Women using Large Format

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by sandy_sorlien, Apr 25, 2001.

  1. Howdy guys,
    I have only been reading this forum for three months and have just acquired my first view camera after a 20-year photography career with smaller formats. Are there any other women on this forum? The names all seem male, except the occasional Pat who is indeterminate. Arca-Swiss customer service just answered one of my posts by calling me Mister Sorlien, an odds-on bet, but wrong.
    Do you think LF is a male-dominated realm, and if so, why? It can't be only the weight of the equipment. Sally Mann uses an 8x10 and she is a small woman, so we can do it if we want to. I must say I feel extra vulnerable using my view camera. It attracts a lot of attention and some weirdos want to talk to me, using the camera as an excuse. If I am uncomfortable in the situation, I can't just walk away, I have to take time to pack everything up. Being under the dark cloth is an intimate viewing experience for making pictures, but I can't wait till my binocular viewer comes so I don't have to use the dark cloth. I imagine men feel a bit vulnerable under there, too; anyone could walk off with your other equipment in two seconds and you wouldn't even see them. (I think Virginia Beahan and Laura McPhee have the right idea, working as a team!) I am usually a very intrepid person, but this does concern me.
    Maybe the combination of large format plus computer savvy produces the large percentage of men on this site. I know men are supposed to be "tech-heads" but I am very interested in tech talk if it pertains to a problem I need to solve for imagemaking.
    I would be interested to hear from men or women about these issues. Cheers.
     
  2. I agree about the vulnerability-when-under-a-darkloth. A couple of
    years ago, when I was taking a picture of a building in the centre of
    Antwerp, someone stole my 5° Minolta meter attachment out of my case
    while I was under the darkcloth. On another occasion,some drunks
    stood several minutes in front of my camera,shouting and chanting,
    thinking it was a video camera!<p>
    Why so few women in the forum? Maybe because being a techhead is
    mostly a male thing :) Back in photo school,where the majority of my
    class was female, there wasn't anyone even remotely interested in
    using the view camera. Even a medium format camera was looked upon as
    a "studio only" camera...<p>
    Anyway, welcome aboard and happy shooting!
     
  3. Hi! I've noticed also that there aren't many women, both on this
    forum and out in the field. It might be a question of the size of the
    equipment, the techi-factor, or some other things. But I have also
    noticed that women don't enter into smaller format photography as much
    either. I belonged to a Nature photography club for a while and 80%
    were men. Some of the women came with significant others yet did not
    shoot anything themselves. Why? I can't say.

    <p>

    I just did a job in which I had to photograph portals and tunnel
    details inside two mile-long RR tunnels. I had to walk through each
    twice with 75 pounds of 5x7 gear, stopping to shoot as I went. It
    might be the weight that would keep women from doing this kind of
    work, but there are other ways, like hiring a caddy. It wiped me out
    and I am 195 pounds, in good shape, reasonably spry (44 years old),
    and have been doing this kind of shooting for 20 years. It sounds
    like you went the lighter large format route, using Arca-Swiss 6x9.
    Large format is a taxing, tiring way to go if you get off the beaten
    path or away from studio or car, but the rewards of large format for
    clients and oneself are worth it.

    <p>

    As for security, we all have that vulnerable period under the cloth.
    My ears make up for my sight as much as possible. I also hire someone
    to watch my back when I am in nasty areas, if budgets allow. And,
    like you say, you can't just hang the camera around your neck and walk
    away. But some of LF lack of maneuverability is a strength. Thieves
    can't grab and run, and for the most part they don't even recongnize
    what you are using and therefore wouldn't know where to sell it for
    quick money. I had a carry-on bag full of large format lenses with me
    once when I was flying to a job. It was worth $15,000 or more, in a
    large Lightware case. The flight attendant would not let me keep it
    with me even though I only had the one bag and it fit through the
    gauge outside the plane. So I told her she could stow it in a
    compartment up near her station but that I held her responsible. At
    the end of the flight she was harried and just told me it was my
    problem but that she had it sent down to the belly of the plane.

    <p>

    I had no claim ticket for it and it was being shuttled around with no
    route stickers. I waited at the conveyor where luggage was coming out
    for an hour and a half and had already filed a lost-bag claim when it
    finally, and completely alone, came up. When I checked it it had
    obviously been rifled and everything moved, but everything was there.
    Obviously the potential thief who held my bag back saw no value in it
    and left it alone. Little did the person understand the value!

    <p>

    I've had people ask if I am a surveyor. Some people know what the
    stuff is but I like to work solo and without too much chit-chat. I've
    been threatened and challenged, but nothing has come of it. Pairing
    with someone is ok if you work similarly and at the same rate. I'm
    sure the weirdo factor is the most troubling for a woman because you
    would seem more at risk, but the most victimized group is males in
    their 20s because, for the most part, they tend to think about
    security the least and put themselves in worse situations out of
    confidence. I should know. I got tumbled pretty badly at age 23 (not
    shooting but out for a fun evening with friends), and I was in even
    better shape, looked it, and thought I could hold my own.

    <p>

    Think security, go with someone when you can (even a non-photographer
    who understands the slow nature of it), carry as little as you can
    while making sure you can do what you need to, and use friendly
    psychology to avoid interaction with weirdos. No real solutions here
    but your post intrigued me. Welcome.
     
  4. Welcome Sandy! I think the subject of women in large format has been
    lightly touched on in forum in the recent past, but I can't find it.
    I have no idea why women seem to be scarce in large format. I don't
    run accross many large format photographers of either sex in my
    wanderings. I did run across a couple (male and female) in Durbar
    Square in Kathmandu in October that were working together with a 4X5.
    I tried to strike up a conversation, but they were German and spoke
    no English and me no German.

    <p>

    I think we all get a little spooked if there are a lot of people
    around when under the dark cloth. There is so much equipment to keep
    track of. I have learned to keep everything in my pack when not in
    use or in the apron on the tripod where I can see it when under the
    darkcloth. I also use a large capacity waist belt to keep things in.
    I almost always attract a crowd in my foreign travels and if I am in a
    town or city here in the US someone always stops to see what I'm,
    doing. Most folks just don't see large format cameras very often. I
    have never had a problem though.

    <p>

    My gilfriend is also a B&W photographer (medium format). We work as
    kind of a tag team on our travels. She prefers to photograph people
    up close and I prefer landscapes, buildings and people set in their
    environment. I almost always attract a crowd so she usually has her
    pick of interesting individuals.

    <p>

    By the way, she is just not interested in checking out the medium
    format page similar to this one. She has never shown any interest in
    using my large format gear either. Again, welcome
     
  5. Not many women into Large Format because they've got better sense.
     
  6. Sandy,
    Late last year I saw the first woman in the field with a view camera.
    It was in a place called Ken Lockwood Gorge in New Jersey. I was going
    to stop over and saw hello, but she was busily setting up a shot so I
    didn't want to bother her (like everyone does me). Later she was gone.
    Not many females lugging around all this gear. They may indeed have
    more sense :)
     
  7. Sandy, It is a great pity that there are not more women practicing the art of LF photography or indeed "photography!" I too used to feel a little vunerable under the dark cloth which is one reason I obtained a bellows focusing hood so that I'm now more aware of anyone around me. By the very nature of using LF, "funny looking" cameras, the slow deliberate act of picture making, attracts people who are curious as to what we are doing.
    May the light be with you,
    regards,
     
  8. You may notice from my other posts that I did use my superior common
    sense to buy a small view camera, the Arca 6x9 FC (you 8x10 snobs no
    doubt think this is really an MF camera, but in all functional
    respects it is LF --- full movements and all that). This was mainly to
    use rollfilm and a wider format (6x9), but the lighter weight is very
    appealing. I fit everything into a small Jansport backpack, the kind
    my students use for books! I can hike pretty far with it. It's my
    wooden tripod that's a pain to carry. Thanks for the belt suggestion,
    I'll get one for my meter etc. Maybe I should add a can of pepper
    spray.
     
  9. Well on this forum Jacque Stackson occasionally contributes. She's a
    lady prof. and so kinda busy but she's out there with her 8 X 10.

    <p>

    As you say, there's Sally Mann, and Lois Conner and Linda
    Connor, Paula Chamlee...andwho else ?

    <p>

    A previous post about grumpy l.f. users encountered in the field
    pointed out that running into other l.f.'ers of ANY gender is kinda
    infrequent occurence.
     
  10. Sandy, there are at least two women who contribute in this forum. One is Jaque Staskon (jaque@cybertrails.com) and
    the other is here in Switzerland: Christiane Roh (rohcris@vtx.ch). It's always nice to have other gender voices in the
    forum. Thanks for joining in!
     
  11. Sorry Jacque, I misspelled your name again!
     
  12. By the way, Christiane use a 6x9 Arca as well. To put it right between Sean's and my post, it should spell Jacque
    STASKON jacque@cybertrails.com
     
  13. This forum is for photographers and I don't think anything else
    matters. Most of the contributers of this forum are way ahead of me
    since I just made the move to LF and I'm a man, so the male, female
    thing is of no consequence. Dividing people into men and women and
    then applying generalizations to each group means nothing as this is a
    world of individuals.

    <p>

    You cannot generalize about anybody and I would ask you how you
    know that men are supposed to be "tech-heads"?. I don't really need
    an answer of course, so I saying to you throw out the why so many men,
    why so little women, size, ethnic backround or any other consideration
    except the one thing that binds us all together, our love of
    Photography.

    <p>

    I have insured my equipment and I mentally prepare myself for the
    loss of that equipment the moment I walk out the door. When I go
    somewhere to take pictures, I take a while gauge to the situation and
    believe me there have been times when there were photo-ops at a
    particular venue but also some danger which forced me to give up the
    shots rather than risk getting robbed or hurt. There might come a
    time when you might just have to walk away from your equipment.
     
  14. Welcome Sandy-As to your question about LF and women-maybe the
    question should be are there more women shooting in studio and
    controlled situations versus how many women shooting landscapes and
    outdoor shots? Might be interesting to take a poll to learn the
    number, ages, sex and experience of those using this forum.

    <p>

    Weight has been a factor for all of us, as is the bulk of the
    equipment and time required to set up a photograph, not to mention
    the expense. Yet, the results are what keep drawing us back. Each
    photo teaches me so much that I want to then apply to the next image
    I take-a nice compulsion if you ask me!!!

    <p>

    As for safety-please always be aware of your surroundings. I am
    certain you are savvy, bright and aware, but sometimes a reminder of
    what to remember is helpful (and I need to remember these things
    myself just as much as anyone else does). Being safe is just as
    necessary even if you are walking alone in the wilderness to get to a
    wonderful location-pay attention to the trail and your footing so you
    don't fall and injure yourself, make certain others know where you
    are headed and when you are supposed to return, be cautious in bad
    weather (especially lightening storms) and take the rudiments of
    first aid and water just in case. In urban situations many of the
    same precautions hold true. As for crowds and/or wierdos, I often
    fake shooting with another camera which allows them their moment of
    performance and soon they tire. The binocular viewers are a sound
    alternative to a dark cloth. Just keep your bags zipped and
    intertwine the straps or wrap them around a tripod leg or maybe use a
    bunge cord to slow anyone down who covets your equipment more than
    you. If you can take a companion along, all the better. For me,
    sometimes taking a moment to let someone look through the camera
    creates new friends and allies who look out for you afterwards. But
    most of all whether you are in a city or in a wilderness, if that
    little voice goes off and says something isn't right then pack up and
    come back the next day or the next time or sometimes never-tomorrow
    for me is always a better solution.

    <p>

    Regards,

    <p>

    John Bailey
     
  15. Sandy, all the LF men are on this forum discussing equipment and all
    the LF women are in the field taking pictures.
     
  16. And Mary Ellen Mark uses a Master Technika.
     
  17. And I thought all those women who asked about my camera were
    interested in PHOTOGRAPHY! You mean they were HITTING on me?!?
     
  18. I teach a Beginning Photo class in the Fine Arts department of a
    local university. I'm one of three instructors. The class sizes are
    usually 10 - 15. Almost always, there will be one, maybe two at the
    most, males in each of the three classes, the rest are females. Yet
    everywhere else, the ratio seems to be almost the reverse. I have no
    idea why that is. In the case of large format, I suspect the reason
    for relatively smaller female participation is the tech-oriented
    nature of it. Men sometimes seem more interested in the equipment,
    women in the photographs.
     
  19. Sandy, I'm 6'5" and 270 (not real soft) pounds and I carry myself
    in such a way as to let people I'm not an easy mark. And still I
    worry about who is coming up behind me when I'm under the
    darkcloth.
     
  20. In relation to Brian's comment, I see it too. I'm in a photography
    program at Ohio University and in both the fine art photography and
    photo illustration majors, women outnumber men by a good margin. In
    my current illustration class, there are about 30 people, and of
    those people, I am one of 3 males in the class. The ratio is a
    little closer to being even in the photojournalism sequence, but it
    still seems to be weighted on the female side. That being the way it
    is, it does make me question why it seems there are so many more male
    photographers out there working professionally than female
    photographers. Assuming this trend in photo education continues, it
    will be interesting to see what the field looks like in 20 years'
    time.
     
  21. Participants of this forum, besides being LF photographers:
    (a) are often heavy computer users,
    (b) are mostly nature/landscape photographers (if the poll is
    accurate),
    (c) like nut-and-bolts discussions (I wish there was more
    variety, btw who is going to contribute the next trip report ?).
    This is the intersection of several traditionally male-dominated
    categories, so the result is no surprise.
     
  22. Mustn't forget one of the little giants in contemporary LF
    photography. Marie Cosnidas with her ancient Linhof Technika and
    tripod, a Polaroid back, and all those little colored gel filters
    which she Scotch tapes in front of her one and only lens. Better
    pictures with this simple equipment than all but a handful of other
    great photographers. A class act, all the way!
     
  23. Welcome, Sandy.

    <p>

    I carry my ultralight 8x10" Gowland PocketView in a knapsack much like
    yours, designed for laptop computers with padded compartments, so it's
    not impossible to move up in format and stay fairly compact.

    <p>

    I've had one disturbing incident under the darkcloth in Finland (which
    otherwise seems as safe a country as there is on the planet) when I
    was photographing an old textile mill and was approached by an older
    gentleman in worker's coveralls, clearly drunk. He tapped me on the
    shoulder and started speaking anxiously in Finnish and waving his
    finger. I had no idea what he was talking about, but tried to express
    the fact that I hoped I wasn't doing anything that might be taken as
    disrespectful, but it seemed that we didn't have any language in
    common. This didn't stop him. As he went on he started pointing
    across the street, where there was another old mill, converted into a
    theater, and there was some sort of youth festival going on outside of
    it. He began miming the action of shooting a rifle--pchh! pchh!
    pchh!--perhaps indicating his displeasure with regard to the festival,
    or maybe recounting a hostile company response to some labor action
    long ago. I never did figure it out. Eventually I motioned to ask
    whether he wanted to look at the groundglass, which people often do,
    and he did, and made some motions with his finger, perhaps offering a
    compositional suggestion. And I said "Kiitos," my one word in
    Finnish, which means "Thank you," and shook his hand, and he went on
    his way.
     
  24. I find this male/female issue an interesting topic as recently I've
    wondered if there is a difference between the photographic "vision"
    of men vs. women. I gave my theory a little test by looking through
    the galleries on photo.net and I can't say that I see any
    differences. After some very light and unscientific research I agree
    with the above poster that in photography there are only individuals
    and that the gender issue is irrevelant.

    <p>

    For what it's worth, my photography school program is split more
    towards men - especailly in the more techincal courses (Zone System,
    Photog for post production, etc).
     
  25. Sandy,
    Being quite a feminist myself, I welcome you with red carpet and
    flowers. Maybe, if more women were playing around, these pages
    wouldn't be so full of techniques and "how-to".
    As about equipment and the weight issue, I found a good solution:
    humiliating myself. I've just started using a Kodak 2-D 5x7, similar
    and smaller than Berenice Abott's favorite 8x10. I just can't say the
    camera is heavy as hell! To make things easier I'm following Adams
    advice, who said that the more lenses you have the more are the
    chances you pick the wrong one. So, as the camera grows, the more
    objective one should be.
    By the way: I also have a 6x9 Arca, old model, and it works a lot for
    me. But I still feel more confortable taking a flat-bed 4x5 out for
    walking and trekking. The big negative deserves and provides some
    solemnity that translates better my feelings for nature. And I don't
    think that's a male question!
    Anyway, welcome again, and I hope you enjoy this "macho" way of
    shooting.

    <p>

    Cesar B.
     
  26. Welcome to the forum Sandy! I hope we don't bore you away
    again.<br>The rest of you guys, just watch your language from now on.
    OK?
     
  27. Hi SAndy,

    <p>

    Another female checking in. I'm not new to photography but I am
    fairly new to large format. I have both a 4x5 Speed Graphic and an
    8x10 ROC Empire State. I haven't used the 8x10 yet as I'm still
    collecting parts and pieces when the budget allows. I've only used
    the 4x5 for Polaroid work so far. I guess I hadn't thought about the
    saftey factor yet as I usually have a friend out with me and they are
    complaining about how "fiddlely" I am with the camera. I'm very slow
    with the setup and picture taking thus far. I suppose safety is
    something I should be concerned about but my major interest is
    portrait photography so I assume I most always will have someone with
    me. No one has tried to talk to me about my camera yet but I live in
    a very "artsy" neighborhood so folks on the street doing strange
    things is taken in stride. As far as the tech and gear part of LF I'm
    very into both. I'm also into DIY and plan to build an 8x10 camera
    this summer. My main reasons for LF are the big negative. I'm into
    alternative proceses and don't have room for a proper darkroom to
    enlarge negatives. Also, I find it fascinating to see images on the
    ground glass.
     
  28. Based on profiles in View Camera (I've got them all from the first
    issue; thanks Steve!), women seem to be represented in LF about as
    much as in any other profession/avocation. As to why they don't
    frequently post to a forum such as this, could they be reticent to
    speak without absolutely certainty that what they're saying is
    correct? That is a characteristic of many women I've worked with - -
    in a completely non-photographic career - - that frequently doesn't
    show up in men. One can see hip-shooting all the time here, at
    photo.net, and on other related forums. Also, posting does put one's
    words literally in front of the entire world. Young girls have been
    observed to refrain from speaking in class when agressive boys jump to
    answer all the questions. Could it just be continuation of an
    established behavior?
     
  29. Hi Sandy. There's at least one other here. I've been doing LF with a
    wisner field 4x5 for about one year now (medium format before that
    for several years), and am an almost daily reader of this forum. I've
    learned a lot from the (mostly) guys who post regularly--the knowledge
    base represented here is very impressive. I do landscapes, mostly in
    color negative, and make my own color prints. II don't have a
    well wrought theory about why there are so few women represented, but
    am glad to see I'm not the only one!
    Sharon
     
  30. HI SANDY -- I've noticed the same thing Brian Ellis mentions, i.e.,
    that women seem to hold their own, at the very least, in academic LF
    settings, including workshops (also in spreads in View Camera and
    such), but seem miserably under-represented on this website (and
    similar stuff, like ebay). I don't understand what computers have to
    do w/ it. I don't see the computer world as blue (as opp. to pink)
    collar, etc. Actually, most of what I do is either out in the desert
    (I live in New Mexico), where I rarely see anybody, male or female, or
    at home in my "studio".... On the strength issue, I have no advantage
    over anyone, male or female, so I first of all try to adhere to Brett
    Weston's great maxim, "If it's farther than 200 yards from the road,
    it isn't scenic" (or words to that effect). Seriously, though, and
    because it's hard to have an "assistant" with me very often, I have
    thought about using some kind of cart, like a good manual golf cart
    or, since the desert terrain is usually very soft and irregular, maybe
    one of those baby strollers you see people jogging with. You know
    what I mean? Like with the big bicycle-type wheels? Seems like you
    could adapt one of those to carry a fair amount of LF stuff....
    --jeff buckels (albuquerque)
     
  31. One more female LF photographer here. Well, my Arca-Swiss 4x5 arrived
    this week (my first LF) but I haven't had time to take a shot with it
    yet, so I guess I can't quite call myself a LF photographer yet. :)

    <p>

    I tend to lurk on a lot of discussion groups covering a gamut of
    topics. I rarely contribute because I don't mind researching to see
    if my question has already been answered and typically find that it
    already has. And given my experience level I'm not terribly
    comfortable offering advice.

    <p>

    I basically use the forums to learn what I need to know to solve the
    problem of the day and get out. I look forward to the day when I can
    offer photographic advice feeling I have a wide enough range of
    experience in the area to be confident in my decision. Until then
    I'll continue to lurk.

    <p>

    Sorry for the rambling -- I'm "lurking" as I wait for the dryer to
    finish so I can complete packing for my vacation to Romania
    tomorrow!!! The A-S is staying home, but the Canon system is going
    with me along with more film than I thought was humanly possible to
    transport.
     
  32. So far, not much attention has been given here to the historical
    dimension, but the case of the seminal Group f.64 is certainly
    relevant. Formed in the San Franciso Bay area in 1932, the original
    members were Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards, Sonya
    Noskowiak, Henry Swift, Willard Van Dyke, and Edward Weston; and when
    later that year the Group collectively exhibited their work at the de
    Young Museum in SF, they invited Preston Holder, Consuelo Kanaga,
    Alma Lavenson, and Brett Weston to join them. Thus two of the
    original seven, and four of the eleven exhibitors were women. The
    subject of women in Group f.64 has been discussed by Therese Thau
    Heyman in her exhibition catalogue Seeing Straight. The f.64
    Revolution in Photography (Oakland Museum 1992), pp. 28-29:

    <p>

    "The study of Group f.64 invites speculation about why so many women
    were empowered through their association with a male friendship group
    that might have ideologically subjugated women as darkroom assistants
    and mere receptors for male creativity.

    <p>

    "Very likely the question of how women were accepted in the group was
    colored by the changing circumstances of women after World War I,
    when the "New Woman" emerged out of the battle for the right to work
    and vote. As early as 1913, eager women writers explained admiringly
    that Anne Brigman and Laura Adams, a successful San Francisco
    portrait photographer, could be independent in photography, as this
    work was 'suitable' for women, needing no large capital outlay, no
    long schooling or learning beyond the usual education of women.
    Women's 'intuition' was cited as justifying their special talent for
    portraiture, particularly--it comes as no surprise--portraits of
    children."

    <p>

    Following brief sketches of Cunningham, Noskowiak, Kanaga, and
    Lavenson, she concludes:

    <p>

    "These remarkable women were acknowledged as peers by their Group
    f.64 male contemporaries. Only later did a silence come to surround
    their work--a silence created by exhibition curators, art dealers,
    and photographic historians in the 1950s. Although Lavenson and
    Cunningham continued to live and photograph in the Bay Area, they
    were not singled out for solo shows until their careers were
    validated by their remarkably long lives. As Cunningham noted, she
    and other women photographers in their fifties were invisible; only
    when she reached seventy did she become a celebrity."

    <p>

    Despite the long wait for recognition, these women (and their work)
    did, as we all know, become well known, especially Cunningham, and
    with them Dorothea Lange and others, some of whom have already been
    mentioned in this and earlier threads. Discussions of these gender
    occupational issues often get around to the presence or absence of
    pioneers who may serve as role models for those who follow, but
    whatever are the reasons for the current apparent dearth of female LF
    photographers (at least in this forum), a lack of illustrious
    forerunners is certainly not one of them. All the best, Nick.

    <p>

    P.S. Whenever the 8 x 10 goes out, my wife Marilyn and I work as a
    team and she enjoys all aspects of the shooting.
     
  33. Put your camera bag/gear under the tripod when you are "under the
    cloth." That way you can keep an eye on it. As for why there seem to
    be few women in LF, there seem to be few women in photography. I go
    shooting at least 2 or 3 days a week and when I am out and about it's
    my impression that out of all the photographers I see, 9 of 10 are
    men. Just my observation. I wrote a thread on Philosophy of
    Photography forum about the differences between men's and women's view
    in photography. I feel there is a subtle difference in viewpoint and
    how a subject is handled. And in the colors used along with the
    contrast of the image. I belong to PPofA which is a professional
    photographers organization, dealing with wedding and portraiture, and
    see a real difference there. I welcome all the women who are here with
    us. LF is a special way of seeing and hope you all stay with it. James
     
  34. Hi Sandy. Yet another woman LF photographer. I work in every format
    up to and including 11 x 14. The latter is a real challenge, but I
    have carried it several hundred feet. I usually use a heavy duty
    luggage cart for the 8 x 10 and 11 x 14, though that can be a problem
    on uneven turf (like wandering through sagebrush). One good thing
    about 11 x 14 is that it makes the 4 x 5 seem miniscule. I don't
    photograph in an urban environment, so don't have many of the concerns
    one would have there. I often find a crowd gathering to watch me
    photograph and someone making a comment about Ansel Adams, but for the
    most part people are just interested and want to know more. I give my
    lecture on large format photography, and that pleases them. Paula
    Chamlee comes to mind as another large format user, as well as Lois
    Conner and Linda Connor. Lois Conner has carried her 7 x 17 banquet
    camera through China on a bicycle! I just discovered this web site
    recently, so haven't input anthing yet. Good luck!
     
  35. Don't forget Elsa Dorfman, queen of 20x24" Polaroid. She has a nice
    website at elsa.photo.net.
     
  36. Jeane, you mentioned sage brush. Do you shoot out West? I am always
    looking for other LF photographers who travel a bit. If you don't
    mind, where do you shoot when outdoors? I'm out of San Diego and
    shoot in the southwest often. James
     
  37. Hi again, thanks for all your comments, this has been fascinating.
    Lots of great insight. I must respectfully disagree with Jonathan and
    Dominique who suggest that gender is not an issue in photography or
    technology. If it were not, there would be the same percentage of
    females on this forum as there are in the world at large. Biologists
    have determined that male and female brains are physiologically very
    different. For those who teach photography, as I do, it's important to
    realize that there are differences. (For those who are married it is
    also important!) I told one of my colleagues about this discussion,
    and she agreed that it was very difficult to get her women students to
    use the view camera, *unless* they were assigned to work in pairs.
    Then they loved it. One of my female students watched me using my
    compact little Arca 6x9 and said, "That makes me like the view camera!
    I hated it last year when I had to use those big clunky 4x5s from
    school." Perhaps photo departments should include a few 2 1/4 x 3 1/4
    format view cameras in their equipment rooms.
    To add to the list of women who do use LF, there's Jeanne Birdsall,
    who uses a 4x5 for studio portraits and landscapes (printed in
    glorious gum bichromate). Today's her 50th birthday. Happy Birthday,
    Jeanne!
     
  38. There is also educator/writer/photographer/artist/critic who uses a 4x5 sometimes. And I should think virtually every female commercial photographer (and by that I don't include wedding or most portrait photographers) uses a 4x5 at some point in their career.
    At FotofestI regularly see a lot of woman who use large format cameras for their work.
     
  39. Thanks, Sandy. That's just what I wanted -- for a lot of strangers
    to know I'm 50 lousy years old. But enough about that. I've also
    worked with an ancient (circa 1910) 8x10 camera in the studio to
    create paper negatives -- they make great platinum prints. I took
    the 8x10 outside once or twice and was overwhelmed with the bulkiness
    and weight, but the 4x5s (old press cameras, usually -- I'm not big
    on spending money) travel all right -- I've taken a few to England.
    If only the filmholders were lighter. I've even worked a few times
    with a 12x20 banquet camera, but it was old and falling apart and was
    just too much -- or so I decided after sawing a hole in my studio
    ceiling so that I could use the camera vertically -- without the
    hole, I couldn't get the slide out of the filmholder. I certainly
    agree with Sandy that men and women often approach technical problems
    differently. My love for large format comes from letting me avoid
    some techical stuff, i.e. enlarging. I love contact printing the
    original negative -- I love the purity of it.

    <p>

    P.S. Sandy is still several years away from 50.
     
  40. Hi All,
    Im a female too, but I only make use of my gender, if I take portraits
    of male politicians or other prominent males in my press photography.
    I like to see my self as one of the lucky last few women in a male
    dominated occupation. Soon, the world of professional photographers
    will be half/half, and I will no longer 'stand out in the crowd'.
    I hire LF and always have an assistant or a friend to stand behind me
    on location.
    I believe in not 'seeing' the difference between our genders. I think
    it stops a lot of young women, if they focus on the majority of men in
    a group/forum/gathering etc.
    Just press on and do your thing, whoever you are, whereever you are.
    Life is too short to be swamped in 'disadvantages' and 'unfairness'
    and 'unequality'.
    And by pressing on, one may just make a frontfigure for other women to
    follow. (Gosh, Ill stop here before my head explodes).
    Thanks to all on this list for the great contributions. I thoroughly
    enjoy this list !! -and please excuse my poor english.
    Si
     
  41. Female photog. here. New to the large format family-8x10. I have been
    a professional photographer since I was 20 years old and learned that
    photography is a male dominated industry. I actually had a client
    walk up to me, with all my equipment in hand, and said "honey, where
    is HE and he shouldn't let you carry all of this stuff." I
    immediately replied (in SHOCK) "I am the photographer." she then
    replied "How old are you?" Well you could just imagine what my reply
    would have been next, but in trying to be a professional I blew off
    the comment and continued to find out what needed to be done.

    <p>

    So now am will take on the large format industry in stride and step
    in line with my famous female counter parts.
     
  42. Theory for you - we're all busy asking for directions to the shoot while the women are already there and shooting.

    Hey, I'm a 16 year old guy, and I get way too much uncomfortable attention when shooting with my Bronica. And the female kind I don't mind. It's just an excuse. If it wasn't your view camera, it would be your car, or maybe the brand of hiking boots.

    I don't know why. My mother was an amateur photographer, and she never bothered with a lot of coorespondance either. She just went out and shot. As many people have theorized, maybe it's the technology thing.
     
  43. Hello all. I'm new to large format photography and am waiting impatiently for my first lens to arrive in the mail...
    I've been serious about learning photography for exactly one year now, practicing with a Nikon FTn so as to learn all the basics. I know I'll have to use the hand-held meter for the LF, but think that will be okay. I inherited a 4x5 Nagaoka from my father-in-law which prompted the foray into large format but I would have done it anyway sooner or later.
    I'm so excited about all this! :)
    Okay, I'll admit that I'm 54 and learning a whole new area of life.
     
  44. Welcome aboard Susan. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time with your new LF gear.

    Ed
     

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