How many photographerettes do we have? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

After plowing through several days of verbosity, pomposity, bleating, and chest-beating about the undefinable thing we're calling photographic Art, I'm struck by the fact that this may be more ritualistic hunting dance than enlightenment. I have no idea what the membership of this list is, but a question I have been asking all my life is -"where are the girls?" If you're out there, stand up and be counted! Come join the fray!

-- Paul Coppin (, January 13, 2002



"Where are the girls"???

What have you been drinking or smoking?

-- Dan Smith (, January 13, 2002.

Paul has a point, I have noticed that the larger cameras and negatives tends to get, the fewer women seems to attend such forums like this. How come?

-- Erik Sundström (, January 13, 2002.

I am one "photographerette" (?) who is alive and well. I actively shoot small, medium, and large format both commercially and for personal enjoyment. I am currently a student photography major in a top program nationwide. Over half of the students in the program are female, and are very competitive in every field of commercial photography. We're out here, and standing proud!

-- Kate Prather (, January 13, 2002.

Greetings, Kate, and Welcome! Thank you for responding - please, do jump in whenever something strikes a chord!

-- Paul Coppin (, January 13, 2002.

Maybe they are out ceating images instead of bsing on the computer.

-- Barry Trabitz (, January 13, 2002.

A goodly number of the "girls" are in my photography class, waiting to kick our male butts in the near future. I have mostly young women in my photography classes who are very interested in both the scientific and the art part of photography and who are doing great work as students. Sure blew all my preconceived notions. I had always thought of photographers trekking through the hills or through the mud with a load of cameras as being a male thing until I started teaching. For example, last November I took a group over to a creek in Georgia where there are a series of small waterfalls that photograph well. It was a volunteer trip, and one male student went along with several of the young women photographers. Guess who ended up wading in a very cold creek in order to get the shots they wanted? The women did. They also got the best shots. I have been most pleased at the way they have jumped into any assignment I have given them and in most instances gone past what I asked them to do. So, where are the "photographerettes" and "girls"? They are out there and doing just fine.


-- Doug Paramore (, January 13, 2002.

Another one here. I shoot 35mm, 4x5, and have an 8x10 on the way from Dan Smith (heaven help me). I've been shooting 4x5 for a year and am on the board daily trying to learn as much as I can. I look forward to the day when I finally feel like I have enough of a clue to start contributing.

I've also made my New Year's Resolution to spend less time reading and more time doing -- I think I'm finally past the "really stupid mistake" point and on to where just working on composition and exposing film is going to help the most.

-- Jennifer Waak (, January 13, 2002.

Greetings Jennifer and Welcome to you too! If you're beyond the "really stupid mistakes" stage you're way, way ahead of me. After ruining film for a little over 4 decades, I unflinchingly continue to prove that sometimes, I'm still dumb as a post. (Like a whole bunch of shots last summer, after hiking back beyond, uphill, in 95deg wx, taken after changing backs on my Bronny, never looking at the ISO. Heck, I don't have to do that on any of my current 35s! I was dehydrated and delirious, yeah, that's it.)

-- Paul Coppin (, January 13, 2002.

Hey Paul, that is not a big mistake let me tell you about mine. I went to take some photos with a friend, and we both had our LF cameras, in one shot I was unable to get an image on the ground glass, no matter how I fiddled with the lens, or the focus I still could not get an image.....after about 5 minutes of this I went to y friend and said.."Paul, what the heck I cannot get an image on the ground glass?" he comes over, looks at the camera and said:" If you remove the film holder from the back is a lot easier to see!!"

So Jennifer, you are way ahead of a lot of us.........:-))

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, January 13, 2002.

I won't mention the wedding I did 30 years ago when the film didn't go through the camera. What I would have given for Photoshop back then.

-- Paul Coppin (, January 13, 2002.

I have a fairly low bar for success in this LF thing, it makes my world much simpler. I think I have a successful session if I forget to close the shutter before pulling the darkslide only once, remember my filter for B&W, and at least think about bellows compensation before shooting. Even TRYING to keep detail in both the shadows and the highlights is still a fantasy.

My trip out last week I accidentally set the wrong ISO on my meter (off by 1 stop) for 2 sheets of film and forgot to close the shutter before pulling the darkslide on one. There's just so much to remember before each shot (in addition to just composing the image) and I think I'm getting close to at least remembering it all -- not necessarily getting it right. I'm dazzled by those who say they can get a shot within 30-40 seconds of setting up the tripod -- for me it's minutes unless I'm doing something mundane like bracketing.

It's a far cry from a year ago when I couldn't make the leap from infinity bellows extension being the same as the focal length of the lens.

-- Jennifer Waak (, January 13, 2002.

Jennifer - a simple crutch you might employ is a "cheat sheet" - a 3x5 card b/w one side, colour the other, with a checklist of dos and don'ts to walk yourself thru - laminate it, punch a hole in one corner and tie it to the tripod. It will give you a regimen of consistency to follow which will eventually become automatic. If you're not using a spotmeter, it would be good investment -lets you wander thru the whole ev range of your subject before settling on an exposure ev. FWIW I typically spend abt 20 minutes per shot.

-- Paul Coppin (, January 13, 2002.

Jennifer, all those mistakes you have mentioned we all do them at the biguinning, so you are not alone! the more you shoot the more you will be more proficient and the slip ups will go away. Just keep on shooting. As to your shadow detail etc, like Paul said, get a spot meter and do some testing, you will get there eventually, it also helps if you go out with someone more experienced. Good luck.

-- Jorge Gasteazoro (, January 13, 2002.

I enjoy large format I shoot 4x5 and 8x10, I guess I am a photographerette, what ever that is??? In reality I am a preoperative transexual and I am living full time as a woman and I do portrait photography and food photography, I find that my commercial clients are far more interested in my photographic output and ability to deliver on time than my gender. Any way, because you asked I replied.

-- Janet (, January 13, 2002.

Greetings Janet and Welcome as well! But of course there's no such thing as a photographerette, but the post was intended to try to draw out some of us with a feminine gender bias, mainly because that perspective is not well represented, and delightedly its doing that. Business knows no gender unless its about gender and you're right it shouldn't care. I would speculate that assuming competence, the business of photography has more more gender transparency than most.

-- Paul Coppin (, January 13, 2002.

If this thread, along with the "I'm a better artist than you because I don't do landscapes" thread and its ilk and the attendant "bleating" and posturing about photographic Art are what this forum has come to, then I don't know why we should even bother to look for another site for it. Good riddance, is what I say; who needs it.

-- Katharine Thayer (, January 14, 2002.

At the Alternative Process International Symposium this Summer in Santa Fe there were many female attendees. I was impressed (humbled even) by the 11x14 platinum prints from one of Tillman Crane's students.

-- Ed Buffaloe (, January 14, 2002.

And Welcome to Katharine, too! Odd, I thought a "forum" was a place where participants could come together and express and discuss their interests around a particular subject or group of subjects. Well, at least a few of the respondents accepted a specific invitation to introduce themselves and express their concerns with Large Format photography from their perspective, offer and seek counsel both on and off the list. Meets my criteria for a forum.

-- Paul Coppin (, January 14, 2002.

Forgive me; it was just a bit too jarring to come from participating on a discussion on another forum about the chemical mechanisms underlying the gum bichromate process and find myself referred to here as a "photographerette."

I didn't mean to disparage anyone who has participated in the thread; I haven't read the other entries here. I was only responding to the title and to the opening entry. Carry on by all means, if this is useful to you, with all my blessing. I don't feel any need to introduce myself in this Special Thread For Women, since I've participated actively in the forum and anyone who has paid attention should have a pretty good idea what I'm about.

-- Katharine Thayer (, January 14, 2002.

Photographerettes all: Welcome! Get your "pom-poms" and high-kicks ready for the next large format workshop!

-- Andre Noble (, January 15, 2002.

Ah yes, I just logged on to greenspun for some inspiration and bits of knowledge before I get out that big ass 8x10 piece of metal. But...I think I might just leave it where its been for the last couple of years. My Mamyiya 67 and an occasional polaroid with the ole' Pola 180 and Calumet 4x5 is really all I need.. right now. Maybe if I had gone to one of the nations top schools I could be a PHOTOGRAPHERETTE as well! (ouch, my eyes cross every time I say,try to say, that, that, word?) Nasty! Shite, gotta run, the sun will rise in an hour! Bonjuor, Mademoisel Carolina le fotographier

-- Carolyn Jaskolka (, January 16, 2002.

Perhaps all of us guys need larger and larger film formats because we are trying to compensate for something else... just a thought.

-- Brian Vuille (, January 18, 2002.

I already asked this question on an old thread a few months ago, many interesting replies. I am sure I did not use the word "photographerette." I would prefer to be known as a "photo-gal." Not.

I do get to lurk and bleat around here secretly with my androgynous name.

Cheers, Sandy (nee Sandra)

-- Sandy Sorlien (, January 18, 2002.

Hello all, another female photographer. Thank you for the responses to my questions. All were very helpful. This is truly a wonderful site. Good luck to everyones' photography ventures.

-- Amie L. Burns (, January 22, 2002.

Me too. Feminine, that is. Love it all---345mm, 2 1/2 on old Rolleiflex and Zeiss Ikonta, and the ultimate for me, 4x5 Linhof. True, I'm waiting for the 8x10 styrofoam camera. Gayle

-- Gayle Eidson (, May 31, 2002.

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