Wed Apr 28 00:26:53 2004
You are asking for introductions, so here is mine.
I just joined your group but am not new to large format.
In the late fifties I had the opportunity to take a apprenticeship with a
noted photographic mural maker. To start off with he explained the
difference between miniature, small, medium and large format cameras. To him
a miniature format camera was 4x5. As he was in his 80ís at the time my
first assignment was to carry either his medium or large format cameras
(8x10 or 11x14), film holders and lenses. The medium format pack was about
50lbs and the 11x14 was, if I remember right, about 70lbs. We are talking up
to 10 mile hikes. But at 16 I was up to it. After about 6 months he allowed
me to start shooting some film. I had never heard of zone system at that
time but his exposure method was very close. He would send me out with a 5x7
camera to photograph whatever I wanted. When I returned I would process the
film to how I shot it. Load it into a enlarger that was already set to make
a 30x40 print (a size he called a test print) expose to a preset time and
process. Again preset. If the print was net perfect, or at least very close
he would escort me to the paper cutter and there I would have to cut up my
negative. He was perfection or nothing. This lasted for almost 2 years.
Until he passed away.
From there I travelled the west coast photographing, mainly 8x10ís, soon
switching to color transparencies printing dye transfer,mainly for stock
agencies.and galleries This lasted until the late 70ís.
From there I worked for a major custom lab. Running the Black and white
division and doing the film processing. In 1984 I got silver poisoning,
mainly from processing C-41 and E-6 in a basket line with very poor
ventilation and no gloves. The doctor told me that I could never work in a
darkroom again.. Then in 1986 my office, which was in a double garage was
torched. There I lost everything. Can you imagine over 2000 8x10
transparencies going up in flame. I vowed never to take another photograph
In 1989 I got an offer to photograph in northern Siberia for a book project.
An offer I could not refuse. As I would be doing a lot of travelling I
bought my first 35mm slr. Since then I have taken scenic slides, mainly for
my own use. I have been asked for prints but find that making small, 11x14,
prints that are not that sharp, not fulfilling. I am still used to making
20x24 test prints.
Now that I am living on the Washington State Coast I am finding a great
desire to get back shooting again. I still canít work in a darkroom so will
have to be satisfied with inkjet prints. I have a 4x5 Wista with a couple of
lenses. I would love to get back to 8x10 transparencies, but film cost and
processing is just too much. Maybe some day.
I am planing on opening a gallery/bakery (a profession I started after I
left photography) on the Washington coast.
There it is. Sorry to be so long.
Keep up the good work.
It is always amazing to watch peoples faces when they see a 30x40 print that
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