work with it!
  15. Tools don’t control artists. Artists control tools.
  16. That's what I was trying to say. I know I can create just as well with my digital camera, if that's what I chose to do. At this time, I use digital a lot, but not in the same way as my B&W film work.

    I thought this was supposed to be about the revival of film?
  17. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Hmm... Man, the tool-losing
  18. I suppose, but threads go off in all sorts of directions. For instance, in this one, 5 people have now liked the silly pot shot taken at millennials. But I guess, what can you expect when a bunch of cranky old men get together? By the way, I hear negatives have been known to burn up in fires, wash away in floods, and get lost in moves across country. Ahh, the good ol’ days when we didn’t have to worry about hard drives and other body parts failing. Long gone, but we pine away for our relevance . . .
  19. And car keys, don’t forget car keys. Where did I put them this time? :)
  20. I'm technically considered a millenial, although I'm on the early end of the spectrum(for a while I thought I was part of "Generation Y" but apparently that's not even a thing).

    In any case, when I first a serious interest in photography in high school and decided I wanted an SLR, I had 3 options:

    1. The first crop of sub-$1K DSLRs like the Nikon D70 and the early Digital Rebels were just coming to the market

    2. Low end modern SLRs with kit zooms were readily available from Wal-Mart and other big box stores for $200-300

    3. It was possible to get started with a great manual focus outfit for $100-200

    I had a digital P&S but recognized its shortcomings early on, and knew that if I wanted to get serious in digital that I'd only be happy with an SLR. $1K was unfathomable to me.

    The new film SLRs I played with seemed cheap and cheesy, plus at that point I'd read enough to understand the importance of maximum aperture and other considerations like the quality of cheap zoom lenses(then).

    So, I got on Ebay and bought a Canon A-1 outfit for around $150. In those days, I could take a lot of photos with $7 per 5 pack Fuji Superia and $3 a roll send off processing(with 3x5 prints) at Wal-Mart. That also fit in my budget since it was a few bucks a week and not $1K in a lump sum. As money allowed, I moved to better glass, better bodies, transparency film for a lot of color work, and my own B&W processing. I also bought a Rolleicord, then a Rolleiflex shortly after and made my jump into medium format(I bought 60 rolls of outdated 120 Provia, and made pretty short work of them).

    In any case, as a "millenial" film is second nature to me. My childhood was recorded on it, and it's where I went when I got serious about things. After college and then graduate school got in the way and I took somewhat of a hiatus from photography, DSLRs became a lot more affordable. Somewhere along the way I picked up a digital Rebel and used it. I also made a few purchases along the way-I bought a Bronica SQ-A outfit when I got my first "real" job, although I never really fell in love with it. About a year ago when I recommitted more seriously I made a system switch(as well as dug deeper into medium format and got into large format) mostly for better legacy compatibility across manual focus, autofocus film, and digital. I now shoot a lot of digital, but it's rare that I don't have a film camera handy.

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