Need to build a 4x5 to save my marriage

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by pavelp, Jun 26, 2004.

  1. Well here's the situation: I've disagreed with my wife again and I
    made the mistake to stand my ground (for too long). She's got pretty
    upset (so did I) and she said that my little world is upside down,
    seriously distorted and that I'm never able to see the whole picture.
    She encouraged me to disappear from the field of her view for a while
    and spend the away time thinking about my (desperately needed)
    personal growth.

    So here I'm, thinking about that growth and reading the old stash of
    Shutterbugs to make time pass faster. Suddenly, on page 34 (and then
    continued on page 156) is an answer to all my problems: I need a view
    camera! It shows the image upside down (so my upside down world will
    be right side up), the distortions can be fixed by proper movements
    and I will be able to see the _whole picture_ on the groundglass!

    Of course, a purchase of yet another piece of photographic equipment
    under current climate would be equivalent to suicide (make it very
    long an incredibly painful suicide). Sneaky approach is needed, so I
    decided not to buy a camera but slowly build one.

    I am a public danger when working with powertools, so I guess the
    safest approach would be to build a camera from a kit. Bringing that
    distorted perspective topic up again, I'd like to have as many
    movements as possible, so a monorail would be preferred. I know about
    Bender and Aletta kits, but that's it. Are there any other 4x5 or 5x7
    kits that can be purchased?

    Please help to save my marriage!
  2. "Please help to save my marriage!"

    Show your wife this thread - if this does not help - building a camera will not help either :p
  3. Unfortunately, I cannot give you good advices about how to build a view camera, but I suggest you to go on with creative writing because you are very very able in this and I'll be happy to show your letter to friends.
  4. From a definetely distorted perspective, so you should enjoy this approach, buy a 4x5 or 5x7 wooden view camera with all the swings, tilts, shifts you would require, take it to your work and take it apart. Place the wood pieces in one box and shake gently. Place all the hardware in a second box and mix well. You now have your kit. Take the boxes home and start rebuilding your camera/marriage. I know you said you did not want to buy a camera, but most kits end up with shakey cameras, and I think you are already on less than solid ground.

  5. You need to be sneakier, go to your shop, alone place, whatever...make a lot of noise, hammering, etc, etc...order a new camera and after a couple of months come out with these beautiful piece of equipment. If your wife tells you to make her a piece of furniture (knowning full well you cannot hit a nail without causing extreme bodily harm) tell her the camera was from a kit, that you will be glad to build her something if she will provide you with the kit...:)
  6. It seems from other photographers who have posted to photonet over the years in regards to the effect of photography (specifically) on their marriage, and also from my own independent observations, I have come to the following conclusion (which may likely not apply to you but I want to say it anyway 'cause I'm a chauvanist):

    A domineering wife and a weak-willed husband who remains passionate about his photography is a combination fated for disaster.
  7. I think you should seek out Drs. Phil and Laura for a joint session. Even if you find a good kit, and good ones are not THAT cheap, you'll still need a lens, holders, a substantial tripod, and other accessories, plus the added expense of shooting and processing 4x5.
  8. I can't offer any advice.

    My wife is quite accepting of my LF obsession. Guess that leavs only Dr. Laura.
  9. What about restoring an old one? Buy a couple of junkers from KEH or ebay and cludge them together into franken-camera.
  10. Get a 4x5 Crown Graphic with original lens and some film holders for under $300 USD, shoot away and have fun! Take the odd incredible photo of something your wife likes and that goes a long way too!
  11. It's hopeless you know. By your own description, you're doomed from the start. My suggestion is to cut your losses and just take the wife on a nice vacation - preferably one where you can lay on a beach under a palm tree and have gentlemen in white dinner jackets bring you drinks with little paper umbrellas...
  12. sounds like the last thing this marrige needs is a view camera... be it from a kit or not.<p>
    i'd suggest waiting for a day when you're on her good side, then bring the subject up... be sure to wear a helmet and have your running shoes on.
  13. jem


    The sell kits to build viex cameras in all sorts of sizes.
  14. I once got some advice from a co-worker during a break. He was speaking not just to me, but to all the guys milling around there at that moment.

    He said that every day when you wake up, the first thing you do is turn to her and say, "I'm sorry."

    Every day. Just that. First thing.

    This next wasn't part of his advice, but the other thing you can do when you have a disagreement is ask yourself, "Is this important?" If it's not important, why pursue it. Doesn't matter if you're right. Same goes for her. Just drop it and maintain some harmony.

    Well that takes care of that.

    Ah, but the question of a view camera! *This* is *important*!

    If I were you, I'd get the cheapest most-used 4x5 I could find. Garage sale stuff. Just short of a parts camera. Still works and doesn't leak light. If it's got a nice scratched lens with an erratic shutter, so much the better.

    My first 4x5 camera was an ancient Speed Graphic. I found a couple of cheap lenses, slapped 'em on there, and went to town. I made negatives with that thing that I still love to print -- they'll always be in my portfolio.

    One of these will serve you better than any kit camera. Someone once gave me a Bender kit camera already assembled. He'd gotten it at a garage sale, and it looked unused. I never used it. I put a nice finish on it and sold it. I'm convinced that the kit cameras (the ones I know of) on the market really fall too far short of what a view camera should do and behave like. Most "beater" cameras are far superior even in their decrepitude and provide at least the minimum allowable performance if they'll serve the purpose at all. The controls tighten down somewhat, and they don't leak light.

    From that Speed Graphic I learned a few things about how to get a shot using front rise, and because it had no front tilt, why that's important. And how to make do without it.

    I've always gotten used equipment because I simply couldn't afford a Deardorff, especially when I had a kid to support. (She's grown up now.) So I bought clunkers and fixed them up. It became a very enjoyable habit, and I've since learned just about everything I need to know about how view cameras work and why they work that way. Comes in handy.

    If you're gonna build one, build it from parts of several other cameras. I've done that more than once, and it's proven to be a very workable strategy. And it's allowed me to put the dough I saved into lenses (all used). The best camera is worthless without a decent lens.

    But in the meantime, just get yourself an old beater that'll still take pictures. The uglier the better, because that'll keep the cost down. Then keep a keen eye out for good deals on film and paper. You'll be able to afford a lot more of that (once you've got the used lenses) if you're frugal and don't give in to the urge to just get the buzzers and bells, right now.

    Meanwhile, is your wife mechanically inclined? Artistic? If she's interested in photography, she's the one who should have the nice camera. And if you're a good boy, maybe she'll let you borrow it sometimes. Maybe....
  15. You could try the tried and true method of hiding something from her. That is, find a way to sneak out the cash, buy a nice new 4 x 5 rig, and simply do not ever let her know about it. This works every time. Oh um I should add that this works until you are caught.

    I have amassed quite an inventory of goodies this way over the years. And when I get caught, I have them to sleep with.

    Good luck with both the camera and the IWS. (Irritable Wife Syndrome)
  16. Wow! I understand now why I am still single. Many of you guys sound like you've become truly domesticated.

    Marriage sounds like incarceration. Better to be single and learn how to clean your own underwear and to put together a plate of pasta than to forgo the freedom to make a 4x5 purchase.

    Hint, wait 'til after you've seperated to get it, because otherwise, she'll have a personal conference with Judge Judy specifically to make sure she gets your Bender.
  17. Well, aside from having someone to clean your underwear etc, there IS a valid photographic reason to be married - especially if you're a large format photographer. How else can you have an assistant to help you lug 60 pounds of gear around on a day-long expedition and only have it cost you dinner out?
    OK, maybe it's not that simple...
  18. Your wife wants you out from under her feet, right. So go do a woodworking course at your local community college. Then go do a metalworking course. Then go to your garage and build your camera with confidence. Then when it's finished you can proudly take photographs of your wife - you've got nothing but landscapes in your folder!
  19. You can pretty well buy used LF cameras cheaper than you can buy the Bender kits to make them. So unless you just enjoy woodworking, skip that route. I'd say probably anyone could put the kits together, but getting a first-class end result is going to require some first-class workmanship in the assembly process.

    Andre, one lesson I've learned from being married, is that if you ever want to spend a gob of money that you can't afford on something stupid (IE, hobbies), do it while you're single. It's not just that wives nag, personal responsibility plays a part, too. If you're well-heeled, then it's a bit different.

    If you just want big negatives, build a pinhole camera, much cheaper and easier. If you just want to see things upside down, get an old astronomical telescope and use it.
  20. I avoided all this angst - I married an artist and photographer. Her equipment purchases far exceed mine, but she is the one who earns money from it :cool:
  21. Here's the solution:

    Get your wife one of these like this guy did.
  22. Pavel,<p>Yes, I bought my wife a piano, but if you read the entire post you'll see the reasons why have a deep history extending back decades. For a while my wife was also very peeved with me concerning photography. Consider this:<p>Do you think about photography all the time?<p>When the two of you go someplace, do you have to bring a camera along?<p>Is most of your spare time consumed by some photographic idea?<p>Do you find you have to take several pictures of even a relatively mundane subject, just to get the lighting and composition better?<p>If you answer "Yes" to these considerations, then I know where you're coming from!<p>I know where she is coming from too, and it's this - she wants more attention from you. For a while my wife felt that my camera was my mistress. If this is the underlying cause for your marital troubles, then believe me, having a view camera is going to be the last straw for your spouse.<p>My solution was to cool it with the photography! I still spend a lot of my spare time in photographic pursuits, but when my wife and I are together, I behave.<p>Be solicitous of her needs. Plan some togetherness time. Even consent to go into marital counselling, so you can spend several $100 / hour to have someone else listen about what a mean bastard you are.<p>The primary aim is to get across the message that you love and care about her - more than you care about photography. Eventually, as she again trusts you, she will ease up on photography.<p>Another point: if you've got to go and make some photographs, plan a day where you go out by yourself or with a male buddy. The worst thing as far as non-photographically interested spouses are concerned is to watch you fuss with your camera while they are standing around being bored and resentful!<p>I hope it all works out well for you.
  23. Well, looks I owe you guys an explanation and an apology. The story the preceeded my 4x5 question is a fiction (at least for the time being :) ). It is inspired by some real events from my and other lifes but believe me, I do not really think that upside down view of the world and distorted perspective can be straightened out by building a view camera.

    I'm in process of thinking about entering the LF (and my wife knows about it) and I wanted to ask a question about what 4x5 build-yourself kits are available. I figured out that questions like these are asked pretty often, so I wanted to make it little more entertaining. Well, I have a long history of bad ideas and I've just added another chapter.

    Anyway, thanks everybody for responses, it was really nice and educational reading (in many areas of life). I'm kinda leaning in the direction of getting older 4x5 first and leave the building project for later.

    One more thing I'd like to address: the reason why there are no portraits of family members in my portfolio is that they do not want to be posted on the INTERNET. But you should see how much is my family spending on frames and I'm the button pusher for most of the pictures that hang on our walls.

    Again, I'm sorry for the confusion and thanks again for the responses.
  24. Hey everybody, Pavel is not in the dog house because he is neglecting his wife over photography, but she thinks he needs to see the whole picture, get his priorities right, focus on what is important. In other words, he has his own opinion that does not coincide with hers. There are only two ways to do/see anything, her way or the wrong way. Pavel, I think you are correct in the notion that a view camera is necessary for your salvation. You should strive to become a view camera photographer that specializes in female nude photography. I doubt it will save your marriage, but when it falls apart things will not look so bad. And now is the time to do it. It is much more difficult to break into the field when your "model" asks you if your married and you say, "No", or, "We are in a trial separation". All the personal growth you are looking for in parapraph two of your post will be fulfilled. Besides, your wife may change her attitude when she sees what her bitchery has done. Just don't hold your breath, and hopefully she won't hold yours for you.

  25. Pavel, you're a ******* and a very entertaining writer.
  26. Hehehehe...

    If you're not practical as you said, then I think the best route would be to buy some used old camera. One can get pretty interesting stuff for quite reasonable prices. Beware of running costs though; the film and processing isn't so cheap.

Share This Page