Darkroom Advantage

Discussion in 'Darkroom Developing and Printing' started by wishful thinker, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. What reasons can I give to someone just starting out in photography to
    convince them to choose conventional darkroom procedures over digital?
    My nephew is interested in photography as a hobby but digital is so
    dominant in the market that it is hard for me to persuade him to use
    film and a darkroom.
    wishful thinker, Jul 8, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  2. wishful thinker

    Peter Guest

    Lend him a camera and a roll of film. Invite him over to your darkroom
    and show him how to develop film and make prints.

    If he falls in love with the process, then that will be all the reason
    he needs.

    There may or may not be some things which are still are better done
    film, but I'm not going to get into any argument of that sort. Such
    are actually not likely to be a part of what he thinks is important
    Darkroom work is a different kind of fun from fiddling with pictures
    a computer. Get him to try it and he may like it. I certainly do.
    If you have a medium or large format camera, show him how to use it
    and lend it to him for long enough for him to get to enjoy it. He may
    not be more than dimly aware that such things exist.

    Best Wishes,

    Peter, Jul 8, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  3. wishful thinker

    pico Guest

    None. It is highly unlikely the new photographer can appreciate a
    film-made to silver-made print. It is a fine line only appreciated by
    those who aren't into the contemporary glance-as-fact, reality.

    Let 'em go.

    Live your own life.
    pico, Jul 8, 2007
  4. my two bits -

    Show him a good bw print next to a digital one. Point out to him the
    nuances of the bw print as versus those of the digital one. There is art,
    then there is ART....
    Lawrence Akutagawa, Jul 8, 2007
  5. wishful thinker

    Rebecca Ore Guest

    What the others have said. I gave my niece a Minolta Autocord for
    Christmas and I don't think she's yet put film in it.
    Rebecca Ore, Jul 8, 2007
  6. My advice also. All you can do is expose him to it. If it takes,
    it takes.

    Film is now retro-cool. Lomos are out. It's brass,
    glass and chrome. Black camera bodies and zoom lenses
    need not apply.

    Give him an old camera - the bigger and shinier the better,
    though Cannonet 17's are catching on - and a brick of Tri-X
    and see what happens.

    Silver-gelatin printing is -- well, let's not get
    _too_ retro. The bad guys in movies are still
    closet perverts with hidden darkrooms and red lights.

    Sort of odd ... porn being a driving force in digital
    photography. I don't think any self-respecting
    bicycle seat sniffer has a darkroom anymore.
    Nicholas O. Lindan, Jul 8, 2007
  7. wishful thinker

    Peter Chant Guest

    Well, if produced by myself there would be a clear outcome - digital hands
    down. Utmost respect for anyone who can produce a decent chemical print -
    it seems to take a fair amount of skill and practice.

    Peter Chant, Jul 8, 2007
  8. Does he do B/W? Using a darkroom for color sounds like pure masochism to

    For B/W, if your wet prints are better than his inkjet prints, you may have a
    Philip Homburg, Jul 8, 2007
  9. wishful thinker

    Lofty Guest

    of dev hasn't much to go wrong with it except
    getting exhausted, nothing technical about mixing some fresh up.
    A good darkroom print beats a digi anytime

    Lofty, Jul 8, 2007
  10. wishful thinker

    otzi Guest

    It all depends on his peer pressure and school input if any. The wee ones
    are key board savvy with little knowledge of the pre mobile phone era. Only
    some are hands on and this would reveal itself by any hands on activity in
    earlier years, like modelling etc. An interest in historic human activity
    would also have revealed itself, along with the love of things old world,
    like vintage cars etc.

    Don't force it or you will be the one disappointed. Some times the less you
    say the more it grabs.

    Like a grandpa taking the little ones out fishing maybe an "adventurous boys
    only" photo outing could be considered. Whistling up dreams and (battery
    less) possibilities. = Otzi
    otzi, Jul 9, 2007
  11. wishful thinker

    Dana Myers Guest

    What are the reasons that you choose conventional darkroom procedures?
    Why do you want to persuade him? What are your reasons for this?

    Speaking personally, I stopped wet-printing, but I still very much
    appeciate B&W photography. So I capture on film, scan at high-res/range
    (Nikon LS-9000), adjust digitally, and output on an Epson R2400.
    Once I calibrated my monitors and spent a little time experimenting
    printer settings and paper choice, I quickly got to where the
    quality of the print is not the limiting factor for me.

    I miss the quiet relaxation of the darkroom sometimes,
    but that's all.

    Shooting on B&W film retains the heart of what makes a B&W
    print special for me. Perhaps that would be true for your
    nephew, as well.

    Dana Myers, Jul 9, 2007
  12. So all those failed prints are just a figment of my imagination? Good B/W
    printing is trivial and still AA managed to write a book about it?
    In that case, OP just has to show a couple of prints and the boy will be
    Philip Homburg, Jul 9, 2007
  13. Don't waste your time trying to impress him. Go out on a shoot together,
    him with his digital camera and you with your film camera. If when
    he sees your results, he is not impressed, give up, he's not ready.

    If he is interested, offer to show him how you did it.

    Be prepared to spend a lot of money to do it. Darkrooms are
    expensive animals to build and feed.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jul 9, 2007
  14. wishful thinker

    Rebecca Ore Guest

    In that case, OP just has to show a couple of prints and the boy will be

    Probably a majority of all digital shots are shared electronically and
    never printed, so arguing from print quality only matters if someone is
    actually printing the digital files.

    I don't print what I develop -- I don't have money or room for a full
    darkroom, so it's changing bag, Diafine, fix, wash, dry, and scan.
    Rebecca Ore, Jul 9, 2007
  15. wishful thinker

    John Boy Guest

    When I was twelve grandfather put a milk crate in front of his car,
    stood me on it, lifted the hood and said, "So Johnnie, do you know what
    those are?" To me an engine was just one contiguous hunk of bumpy metal.
    Then he said, "Those are super-chargers, Johnnie!" 1957. (Turns out
    they were something like dual Paxtons on a V8 in a '56 Studebaker.) So
    my opportunity for simplicity in engines was perverted real early. :)
    BTW - I do have a batteryless flash gun. Uses bay and Edison base bulbs.
    Fires via a magneto built into the handle.
    John Boy, Jul 9, 2007
  16. IMHO, nothing beats a good print. But I guess that 'The Camera',
    'The Negative', 'The Print' is a good idea. Certainly learning about the
    camera and coming up with a good frame should be the goal before trying
    printing as well.

    One other thing (I don't do B/W so I don't know). A digital color image can be
    seen as three different B/W shots with red, green and blue filters. This
    should make it much easier to experiment with different filter settings
    (in a channel mixer) than actually buying different colored filters and
    exposing B/W film.
    Philip Homburg, Jul 9, 2007
  17. Geoffrey S. Mendelson spake thus:
    That seems to vary widely by location. I assume you're speaking of a
    darkroom in Israel; here in the U.S., one can be put together relatively

    Any system of knowledge that is capable of listing films in order
    of use of the word "****" is incapable of writing a good summary
    and analysis of the Philippine-American War. And vice-versa.
    This is an inviolable rule.

    - Matthew White, referring to Wikipedia on his WikiWatch site
    David Nebenzahl, Jul 9, 2007
  18. Well that depends. Although I've made darkrooms out of closets
    and developed prints with a small enlarger balanced on a toilet
    in a windowless bathroom, I doubt that anyone who is "just visting"
    would be interested in it.

    In fact, I built my first enlarger out of a roll film camera,
    a bulb socket and two coffee cans. My trays were the lids from
    tubs that commerical salads came in. Roll film was easy to tray develop,
    35mm film needed a tank, as my arms were not long enough. :)

    By the time you take a room, lightproof it, add some plumbing and
    safelights, work table etc, even a free enlarger and trays becomes

    BTW, David you are correct about buying used darkroom equipment here.
    While no one wants it, people bought it when the taxes on photographic
    equipment was 160% (which more than trippled the price after retail
    markup) and no one wants to part with it at a "rediculous price".

    Four years ago I was lucky to get an Beslar 23c mark II with a decent,
    but not good lens, 35mm carrier and a bunch of stuff from a photographer
    who had not used her darkroom in 10 years. She kept the easel, timer,
    saflights, etc probably because she was insulted by the price I paid for

    Someone sold me a used easal cheaply and I was still able to get safelights
    (altough red, not the color I really wanted) and a paterson tank.

    Recently I've cleaned out the HC-110 and Rodinal from two camera stores.
    One of the HC-110 bottles was bad, and the Rodinal was made by Agfa.

    A few weeks ago I asked on the Jerusalem Photography Yahoo list if anyone
    besides me developed a roll of film or made a silver based print in the last
    year. One person said yes, and she had done it in a class. She works in
    100% digital. :-(

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jul 9, 2007
  19. Geoffrey S. Mendelson spake thus:
    We're dinosaurs.

    Any system of knowledge that is capable of listing films in order
    of use of the word "****" is incapable of writing a good summary
    and analysis of the Philippine-American War. And vice-versa.
    This is an inviolable rule.

    - Matthew White, referring to Wikipedia on his WikiWatch site
    David Nebenzahl, Jul 9, 2007
  20. I'm afraid we are perceived as dodos.

    Geoffrey S. Mendelson, Jul 9, 2007
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.