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How are you treated?
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Sjixxxy



Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 108
Location: Midwest US

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, when you are out with your Graphic, or other similar handheld, how do you find that bystanders generally treat you? Based on my experiences I've created a few different classes of passerby's.

1) "The Novelties" - These people make up probably about 90% of everyone I encounter. To them, these big funny looking cameras are just something they see in the movies. The Novelty always asks the same three questions. "How old is that?", "Where did you get that?", "You can still get film for that?" In a good number of cases, a fourth question is asked, "Can that shoot color, or only black & white?" I call this group the Novelties because I get a strong vibe from them that they think I am only using such gear for a novelty aspect.

2) "The 'He must be a pro.'" - Very similar to The Novelties, they don't know much about the gear, and may ask the same questions, but seem to understand that there is a good reason that you are using it, even if they don't know the reason. One such person in this group that I encounter offered to buy prints from me before I was even done shooting, and he had his own camera with him shooting the same stuff! Think any modern camera use such a testimony in an ad campaign?


"My 4x5 Press camera helped me sell this image before it was even exposed."


3) "The Technophile" - Probably the least desirable to come across. These are the folks who think you are backwards or ignorant because your camera isn't digital, and isn't integrated into a cell-phone, and will let you know it. I haven't ever encountered a full-fledged one, but on on instance a guy in is mid-30s just walked by and made a hummed "uh huh" that was intoned like I'd have expected if I had just told him there was a two-inch penguin on his head holding his hair hostage, and he needs to do a cartwheel right now to get rid of it.

4) "The ex-newsie" - Probably the best class to encounter as they will show you respect. These are the older men who grew up using thee cameras, and damn well know why they're so good. I've only encountered this person once as well, but I think I made that old man's day. We talked about the gear for a while, and he owned a camera store where he showed me a bunch of the press cameras in his collection. He also showed that he probably wasn't entirely up to speed with the times when he said "All these kids these days are going to that smaller 35mm. . " I'm eagerly awaiting for the day I encounter one of these guys who still has all is gear, and is so happy to see someone still using it that he dusts it off and donates it to the cause.

So who do you meet?


[ This Message was edited by: Sjixxxy on 2004-05-22 22:16 ]
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1446
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Sun May 23, 2004 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on the neighborhood. Sometimes it's "Are you the police?" Other times it's "Are you shooting a video[!]?" At the Reading, PA Air Show, mostly WWII stuff, it's "Now that's appropriate for this show!" Sometimes when I have pointed out an especially nice architectural detail on a building I'm shooting, the person will say "You know, I always liked that building; it has really beautiful brickwork/terra cotta/windows", etc.,etc. This was the case when I was doing some work in North Philadelphia in the heart of the ghetto. A K-9 police patrol van pulled up next to my set-up, and the (black) cop jumps out at me. "Omigod," thought I, "now what the heck?" Guy came over, nice as could be, said "I've passed this building every day for years and I always admired the beautiful design," etc., etc.

Moral of story: you can make a lot of friends with a Graphic!

[ This Message was edited by: Henry on 2004-05-23 15:51 ]
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Graflex Sid



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

PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 7:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,well here in London...the same.Although Im using either the Speed/Crown Graphic 2x3 (either one) or the Quarter plate Speeds.

I get the same reaction-this can be a little 'off putting'when you are concentrating on the subject matter,you really need a P.R.with you to answer all the questions!.

Puts all those 'digital' cameras in the shade and a clear path is made for you seeing this 'Hollywood' camera appear...Want to make friends-get a Graphic.

Great Camera-great fun!
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Les



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 2682
Location: Detroit, MI

PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 3:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure what this means, but while in Chicago shooting with a Crown (and a tripod) on the streets nobody said a word to me. Not the cops, not passersby. It was like I was invisible.

I really thought this when I was shooting the entrance to the Wrigley building and a guy on a cell phone waited patiently out side the frame until I was ready to shoot, then stepped inside the shot!
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disemjg



Joined: 10 Jan 2002
Posts: 469
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 10:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Many people do notice, and all the comments I have received were polite. The most common reaction is when an old Graflexer stops to chat.

And I have noticed that the other people in the photo area seem to defer to the camera, politely staying out of the way while the shot is taken. It's kinda hard not to notice the camera, right? This reaction is not uniqe to Graflexes, however. This past spring I was taking some shots in the rotunda of the Jefferson Memorial here in Washington, with a Pentax 6X7 (also hard not to notice). I was waiting for the crowd to clear and after I took my shot I realized that they were all holding back and watching me to be sure I was done. Now that is courtesy.

I have not had any experience with the techno snottie digital type. The only "digital" comment I got was a straight faced question as to whether the camera (a Mamiya C220) was digital. I managed to not drop it while I laughed.
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Rangemaster



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 412
Location: Montana, Glacier National Park

PostPosted: Mon May 24, 2004 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is funny sometimes the reactions that appear when I take one of my large formats out for a spin, I was at logan pass in Glacier National Park, with a nice old Kodak 2D 8 X 10 last year, and of course got all of the normal questions, and also ended up with many who wanted to take pictures of me, the camera and them holding their digitals, it was really funny, we even ended up being in the local newspaper in the local people section, quite a kick in the pants, there was really some ohs and awes, because I had some transparancies with me that had been taken with the camera and they had come back from the processor that day, talk about a rage, these people just could not believe that there were cameras that took that large of a slide!

Lots of fun.

Dave
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Graflex Sid



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

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When you hold a Speed Graphic you are holding a piece of history.No other camera in the World ever held this distinction,not even a Leica.

It has recorded great moments in time,it has seen battlefields across the Pacific,Europe & Asia.Across Oceans,land & sea.Through the battle areas of the naked cities,recording crime & mayhem through decades of time-used in major Hollywood studios during the 30's/40's/50's,taken countless pictures for stills and fan magazines.

All major newspaper photographers from the period had a Graphic on the newsdesk.This camera has immense following-men have lost lives in battle holding this camera-it has the scars of war firmly embedded in its body...

It is truly a camera like no other,a magnificent work of art.People respect the name that lives on in time immemorial.

We shall remember the Speed Graphic with affection.We hold it with pride to this day.
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Henry



Joined: 09 May 2001
Posts: 1446
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania

PostPosted: Tue May 25, 2004 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But you gotta admit, Sid, that the MPP cameras are great pieces of work! Wish they had made a 2x3, I'd be first in line for it.
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Graflex Sid



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

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im not disputing the fact other cameras are 'great' as well...it is the HISTORY of the SPEED GRAPHIC that is so important..it is part of American culture.

Yes,you have many great buildings...but only ONE Empire State or Garbo or Cary Grant.

This camera stands above all others...
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disemjg



Joined: 10 Jan 2002
Posts: 469
Location: Washington, DC

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having mentioned other cameras, I will readily concede that Graphic cameras are in a different category. Many factors drive this; the long period of production and use, the times in which they were used, and the nature of the cameras themselves. As everyone on this site knows, they have a unique personality that is their real charm. They are astonishingly simple, yet flexible and capable beyond many peoples expectatons. Some observers, who do not know any better, view our cameras as quaint throwbacks, when in fact they are very desirable user cameras that fill a niche that for all practical purposes nothing else does.

One of the most amazing things about Graphic cameras is that over thirty years after the last ones were made, they are still very much in demand, and any functional camera that appears in the stores in my area sells quickly. This a testimony to the soundness of the original design, and the quality with which they were built. A Graphic is the way many are introduced to large format photography, and its new owner gets the double benefit of an affordable, very usable camera to learn the ropes on and, as Sid points out, a real piece of history to own.
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Graflex Sid



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

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello D,
Most people are knocked off their perch when you say this camera,our dear Graphics are still working after more than 50-years.

I've just photographed an American choir performing in London's Covent Garden piazza (My Fair Lady)and used (on the 2x3 Crown)interchangeable backs for color & b/w.Worked a treat-never mind exposure meters,guessed the exposure...perfect!So simple to work.

This camera was made for photography-you concentrate on the subject,the camera takes care of itself.

Can you imagine the enemy charging towards you at Bataan,and saying 'hold it folks while I take a reading'...no,this is the perfect quick thinking camera,cock the shutter/set an exposure/set the distance...fire!Move on...

It's a wonder people stare,looking at us working it is an art in itself.

I think a memorial should be erected for this camera say somewhere in N.Y.
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RichS



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

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 2:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sid, and some other here

May be a bit off topic, but sonce you're again talking about Speeds and their unique place in history, I'd appreciate your comments on the thread going on here:
http://www.photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=008KMS

I'm appaled by the attitude of some people towards gutting Speeds! The more voices we can raise to preserve these fine cameras, the better off we all will be, and so will our children!

Sorry...
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Rangemaster



Joined: 06 Jul 2001
Posts: 412
Location: Montana, Glacier National Park

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have contributed my .02 for what it is worth, I am on it with ya Rich, it is a shame and selfish act to cobble a completey usable camera..

Dave
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Jack5541



Joined: 31 Jul 2003
Posts: 75

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Now I'm fired up after following that link!!!
Perhaps we should all visit that thread and contribute our two cents worth. There's no difference between wrecking a Graphic and turning a 3-cell into a you-know-what.
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RichS



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

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2004 4:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks!!!

Gees, I wish I would have thought of the 3-cell... There's a perfect example of "there's thousands of them, what's the big deal" attitude in action!
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