Take a Dinosaur to Lunch

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The digital age is in full swing. Silver will be around for a great, long while, but will eventually become an anachronism. Nothing wrong with digital, of course; I look forward to purchasing a D1 or its successor once the price comes down a bit.

This summer, I decided to celebrate the chemical darkroom by building one in my attic. Learned to do plumbing, and remembered what I had known about framing and electricity. Today sees it looking almost finished. Next weekend, Ill process my first film in it, in the company of Mozart or Dexter Gordon.

Those of us who like our cameras big and clunky are an opinionated lot, with strong tastes. Me, for instance. All day long, I tinker with computers for a living. I also choose to wear a wind-up mechanical watch, and drive a twelve year old Volvo with a manual transmission. Intentionally retro, to be sure, but all these things are choices.

Digital may soon be the obvious medium for fine art work, but nothing will ever replace the contemplative experience of leaning over a tray of chemistry, watching your print emerge in the glow of the safe light.

No message today, friends, except, indulge your obsessions!

-- Kevin Bourque (skygzr@aol.com), August 27, 2000


Not much to add, except to ask, what time can I pick you up for lunch. May silver be here as long as our desire to work with it. Bob P.

-- Robert Pellegrino (bob.pellegrino@learjet.com), August 27, 2000.

Its a funny old game. Here we are using cameras that haven't changed much in some 100 yrs. Yet silver based photography will at some stage perhaps not in the too distant future be faced with extinction. As more of us turn to digital means the demand in the first instance for silver prints will diminish and manufacturers will pull the plug on their products leaving poor old dinosaurs like me to struggle on coating our own papers. At least they can't take the raw chemicals away from us-can they?

-- Trevor Crone (tcrone@gm.dreamcast.com), August 28, 2000.

IMHO we've survived this long, I'm sure there's plenty of time left for us, after all who can resist the addictive aroma of the darkroom??

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), August 28, 2000.

...and some people still paint with oils on canvas, sculpt, play the violin, sing opera, write their manuscripts with pen and paper, take walks, horeseback ride, knit, sew (and actually wear the clothes they make!), grow their own food, have conversations in person and read, not to mention cuddling up at night with a real live warm person. How retro can we get...

Regards, ;^D)

-- Doremus Scudder (ScudderLandreth@compuserve.com), August 28, 2000.

Because I also wear and analog watch, drive an old Volvo, work on computers all day, etc. I salute you! We may be dinosaurs but look at all the attention a T-Rex gets these days. Maybe there is hope for us. When all the crappy inkjet prints fade and our silver prints are still pristine, who will be laughing then. Gow long could it be before a T-Rex walks again. Keep rolling (and shooting).

-- David N. VanMeter (vanmet@ibm.net), August 28, 2000.

Are you referring to T-Rex 100 or 400?

-- Simon (fourthpres@aol.com), August 28, 2000.

I like large format for the INCREDIBLE RESOLUTION. Since a $20,000 Kodak DCS660 still only has about half the resolution of silver-based 35mm, and that single shot will fill a flash card, I think we're still a long way off from having digital completely replace silver.

To go digital, I'd need a $5000 computer, hundreds of dollars of software, a $20000 flextight scanner, and a several thousand dollar printer, and I don't know if I'd be duplicated the quality of a silver-based photograph.

I have a few hundred dollars invested in a 4x5 darkroom.

I also have a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and work on computers all day performing simulations in the space industry, so it amazes my friends to to find out that I don't have a home computer. Or a stereo system. I would really like to have a mechanical Leica M6 for its simplicty and independence from batteries. Part of it is working with high tech all day, and not wanting to see it when I get home. Part of it is being familiar with the technology enough to know that I don't want to depend on it!

-- John H. Henderson (jhende03@harris.com), August 28, 2000.

Retro can be hip too! If you play electric guitar, notice the proliferation of boutique tube amp manufaturers and custom guitars. After a brief demise of the guitar in the 80s to digital keyboards, guitarists have more choices today than folks who played with the vintage tube amps and guitars in the 50s and 60s. Today, I see the same trend with many fine vendors supplying a variety of large format cameras, alt processes chemicals, speciality film etc. to this niche market.

One of the fascinating things about using view camera is the stability and transparency of the user interface allowing one to deal with the artistic and creative processes of photography.

-- VNC (chettu99@tyenet.com), August 28, 2000.

JUST A FURTHER NOTE!!! I'm just about to invest #14,000 in an extension to house a purpose built darkroom, IT BETTER SURVIVE!!!

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), August 28, 2000.

Out of the bathroom and into the attic...sounds like you're moving up in the world!

Just a quick question in regards to your plumbing, Kevin... Did you install a hand pump, or are you into that newfangled thing where you just turn on a handle???

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), August 28, 2000.

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