Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Walter Glover
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Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby Walter Glover » 23 Aug 2012, 08:55

Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

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Alastair Moore
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Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby Alastair Moore » 23 Aug 2012, 09:15

I bet there's more of them out there than we think!

Walter Glover
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Joined: 31 Jul 2012, 22:31
Location: Canterbury, NSW

Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby Walter Glover » 23 Aug 2012, 09:30

It's hard to say Alastair,

They probably survive in bigger, more creatively adventurous markets, and there might even be the odd exception here in Oz.

The problem stems from the clients not from the few brave souls wielding film cameras. Bean-counters rule the roost and the economics of digital as opposed to film ensured the nail in the coffin.

By the time, there could even be a logistic issue with finding pre-press houses kitted up for high-end scanning in volume.

A buddy is the go-to guy for Creo scanners and these days all the units are in Museums, Libraries and Galleries.

I was able to keep shooting film exclusively until about six and a half years ago — and the clients loved it. But the word filtered down that publishing houses would no longer pay for scanning and that if I wanted to keep using film that I would have to take care of the scanning and provide digital files only.

I have to say that the digital workflow, and the results, for magazine and commercial use is commercially proficient. I do a lot of it and there is not a day I don't lament not being able to get the superior results of using film but it is a quicker, and I can increase my productivity. I used to shoot customised Harley-Davidson 10-page plus cover packages on a Sinar 4x5. Sheets of 4x5 for the cover and centrespread and roll-film holders for the rest of the feature. At a pinch I could manage two cover features in a day. With a DSLR I can easily shoot 4 features and more in a day. Since I am paid by the feature package and not by the hour the economics works for me too.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

John Austin
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Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby John Austin » 23 Aug 2012, 17:52

Me - I am an UN-retired commercial photographer using only black and white silver gelatine materials

I retired when digital came along, as a quick analysis showed that I would need to keep changing cameras and software every 18 months or so - So I retired from my Fremantle studio and bought our house and land in the forest

I also made an informed guess that after the first rush of interest in digital prints a niche market for fine large format silver jelly prints would develop amongst discerning collectors and that I would be in a good position for this - My guess has been born out, but only after a few years living on my pension and my wits, both hopelessly inadequate - But my sales are all via my Asian agent, which is OK as Australians can't afford sensible prices for big silver jelly prints - I would rather cart firewood than sell prints cheaply, but prints are starting to sell well

So I am possibly the last of my breed in Australia as a photographer/printer - Of interest is BN in Sydney where Chris is making a living printing silver jelly professionally, but I make the negs and print them

In the next few days I shall be launching a new website dedicated to my LF landscape prints and keeping my aged site for artists portraits, environmental documentation and the new naked portraits

When I saw this forum I hoped it would be inhabited by other film based BW professionals, sadly no, so my visits here may be less and less frequent - I suppose the most shocking think for me here is people saying they have negs and may buy a packet (singular) of paper to make prints - Having less than a cupboard of papers and at least a couple of kilos of metol and hydroquinnone in my chem' mixing area would give me nightmares as when orders come in I often have to get them out very quickly

John

mark l
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Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby mark l » 24 Aug 2012, 10:39

That would be a shame John, you have a lot of experience to share.

There still are silver print photographers in Australia, but funnily most don't print themselves. the fact that Cris Reid can make a living from printing for others shows how many still need a good silver print.

I own a kodak shop on the far north coast and because I have a black and white darkroom at home for everything from 35mm to 8x10 I started offering wet processing and printing to hopefully help make up for the dramatic downturn in colour film work and have been pleasantly surprised by how much work I get. Some is from the sad Lomo crowd, but I currently dev and print for several professionals, two in advertising and two fine art photographers, but I cannot tell you there names because they tell everyone they print themselves! I used to be an exhibition printer when I lived in france during the nineties and made about half my living from it. I think there are more silver printers making money off their work, but like you they mostly sell overseas. I even know of one guy on the coast near me who sell loads of tintypes. My nearest gallery runs the Olive Cotton portrait prize ($20,000 first prize) and I was pleasantly surprised to see that about 35% were silver prints, including a recent winner. I currently don't have any photos on the web because in the early days of the web I got badly burned with people using my photos for free having ripped them off my website. Like others here I do commercial work such as weddings, portraits and much artwork reproductions for books and the web, but that is all digital. All my personal work is silver and medium or large format and I do sell some from galleries but truth to tell whenever I've made a large portion of my income from my photography it's kinda spoiled it. Frankly I'm 53 and not in real good health, which I blame on twenty years of being up to my armpits in c41 and ra4 chemicals from maintaining my own machinery, I'm looking to sell all the property I built up over the years and retire to the bush like you, but I'll probably just do my photography for myself, just pure pleasure. Having said that, I've started doing a little teaching of darkroom technique and there is quite a demand for that, which I enjoy.

I think you will find that there are many fine art photographers still using wet printing, but they are "artists" not photographers and have little use for a site like this which is largely technical, not that it needs to be that way. The sydney gallery scene still includes many photographers using silver, but I have little time for there work unfortunatly, I'm rather old school, and like your sort of work, not 'conceptual' art, art with a capital F.
I'd actually bookmarked your site years ago, and would only ask that you give this site a little longer, it's still very early days.

all the best,Mark

John Austin
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Joined: 26 Jul 2012, 10:58
Location: Quinninup Western Australia
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Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby John Austin » 24 Aug 2012, 19:15

Thanks Mark,

Making a bush change can help health issues a lot, unless you need regular attention, then the dearth of country doctors can cause serious problems - I put all my E6 work out to Churchill Colour Labs and did very little C41, which went to Irvin, both in Perth

I am glad to hear there are more silver jelly uses than I thought, but given that Chris Reid sells materials as a retailer there must be a few of us

I will not be abandoning visits to this site, but I want to spend less time in front of this interactive idiot machine which draws me in and with spring coming we are spending all the time we can digging new garden beds and putting up fences around them

Being lost in the WA woods gives us communication problems and the Perth Centre for Photography, which in its first incarnation I was a very early member of, shows work I generally find tedious - A lot of this makes me wonder what level of pre-digital photographic visual history is being taught - Chris Reid's introduction giving the genesis of his next show in Alexandria is illuminating on the point of current photo-education in general - I quote

Opening Tuesday 11th September 2012, Blanco Negro presents ‘Proof’ a rare opportunity
to see the history of the photographic printing process through a selection of works
from the private archive of Master Printer, Chris Reid. The 18 most significant
printing methods from 1839 Daguerreotypes via Photogravure and Platinotype
through to the modern inkjet will be on display. This exhibition is a ‘must see’ for
anyone interested in or studying the history of photography. The exhibition will run
until January 11th, 2013. Entry is free

A few months ago a young TAFE student came into Blanco Negro looking for advice on printing
a ‘historical photographic process’. After a few moments of discussion printer Chris Reid
realised she was talking about Silver Gelatin
, the printing process he practices ever day for
many of Australia’s most celebrated photographers. What he didn’t realise until that moment
was that this practice was considered so ‘historical’ to a whole generation of new photography
students and enthusiasts who have no life experience of photographic printing prior to the
digital image


Please refer to www.blanconegroarchive.com or info@blanconegro.com.au for information on dates etc

Apologies to CR for stealing his text
John
Last edited by John Austin on 24 Aug 2012, 19:43, edited 3 times in total.

jars121
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Joined: 29 Jul 2012, 21:56

Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby jars121 » 24 Aug 2012, 19:36

Thanks for posting that, I never would have seen it otherwise. Perhaps the Sydney folk could meet up one afternoon and go and check it out?

mark l
Posts: 31
Joined: 30 Jul 2012, 09:20

Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby mark l » 25 Aug 2012, 09:31

Thanks John,

I think you are right about your isolation out west, after my last posting I got thinking about how many Australian large format silver based landscape and/portrait photographers I could think of, and came up with about a dozen full-timers on the east coast, several of which have their own galleries, most of which sell overseas like yourself, most using silver gelatin (now being taught in the UK as an 'alternative process'!), such as Richard White in Victoria, but I know of others such as Bob Kersey using platinum and others selling wet colloidion, the collectors love it.
If anything, for collectors in particular, jelly prints and the like have become more valuable when everyone and his dog is producing squirt prints.
Incidently, when living on France I discovered that 'Giclee' is French for Squirt and is used as the slang for a male orgasm, just about sums it up I reckon!
These computers are shocking time wasters and I do know of several large format silver printing photographers who don't have websites, never use the net, but quietly get on with producing beautiful work, some selling regularly overseas without anyone in this country even knowing them. In fact I would say that the more traditional the photographer the less likely they'l even use the web.
I'm looking to retire from my shop in the next few months, at which point I'll give up on digital totally and concentrate on large format silver, you only get one life, may as well follow my obsession.
My visits to this site will probably become fewer as well, but it's worth encouraging, particularly if those with experience can help those new to the ancient arts.
I find quite a hunger to learn traditional photography amongst the kids coming through, I will probably do more teaching in the future.

All the best, Mark

Walter Glover
Posts: 917
Joined: 31 Jul 2012, 22:31
Location: Canterbury, NSW

Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby Walter Glover » 27 Aug 2012, 07:18

mark l wrote:art with a capital F.


Flattering to see that that term has spread so far and wide.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi

Walter Glover
Posts: 917
Joined: 31 Jul 2012, 22:31
Location: Canterbury, NSW

Re: Commercial Guy Still Using Film

Postby Walter Glover » 27 Aug 2012, 08:48

jars121 wrote:Thanks for posting that, I never would have seen it otherwise. Perhaps the Sydney folk could meet up one afternoon and go and check it out?


Is there any further interest in that possibility?

As a rule I treat gallery visits as a somewhat solitary pursuit but nothing is carved in stone.
Walter Glover

"Photography was not a bastard left by science on the doorstep of art, but a legitimate child of the Western pictorial tradition." —Robert Galassi


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