What is it?

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What is large format photography?

-- Angela Taylor (taylor_1000@msn.com), September 07, 2001


A good way to spend money and drive yourself and family crazy while pursuing your "hobby".

Also perhaps a dying art

-- Moe (cynic@misanthrope.com), September 07, 2001.

Though Moe's answer is pretty accurate, you might want to check


for an introduction to large format photography.


-- Dave Willis (willisd@medicine.wustl.edu), September 07, 2001.

Check out the above site -- it's the best, but it refers to a big negative (usually 4 inches by 5 inches) a negative the size of your photomat print -- it is unquestionably obsessive, but you really need to see a contact print to understand it. The negative can be as small as 2"x3" and go up to 2 feet.


-- Dean Lastoria (dvlastor@sfu.ca), September 07, 2001.

I would disagree with that! LF photographers are as thick as fleas compared to a few years ago. Even if someday one does not need a 4x5 or 8x10 piece of film to capture enough data for a large print because of a chip not yet invented, that chip will still need to be in a view camera with all the usual movements. No digital device can replace tilts and (usually) rise, etc.

-- John Hennessy (northbay@directcon.net), September 08, 2001.

My post is as clear as mud because the quote with which I disagreed got cropped. I meant to disagree with

"Also perhaps a dying art"

-- John Hennessy (northbay@directcon.net), September 08, 2001.


Two modern readable, informative, and well illustrated introductions are "Large-Format Photography," Kodak rev. 2nd ed. 1998; and Steve Simmons, "Using the View Camera," rev. ed. Amphoto 1992. After reading one or both of these, you'd be able to move on to more technical manuals and to this forum and its archives. Nick.

-- Nick Jones (nfjones@pitt.edu), September 08, 2001.

It's a different way of doing things. A different way of thinking in photography. The people who are content to schlep 40+ lbs of gear around the countryside to expose 2 sheets of film in a day aren't the same people who want to go out and burn 15 rolls of ultra-high- saturation film through their 35mm do-everything cameras in an afternoon. It's a slower, simpler way of doing things. Last spring when my photo illustration class did a large format unit, most of my classmates viewed large format as being infinitely more complicated than their 35mm and medium format systems. For beginners, this isn't uncommon, I don't think. Most maintained their general aversion to sheet film, while a few decided that large format was worth further investigation. I get the feeling that those of us who are truly committed to LF get to the point where we are so comfortable with the equipment and technique that it becomes easier and more intuitive than working in smaller formats. No modes, autofocus, autoexposure, winders, or blinking lights to worry about with a view camera. You've got you're lens, film, the camera in between the two, tripod, meter, and that's about it, really.

Large format photographers may be a lot more common than they were a few years back, but we're still not exactly in a position to take over the world. Large format photographers are still few and far between in the general population of the world, especially in my age group, it seems. However, I don't see LF as being a dying art. There are those of us committed to this way of working, and as long as there are a few of us around, it'll be far from dead. There is a growing interest in LF photography- let's hope it keeps growing. In 40 years when I have grandkids, there had better still be 8x10 film to feed my Deardorff.

-- David Munson (orthoptera@juno.com), September 09, 2001.

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