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Photographic doldrums
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2003 6:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-11-05 22:31, davebias wrote:
Hi Rich,

I've just started reading this thread, and it looks like it got off-topic a bit from your original "doldrums" post, so forgive me if this is old news now...

As far as books go, I recommend "The Photo Book" by Phaidon. Two hundred or so pages - one photographer per page and one photo per photographer. There's a small paperback version that's $10 in any Barnes & Noble. The sheer diversity of subjects is why I recommend this. After seeing the untitled David Levinthal piece they selected, I was suddenly taking macro shots of my knicknacks in my apartment.

Also, as a designer, I often have to visualize stuff out of thin air without even a camera viewfinder to help me. It's hard. I often turn to the Internet for inspiration. I Google random words and phrases just to see what I get. I often visit a list of sites I've accumulated that are focused on design, just to absorb what others are doing. Photo.net could be a good way for you to do this same thing.

And I know you don't want the "go out and go it" approach, and I believe you when you say that you know it's the best bet, but here's what happened to me last night.

I went to a show at CBGBs ("The" CBGBs, if you prefer) - which is only a few blocks from me, but I never go there. I've sort of outgrown loud bands in scummy clubs, but friends/clients of mine were playing and I wanted to show my support.

I had my Century with me because I had just come from Lens and Repro to get their opinion on my bellows problem (see other post).

So I get there, and I'm showing my Century off to a couple of friends of mine and none other than Elijah Wood steps over. Yes, the Elijah Wood currently known to the world as Frodo (although I thought he was best in Ice Storm). He starts asking me questions about the camera and we go outside to smoke and I rattle on and on about my new fascination with these particular cameras and how it's re-ignited my love of taking pictures, and so on...

He's a fan of the band who I was there to see, and as it turned out, a fan of my work as well - I designed the band's CD. We had a nice chat until some a couple of girls recognized him and came over.

So we finish our smokes and walk back inside and I'm all proud that I just had a great, geeky but not in an autograph-seeker kind of way, conversation with a really huge movie star. And I notice for the first time that CBGBs has this long row of neon signs for various cheap beer brands hanging from the ceiling down the center of the club. It is a picture waiting to happen. I popped open the Century, set it up, and spent about 5 minutes framing and re-framing on the ground glass. I didn't have any film with me, which I cursed, but I still got a kick out of visualizing the shot.

And I plan to go back in a week and get the shot. Not plan to, actually... HAVE to. And I don't know if I would have seen the shot had I not been just talking about it, animatedly I might add, to a movie star.

So besides bragging about talking Graflex to Frodo, I guess the moral of my story is that inspiration happens in the unlikeliest of ways and all you can really do is stay open to it. And, in my case at least, remember to bring some f***ing' film.




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[ This Message was edited by: davebias on 2003-11-05 22:33 ]

Wow! But now I can't get the picture out of my mind of Frodo running through some enchanted woods, taking pictures with a Graphic!

And new book suggestions are always welcomed. I'll look into it as I'm now starting to like reading photo books. Never did before...

I always stay open for shots. And I'm never without a point&shoot in my pocket for those once in a lifetime oportunities. Even if it's just a red fox running across the road with a litter of pups. There's also a few shots I'm waiting for. But I have to wait for all the leaves to drop and then just the right kind of day.

Oddly enough, I think what killed me was going 8x10. I had no problems taking the 4x5 out and it's always packed and ready to go. But the 8x10 was something totally different. Took me a long time just to find a 'pack' to carry it in. Then the sticker shock of Polaroid film, and the weight of the system. But when I want to go and just shoot something, I want to do it now with the 8x10. But it's so heavy and cumbersome... etc...

I'll get over it. And it's now ready to go in it's nice pack. Umm, well as soon as I load some holders anyway... I guess I just wasn't mentally ready for the whole kit. As I get used to it, it won't seem so horrible to take out. And then when the awe of 8x10 negatives wears off (does it ever?), I'll be more prone to take out the 4x5's. But time is so tight and not getting much better, especially with Winter coming...

Somebody should really write up an article on the shock of a newly aquired 8x10 system...

I can't believe this thread got back on topic, and is still alive!


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Graflex Sid



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 221
Location: London,England

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2003 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some very interesting observations:I had a two day assignment in a tightly packed enclosure amongst the general public.

The first day of the shoot I took a 35mm camera,film stock (no digital),the reaction from the public NIL...I was one of them.

The second day I changed cameras,took the 2x3 GRAPHIC instead (B/W)for the 101mm lens being slightly wide,coped well.
But all of a sudden a path is cleared,you MUST be someone important they thought.

If it had been a 5x4 goodness knows what would have happened....So what's it to be,the 35mm for being discreet,or the Graphic,when you become the center of attention yourself.

It's a hard choice..
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AWT



Joined: 05 Sep 2002
Posts: 57
Location: Upstate SC

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2003 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

To get back OFF topic :

Quote:
I went to a show at CBGBs ("The" CBGBs, if you prefer) - which is only a few blocks from me, but I never go there. I've sort of outgrown loud bands in scummy clubs, but friends/clients of mine were playing and I wanted to show my support.


CBGBs was a "scummy club" with "loud bands" back when I was there in the late 70's. Ah, it's nice to know that some things DON'T change - even after a quarter century!

ON Topic (sort-of): Yeah, if you schlep around a point-'n'-shoot 35mm. You get no respect. You're one of "them". When I'm at a show and I want to get closer to the stage I make sure to whip out my Nikon fitted with a 80-200 Nikon zoom (hood added, of course). Half the fun is watching people get outta my way, assuming I'm a pro.

When out shooting whatever and I haul out my Crown, people come to a dead stop and stare. Once, I was setup off the side of a road, taking pix of a delapidated old farm house with cows running through it, when a couple of fellows driving by in a pickup truck screeched to a halt, backed up and started quizzing me about my equipment. Ya shoulda seen the look of wonderment on their faces when I pulled the dark slide, triggered the cable release, reinserted the slide and CHANGED FILM HOLDERS!
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paxety



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 69
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2003 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The shock of 8x10 - it's amazing isn't it? I think the biggest surprise for me was when I began to develop my first sheet of 8x10 film. With 4x5 and smaller, I drop the negative into the pre-soak bath, touch it with my little finger, and it sinks.

Not so with 8x10. I touched it, and it continued to float. I've learned that I have to use my entire hand and shove the film under the water.

I love the large negative, but an 8x10 photo expedition requires planning. With my 4x5 and 2x3 Speeds, I can just grab the case and go.
j
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2003 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The first negative" I'll always remember that one (in 4x5 too for that matter). Although I develop in rotating print drums. Either way, the negative itself is a thing of beauty and wonderment, no matter what happens to be on it... Someday I'd like to shoot just one chrome just to be able to see it...

It seems funny how as the size of the camera goes up, the number of shots goes down. I could easily do 100 shots with a 35mm. 30 or 40 in 2 1/4. 6 to 12 in 4x5. And if I'm lucky, 1 to 4 in 8x10...

Yep, an 8x10 system is not exactly a toss over your shoulder and run kind of photography. Although when I get my Century Universal, I'll be almost cutting the camera weight in half from what I have now. Too bad that only counts for 1/4 of the weight of the whole package

Nice to have another 8x10'r around


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wfhguy



Joined: 12 May 2001
Posts: 10
Location: NY State, Albany area

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe you need a dose of this:

toycameras
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2003 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-11-21 10:49, wfhguy wrote:
Maybe you need a dose of this:

toycameras


Now there's a group of strange people

But I've found the solution to the doldrums. Spend money! (wasn't that suggested up there someplace?).

More specifically... Buy the camera of my dreams in not so good condition so I have a long term project in making it useable again. So I don't have to worry now until it is useable. then I'll have to go out and use it which may bring up the old problem again... But by then, maybe I can buy another camera?


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Nick



Joined: 16 Oct 2002
Posts: 494

PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-11-21 13:03, RichS wrote:
then I'll have to go out and use it which may bring up the old problem again... But by then, maybe I can buy another camera?




Then you can build the darkroom-))
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2003 4:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-11-24 19:37, Nick wrote:

Then you can build the darkroom-))


Party pooper!

Believe it or not, the 2x4's and insulation arrived today. I have hopes of at least getting everything up the stairs this coming weekend. I'm not sure about the actual building though. Although the walls are easy, I have to completely insulate the roof first. And I still don't even know where the door will be, or the room's final dimensions. The wife will make that decision! Then I build the walls, run wires & boxes, insulate it in and find a 100% reliable electric heater... A couple of few days work


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davebias



Joined: 20 Oct 2003
Posts: 43
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2003 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to hop back onto the topic:

There's a fantastic inspirational piece on Sally Mann. It aired on the PBS program "Art 21: Art in the 21st Century". They have a clip of Sally talking about her process at the website:

http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/mann/index.html

When she described herself as having a "magpie aesthetic", doors opened in my head...

Actually, I think everybody on this planet should watch both seasons' episodes in their entirety. But anyone looking for inspiration NEEDS to see these programs.

Being someone who has to think creatively as a job (I'm a graphic designer), I've just gotta tell you - sometimes, the only way I get over a hump is by blatently imitating someone I admire. It forces me out of my normal mindset and allows me to see in a different way.

d



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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Tue Nov 25, 2003 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-11-25 00:06, davebias wrote:
Just to hop back onto the topic:

There's a fantastic inspirational piece on Sally Mann. It aired on the PBS program "Art 21: Art in the 21st Century". They have a clip of Sally talking about her process at the website:

http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/mann/index.html

When she described herself as having a "magpie aesthetic", doors opened in my head...

Actually, I think everybody on this planet should watch both seasons' episodes in their entirety. But anyone looking for inspiration NEEDS to see these programs.

Being someone who has to think creatively as a job (I'm a graphic designer), I've just gotta tell you - sometimes, the only way I get over a hump is by blatently imitating someone I admire. It forces me out of my normal mindset and allows me to see in a different way.

d




Thanks for that!! The series looks great. Unfortunately, when I checked the airing schedule, they didn't have anything in my area... I'll have to keep an eye open for it and maybe call the station to see if they plan on airing it...
You have my sympathies on having to be creative. It's a job I couldn't do. Without a spark of inspiration, nothing creative comes out of me, photographically or with any of the other hobbies I do. If I had to be creative for a living, I'd starve!


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45PSS



Joined: 28 Sep 2001
Posts: 3207
Location: Mid Peninsula, Ca.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



[ This Message was edited by: 45PSS on 2005-12-26 20:23 ]
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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Fri Nov 28, 2003 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

On 2003-11-27 22:03, 45PSS wrote:
Pack up one of those "Complete, Working" Century Universals and send it to me.
C



Can I get _one_ "complete working" CU for myself first?


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RichS



Joined: 18 Oct 2001
Posts: 1467
Location: South of Rochester, NY

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

epilogue:

Since this thread started it all, I thought I'd post the results here. I never did quite get out and take photos. Life and Winter got in the way... But I did take the suggestion to spend more money My first Century Universal is just about ready to go. It made it to a tripod for the first time today, and didn't fall apart or lose any pieces! I was so happy that I shot a couple of quick pics of it and added it to the cameras section of my web site. If anyone would like to see what I've been working on, go to:
http://www.southbristolviews.com
and click on "the Camera Equipment" on the left side menu. The pics will take a bit to load on a dial-up.
The darkroom and second Century Universal are next on the project list. I actually have an 8x10 enlarger coming! And then maybe I'll even update the web site? It is a bit out of date...
Thanks to all for your suggestions and conversations!


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worldphoto



Joined: 05 Feb 2003
Posts: 199
Location: Southern California

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rich
I enjoyed looking over your equipment!
Harry
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