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Monday, 07 June 2010


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YES!! Go for it, Mike!

A whole bunch of new young photographers want to know how to do this thing called film photography and get pictures different to everybody else.

Also, whatever you write will need to convince at least you, and ideally some other people as well, that it makes a contribution to a world which already has the Ansel Adams Basic Photo series in it (and other books, but for me that's the benchmark). All the old books still exist.

Enough things have changed from when the old books were written that I think it's quite possible there IS a useful niche here. So what you need to do, it seems to me, is address the special issues of getting into film photography TODAY specifically as a "retro" activity. And point people to the existing good references, because people just coming in won't know them.

As someone fully engaged in classic photography, it seems to me you just wrote quite eloquently about it!

It's all about the "want to," not the "have to." The look and feel of metal cameras and film are visual and tactile pleasures that are non existent in the digital domain. One that can even be extended to the darkroom arena.

I well remember you describing how the photons bouncing off your subject(s) are those actually captured on the film itself. Yeah, there's an inherent romanticism to it- the same you get from a classic car, a classic movie... classic beauty.

I for one would welcome more about film photogrpahy.

Right on!! I don't know who would do traditional photography as a business model, unless there's some unusual niche market such as platinum/palladium portraits. Its all about enjoying the traditional film/darkroom experience. What is a better print doesn't matter to me.

Please write it. I, for one, would like to read what you have to say. Your explanation of "why?" sums up my feelings exactly. From the viewpoint of a hobbyist, there is a need for a few people like yourself who can give credibility to the idea that classic film photography can just be fun and that a person using film isn't necessarily trying to slow the march of progress or turn back time.

Thanks! Tom

I think there is a marketable book in this subject... if you play it right.

I've noticed as I make my rounds here in Los Angeles that all the young hipsters are now carrying film cameras -- old AE-1's and such that you can buy for $50 with lens. These are the same kids that are playing vinyl records, not as audiophilia, but to connect with a kind of imagined retro authenticity. When everybody has an iPod, a record player becomes cool. When everybody has a plastic DSLR, a film camera becomes cool -- even if you hardly know how to use it. This has been going on in Japan for a long time, by the way, if Tokyo Camera Style is any indication.

So maybe there's a place for a handsome coffee-table book about film photography in the digital age. A book that is %33 old-camera fetishism, %33 stylish contemporary analog photography and %33 how-to. It would have to be painfully hip, of course, and for that (no offense, Mike) you might need a partner, like a young graphic designer from Williamsburg or something. You provide the knowledge and vision, the hipsters provide the cred, the design, and the pictures.

Somebody's gonna write that book someday, and it might as well be you.

You are giving me the itch to get my Durst SL66 enlarger down from the garage attic along with the film tanks. I don't think I will go as far as to try and resurrect my Unicolor drums and agitator.

What is your definition of "Classic"
in this context? Is it Tri-x,developed
by yourself and printed out in your
darkroom to 8x10? Shooting Kodak Pan
in an 8x10 view camera? Using Kodachrome
to be developed and printed out by
Kodak? Taking one's Fuji color neg film
to a one hour developer? What do you
consider non-classic film photography?

You could ... start a blog!

Would it help if you are given a purpose for the tome-to-be? How about this: there are a lot of young people (in their 20's) who love to shoot film. They don't know "all about it" but buy cameras and film and dive in. Then, they (mostly) love the results and the manual controls. But they don't know enough to take full advantage of the old tech.

So, what about giving them something to guide them from the perspective of current technology so they won't have to go into esoteric volumes from the last century. Doesn't all have to be all "introductory". Could be level 1, 2, 3 etc.

The idea is that there is a target audience for your proposed writing that makes it more urgent than idle nostalgia (not that there is anything wrong with the latter). It's a legitimate excuse anyway, no?

The rest of us could happily fill in the gaps and re-think whatever we missed over the last five or nine decades of photographic writing.

In short, I'm looking forward to reading this!

PDF! Like David du Chemin, who has written a series of Ebooks and sells them through his Craft and Vision site.

How? You just started. Next step? Keep going. A PDF would work nicely.

We still teach classic black and white in schools in Australia, a lot of kids love it especially the romantic notions associated with film cameras. Some see it as good fun the others that get frustrated trudge back to digital .......all is good either way

If you take a shot with film, but then scan the negative in order to digitally print an enlarged negative, which you will then use for alternative process contact prints, are you still a "film photographer" or have you become a hybrid?

Ever heard of a magazine??? ;)

I for one would happily log on every day to read your Long, Involved Posts About Classic film Photography for fun Parts I–XII.


I would pay in advance for you to write this book if that makes it easier for you to get started.

Seriously. Get writing!

All the best,

"Classic photography!" I think you just coined a new term there. A kind of hilarious one.

"Yeah, I'm really into old cars and classic photography"

I like David DuChemin's approach in creating PDF-based eBook for sales at his site. They vary in length, but they're on the short side. Saves paper. Of course, I could always print the parts I want ...


I'd pay in advance as well. I am apparently one of those hipsters described in the comments, but I do know a little more about photography than the average hipster I guess. It's all about rediscovering the retro-romantic charm of black and white photography as well as the feel of having strip of negatives and a print in your hands. It's a completely different feeling you get and it's much easier to appreciate than pixels on a screen. I think you'd do the world a favor if you wrote that book! :) More pictures and less how-to, though!


One of the things that makes film work so much fun in this day of the digits is that there is suddenly a surfeit of fantastic equipment available for very, very affordable prices...like that sweet Durst enlarger illustrating your piece. I am able to buy, try and play with very fine equipment that was just way out of reach in the past.

A second great fun-inducer is being able to be an expert on some vanishing arts that are quickly entering the realm of supreme arcanity--just like those fine book publishers with their letterpresses!

Yes! Ever since I discovered your blog about a year ago, I've been waiting for you to write exactly this series. If it must be a PDF, so be it -- but it's the glimpses of this information that keep me checking TOP regularly. TOP is a rare outpost on the web where photography can be BOTH arty and gearheaded, and where digital and film exist side by side because they are both part of a bigger artform. Best example: your brave recommendation of the current Zeiss Ikon ZM. But cameras are only part of this artform. I am excited to learn all I can about the darkroom side from someone with your experience. That darkroom knowledge, starting from a practical beginners standpoint, really is missing today. That part of the market was served, humourlessly, by how-to-print-B+W guidebooks often published by folks like Kodak, in the service of a much bigger general audience looking to take "the next step" with their photography. Today that segment of the market is very well served by books on figuring out your digital camera and introductions to Photoshop. The darkroom chapbooks are all but gone. (I was actually looking for one on Amazon yesterday -- many are listed but they are all out of print.)

I'm in my 30's, so I'm comfortable with cameras that take celluloid or silicon. I grew up with computers my entire life. I have used Photoshop since version 2. But now that I have set up a darkroom and am trying to puzzle out the mysteries of black and white printing, I am experiencing something rare: a lack of good introductory and journeyman-level information. I look forward to you filling in some of that gap, Mike.

Yes! I've recently reopened and stocked my darkroom and spend my time between shooting, printing, and (here's where you come in) reading anything and everything about film and darkroom printing.

To whom do I make out the check and for how much?

Lord, all I know is that I'd pay whatever you asked regardless of media (real book, virtual book, PDF, mimeographed pages, whatever . . .

And, as Nathan said, I'd pay in advance . . .

I work (and sometimes teach) at a school that not only offers classic film photography, we also teach people to make rocking chairs, throw pots, print on letterpresses, and knit (and blow glass, make jewelry, etc.), and I really hope you will write this. If it's in a form that you charge money for, I'll help you sell some.


This would be a great follow-up to your Leica & one lens recommendation from last year. I didn't know ANYTHING about film photography a year ago. 150 rolls later I might know a little but I also realize there's a lifetime of learning with film. Would LOVE to see your writing style applied to the topic of film, developing and printing.

I would buy a book from you in a second ... go for it!!!


I should have mentioned it in the post, but that's not a Durst, it's a brand new Kaiser--the Kaiser VPM 9005 Multigrade System-V. It's got to be bigger than it looks, because it's a 6x9 enlarger. Freestyle lists it for a mere $1100, which is pretty amazing.


It is more than just fun Mike. A lot of photographers still use film for serious work because they find digital cameras are not good enough. Yet. Or there is simply no digital equivalent for their favourite camera, or even whole categories of cameras. Like your 6X7 rangefinder.


I vote for letterpress. Can I pre-order?

This is a great idea.

As film becomes more a "thing of the past," there will be the inevitable resurgence that will bring it back (that has already happened to some extent where I live). It'll come and go, but there will always be a need for resources that teach newcomers how to deal with film in an increasingly digital world. Some will want to go the all-out darkroom route, and they'll need to work around diminishing chemical and hardware resources. Some will want to go hybrid and scan the film they develop, and that is an art in itself.

I'm not so sure a "small book" will cover it.

Better get started!

Some portable online format (like PDF) would work nicely. Freed from paper, the book can be the length it wants to be, not the length dictated by binding limitations or expectations on the number of pages for a "proper" book. Do make it some open format (rather than, say, Amazons or Apples proprietary systems) - you don't want to lose large parts of your audience simply because they can't or won't get the material through one particular vendor.

If you do want to do it on paper, then how about a mook? A mook (think a book in magazine format; or a single-issue, single-subject magazine) is a popular format here in Japan for exactly this kind of thing. You can write a set of more loosely connected articles around the theme rather than stick to a single linear narrative. And the magazine format lends itself well to illustrations and photographs.

Mike, do it. But if you do it hip, I will personally come and visit you in the night and do CSI-type stuff to you. Do it the way you want to do it (unless it's hip). (c:

Real books are good, PDFs are sorta meh, even though they do work well. Given the subject I'd say a real book would be the way to go in this case, but I could be wrong (not to mention the costs associated with it).

Let us know when you do, I'll be in for a copy (unless it's hip).

I belong to APUG (Analog Photography Users Group) and the Large Format Photography Forum, but where do I hang out, TOP of course. It's not about the medium. It's about the words. You give good paragraph on any number of subjects and I would love to have you write a bit more about traditional photography.

Exactly my sentiments, in fact i pondered the same thoughts for a long time before kicking off my website dedicated to traditional photography.. Like you say, the niche is small but it makes me happy practicing with it and writing about it.

I'm left wondering if Paul had a formatting issue, or actually intended that to be poetic (cause it seems to work well that way)?

Not a topic that particularly interests me but, as Nike's ad slogan entreats, "Just Do It!"

I salute anything (well, many things) done in full spirit and you're not getting any younger.

Yeah we need a new blog. Mike Johnston...Analog.

I love printing in the darkroom. Problem is I kinda suck at it. After a few years of perfecting my technique I can load metal reels and develop quite well. My negatives are now spotless and clean. It's the damn printing thing. Some of them come out pretty well but high end printing is a craft that needs to be passed down from master to apprentice. Plenty of instruction courses for digital printing but good luck finding some one to assist you in obtaining darkroom skills.

Film photography has taught me so much about this craft since I started shooting black-and-whites again about a year and a half ago. Like so many of these other commenters, I'd love to read what you have to say about it and learn from you. Here's to hoping you'll find the time, Mike.

I don't think the great need is to revisit chemical process. It seems to me the opportunity is how we integrate digital and chemical. Neither is going away... get our arms around both. You can do it.

Mike, I'll buy it. In advance. Hey, can you include a small section on buying (scavenging? scrounging? stealing?) old darkroom equipment?
Anyways, I still got my old Durst M301 (yeah, a toy, I know, but served me plenty).

I'd even get an LX body (or K1000 SE) to go with my FA 31mm.

Actually, you _could_ make it a permanent fixture of your site, or even another site, no?

Write it. I'll be sure to read it!

"Build an amplifier" ? Guilty as charged.

And I have helped a number of friends do it as well. Nothing sounds as good as your favorite tunes played through an amp you built with the most perfect of musical electronics, tubes. (Valves)

How about write a weekly coloumn as long as you like,of what you are doing these week. I haven't read allof the comments yet but it's an overwelming YES!!! PLEASE!!! As you said earlier life is too short. I would love to do wet printing but i'm not 'cos' LTS So how about setting up a remote control camera so that you can record events as they happen, maybe the ocassional video clip. then write it up as a per usual. you will get comments(i'm sure you will!) and questions. When you have a books worth, you have allready written most of the of the book. Then you can show us how to make a book as well I will never do it (LTS) but I can, vicariously through you! Hey there's another book I'll buy it.
I would like to try printing the negative on a inkjet printer and then printing the photo the wet way. 8x10 contact sheets maybe sorry getting ahead of myself. You have the cellar to clear out I'd offer to come round and help but You Know too far, but i wont mind watching, ok. Leigh

Yeah, and I'm also waiting for a return of the "Big Band Era"...

Yes, write about it, Mike. You do know alot about it and a lot of people who read this blog enjoy "classic photography".

You should write it.

I (or more accurately my dad) have a letterpress and some type you could have...

I was one of those that bought both of your books off LULU, why not go down that road again?
I would buy such a book like a shot.
Nearly died of boredom with digital, gone back to film, even extended my house to create my dream darkroom, everything up to 8x10, can't get enough.
Just go for it!

I'm one of the 20-somethings Antonis described. I only recently started developing my own B&W negs, and am planning to set up a darkroom in a few months (after I move to my new house). But as wide and big as the internet is, there is surprisingly little on this subject to be found, especially for beginners.

I'd preorder/prepay too, if that helps!


just to encourage you that a book on "classical" photography would be commercially viable. "Way beyond monochrome", a wonderful textbook on B/W film photography was sold out for a while. A second edition is coming up pretty soon. People are lining up in advance to get a copy.
I started two years ago with a pretty basic book that is still available although in german (Schwarzweiss-Labor by Reinhard Merz. It has easy to follow step by step instructions for all the basic procedures.

Nowadays it is cheaper to get a darkroom equipped with anything you want for less than a decent "digital" printer. So you will have your audience. At least for me this more fun than to sit additional hours in front of that computer screen...


YES! Go for it.You're certainly the man to do it.
Make a PDF, and upload it to Blurb.com or some other high quality bookmaker. If somebody wants it in book form, they can just order it from Blurb, the rest can download the PDF and read it on their computer. I know I'd get the book.

Strong vote against Kindles and Nooks and what have you. We're not ALL middle-aged dentists with too much money to blow on gadgets, even though we shoot Leicas.

Yes, you are just the person to write this. I would like to write it myself but I don't think that's going to happen!

Having just put a Devere 54 enlarger back together to give myself large format printing ability, this is certainly something we do because we want to, not for the convenience.

I don´t know if it´s marketable, but there are hell of a lot of people shooting film or coming back. Your future book may become a success by causing an inspiration in those doubting to begin or return.
Anyhow it´s the younger generations we´ve got to teach what a marvelous process film photography can be. Having a teenager at home will probably give you an advantage if you can somehow focus on the style and the way teenagers think in this technological new millennium. You may somehow find a way with your book to prove there is something more rewarding than an I-Phone app for capturing photos and those PlayStation 3´s so many kids waste entire afternoons on, can gather dust whilst they learn a much more fulfilling hobby.

I've acquired film cameras in formats 35mm to 5x7in.

I have a darkroom with enlarger and supporting gear to process and print 'em all in varying processes from silver gelatine to salt and cyanotype.

It would cost me a very large amount of money to buy:

A digital camera up to the standard of 5x7in film
Lenses for that camera.
Maybe a pro standard scanner.
A pro version of Photoshop or Lightroom or whatever.
A large format digital printer.

In short it's too expensive for me, the technology is regularly outdated, and analogue photography is a craft dammit.

See "Shop Class as Soulcraft -- An Inquiry into the Value of Work" Matthew B. Crawford.

Regards - Ross

Online, attached to this blog, would bring adsense. Crude but true.

Does typepad allow static pages of content as well as blog item posts, like wordpress does? That could possibly give a reasonable separation for the masses - although I, for one, wouldn't mind seeing the occasional Part XV in amongst the blog material as it evolves, anyway.

I think it's a great idea.

Why not sign up to the "Solo Photo Book Month" at http://www.sofobomo.org/HomePage and commit to finishing it by 31st July?

A book or booklet on Blurb would be fantastic - solve all the distribution problems - I believe you can even get an ISBN number and distribute via Amazon.

What would be amazing is a counterpoint to the lomo way of having fun with film... film photography, for fun, and *actually* looking through the viewfinder (I take my share of blame here!).

I get most of my photographic fun from repairing broken cameras, but I should really shoot more.

I think it's pretty cool that there are now so many options with which to publish almost anything. It doesn't even matter if there's an audience or if anyone would want to read it. It's an embarrassment of riches when compared to the options available to someone who wished to publish back when "digital" was not a part of the common lexicon (like back in the 1970s when film and enlargers comprised the only photographic method).

I still shoot with my Rollieflex from time to time and would appreciate reading anything you choose to write about the "old" tech in any format you ultimately decide on.

Don't those of us who grew up on film remember the amazing thrill we had when we saw the first time the enlargement print emerged from the developing tray???? A bit like seeing Saturn's rings through a telescope for the first time. But three days ago at PMA Australia, I saw my first ever 3D TV --Awkward polarised specs, and darkened pictures; I reckon it's going to flop- very difficult to look at for more than five minutes- made me nauseous. Or am I just getting to be an old curmudgeon??

There is certainly a zeitgeist out there for a new resurgance of film photography. I recently found an old Nikon F to supplement my Pentaxes and Leicas and after the recent floods here in RI my basement was empty and clean. So I have set up my darkroom again,bought some fresh chemicals and paper and am ready to relive my youth.
I hated mailing out film to be developed, but since Kodachrome is no more I have no excuse to be lazy.
I cant wait to buy your book.

David said "These are the same kids that are playing vinyl records, not as audiophilia, but to connect with a kind of imagined retro authenticity."

They are simply posers, with no sense of how good analog audio can sound, and the noise they make is far worse than modern digital.

I'm afraid their film "photography" falls into the same category: far inferior to what they could achieve with a modern digital camera.

Yes, analog can sound (or look) sublime, with enough experience, practice, and hard work. The posers are not interested.

A film photography history book sounds very interesting, especially from you, Mike, but I certainly have no interest in actually going back to hours of breathing toxic fumes in the dark while making and tossing print after print in the quest for a good one. My "lightroom" works much better.

After 26 or so years in the traditional/experimental/alternative darkroom, where process is a step by step, consequential, tactile experience, I decided I couldn't just ignore digital. I saw my father attempt go through the same transition. His attempt was unfortunately, stymied by the onset of dementia. Very soon after that I realized how steep the learning curve would be. I spent a lot of time involved in a lot of discovering what I suspect has more to do with software effects, interactions, mismatched tools, conflicting hardware, and my lack of patience with regard to the impending obsolescence of all of the above. At that point I returned to film and to the darkroom. It is still a challenge to print well, and I can continue to experiment with the way I want my prints to look. And, I am not stuck in a chair staring at a overly bright screen, like I'm doing right now.

The accompanying graphic is an enlarger. That answers the question, do 'real' photographers print?

Yeah, and I'm also waiting for a return of the "Big Band Era"...

There are plenty of big bands around. If that's what you're into, you can find them. It doesn't have to be the 'in thing'.

Yes. Please.

Ben wrote: ""Classic photography!" I think you just coined a new term there. A kind of hilarious one. "

Err, not an entirely new usage:




- and the book has gotta be letterpress!

Great idea Mike.
Don`t do it half-assed, write a proper book and have Focal Press publish it.

Darkrooms and film are now the "in" thing. I have my old darkroom stuff working better than ever; sure beats sitting in front of a computer all evening. Even my adult kids think it's really neat.

I would be happy to read and even contribute to an effort like this, but only on two conditions:

1. No false nostalgia.

2. No gratuitous use of the term "analog" to describe film photography. I really dislike that usage. I guess I think too much about this nonsense.

That said, I don't see myself ever going back into a darkroom. The chemicals always gave me a rash anyway.

Oh, I'm doing that, every bit of it short of building my own darkroom. I'm not even old enough to be nostalgic about film (at 27), but I shoot, develop and print for fun (what a concept!). And I would definitely buy your book/paper/pdf or spoken vinyl record, or whatever :)

I really hope you'll do this. And I hope it's a series of blog entries or a special paid portion of your site. Your "One Camera" and "Two Lens Kit" posts are perfect examples of how breezy, "well-thought-out but not edited to death" articles can be very informative and lead to a fantastic dialog with an engaged readership. I fear that a traditional book would take a year or two of writing, editing, setting, agonizing, etc. that would miss the point of having this wonderful site and the interactivity it allows.

Plus I'm sick of techno-photography books that are stale by the time they hit the shelf because of the lead time involved.

Dean Silliman

At the risk of sounding like a sycophant, Mike, I think the strength of your writing has carried on its shoulder a lot of material on this site that I would not personally be interested into in and out of itself. The same goes for your contributing writers (Ctein, Carl Weese, etc).

If you write well about a particular topic, the regular readers will keep on reading with gusto, the casual readers might give it a look, and the advertisers will stay happy.

How about a series of instalments, à la Dickens on your topic? Your posts on analog photography have always been well read (your review of the Zeiss Ikon RF, your one-lens-challenge, etc), so without suggesting you do a 20-days stretch of pure analog material (that's a topic for APUG.org!), if every week or so you added an instalment on the pleasures of darkroom work, then I'm sure you will have a captive audience that day, just like you have the days when TOP is about calibrating printers or understanding pixels.

Don't presume that analog is boring!

Something like a chapbook, or series of chapbooks, would be cool. I was only apprehensive that it might take your attention away from TOP postings, but I think there's no reason you couldn't preview sections of the book on TOP, and the feedback and discussion might be helpful.

Come to think of it, you've probably already written the meat of the book as TOP posts or columns for SMP or BWP. (I'm thinking of pieces like "The Glow", the guide to ebay SLR's from SMP, "Darkroom as Recreation" from TOP, etc.)

Or would that be another chapbook entirely?


I agree with most everyone here and hope you do it and that finding the right format for its release doesn't hold you back.

Personally, I need the hand holding because I don't know what I'm doing. I tend to read a lot about things I'd like to do but then I lack the self-confidence to dive in and try it. If you write it I will definitely read it and maybe it will inspire me to finally take the plunge!

Another one in the queue of nutters who would pay in advance.

That's my enlarger!

I decided to learn to print about four years ago, when I also had finally saved up enough cash to buy a camera to get serious about photography. I had been thinking of a 5D since it came out, but around that time became totally fed-up with techno-garbage, and the disposability of it all. I bought a Leica MP and a 35/2, both on your recommendation.

After starting out scanning, I'm learning to print now. It's a slow, difficult, and frustrating process for a lot of reasons, and I'd be so, so interested to read anything you write on this; it would be absolutely relevant to what I'm trying to do.

I would be very interested in learning the lineage of modern filmstocks and developer histories. there's still a small universe of B&W films and developers available, and considering the mix & match combinations, there's a lot of room for experimentation.

the Adams books are great, and the core competencies and techniques are still sound, but the actual materials available seem to have changed a bit.

if the poseurs bring money to film, why judge their motivation? there's always a chance that some of them will take it to the next step.

I don't think it's about film becoming more a "thing of the past", at all.

I think that what we're seeing is a gradual and gentle disillusionment with digital. Not so much that we're gonna give it up altogether (I'm not going to, anyway, and I don't know anyone else who is), but rather that after the first few years of excitement and instant gratification, the heady optimism that digital was set to progress to better and ever better quality has begun to wear off.

Those of us that shot film before (or alongside) digital and gradually gave up, are tending to realize that something almost intangible is missing from our digital experience. For me it's the sheer look of the medium - for others it's the more concentrated process of taking the photograph, or the isolation of the darkroom.

Whatever the reasons, I genuinely believe they're more valid than nostalgic romanticism.

ME TOO!!! All of the above (except the grousers).

Something the young and restless should know and you can teach them: film development and optical printing, especially black and white, are actually quite simple and easy once you get the hang of it. I've been doing this for several years and have never messed up a roll of film in developing and I have produced some gorgeous prints just by following fundamentals.

I think that printing digitally has quite a learning curve that may actually exceed that of b&w darkroom printing.

Of course, in about 10,000 more hours of printing I will be able to eke out an additional 10% or so of quality, but my results are lovely NOW.

Your book could help people understand the simplicities and then acquaint them with the potentials of advanced printing. A book like that with some comparisons to the costs and effort involved in digital printing might well find a market.

Or, given your talent, you could just wax eloquent on any number of linked topics and I for one would love to read it.

Book on demand of some sort would seem to be your best bet. I want the book now.

The book is a great idea. I've been dabbling in photography since I was twelve (now 67+)and would certainly buy a copy. I won't go back to the darkroom for a variety of reasons (some related to health and a bad back), but find myself missing analog cameras more and more. Just put together a 645 MF outfit that is great fun to use, but now have to come up with a hybrid workflow that is within reason. Why do any of this? To fill a need of some sort and for the fun of it.

You should pitch your book to Brooks Jensen; I would think that the Lenswork readership would be a natural fit for it (as a starting point). Just get it done before we have to read it on a screen versus hard copy, or someone has to read it to me, in the nursing home.

Let see. Film rf cameras, wet darkroom, tube diy amps (bad for darkroom though), turntable for classic vinyl ( also bad for darkroom unless you can find a nice Dual record changer that actually works). I'm also exploring metalworking (non cnc). These are some of the "classic stuff" that is in use at home. Oh, yeah one look at me and you'll figure out I'm hardly the hipster.


Perhaps you could teach Zander about it and write about that. I seem to remember that he preferred 'colours' cameras to 'greys' cameras when younger, but maybe now he has, er, seen the light.

And it is red, with a 15 Watt bulb. : )

Count me in for a pre-order as well, if you decide to publish something.

Luke said, "They are simply posers, with no sense of how good analog audio can sound, and the noise they make is far worse than modern digital."

They may well be posers -- there always were and always will be posers in both audio and photography.

But the idea that the noise analog audio makes is "far worse than modern digital...", well, I guess you haven't listened to an iPod using the little white headphones that come with it. And Bob Dylan sounds fine on any old turntable at all to me.

"I'm afraid their film "photography" falls into the same category: far inferior to what they could achieve with a modern digital camera."

A good photograph is a good photograph. If you can take a great picture using a digital camera, then you should be able to take a great picture using any camera at all. I've yet to see a good digital photograph that wouldn't look every bit as good if it had been shot on film. The inverse is also true.

If the aforementioned hipsters pick up a camera for any reason at all, even if it starts out as just a pose, that's fine by me. Some of them might turn out to be pretty good at it. The late Dennis Hopper was once a hipster, as you'll remember, but his shots turned out not bad at all.

Thanks for all the support, but no more pre-orders for me. People with long memories will recall that I got myself into big trouble with that with my first book. I contracted to have it privately published, and the company I'd hired did an incompetent job and then wouldn't refund my money. It was a success in the end, fortunately, but I ended up losing a lot of goodwill over that, and rightfully so I must say. I spent literally years making amends for it, and I'll bet there are a few people out there who are still sore at me. It was a nightmare that I never want to repeat. I still feel badly about it. That's why I'm somewhat hesitant to self-publish again.


to David S.

ditto to your comment.
I live in Los Angeles and that's exactly what I was referring to earlier. Including the AE-1 which for some reason has regained "street cred" among the younger set. Ever been to Intelligentsia on Abbott Kinney?...

To restate: we all need Mike's upcoming volume (no, not a pdf, more like a nice but affordable printed book, the kind you can take with you in the field).

Mike, you can't forget: you influenced many, many people during the PT days through your eloquent but rational writings. My Contax, Wista 4x5 and Tachihara 8x10" and my 2 LPL (6x7 and 4x5) were bought after reading your thoughts about them. And I'm very grateful for this. Thus your support for "analog" photography is powerfull.

Bauru - BR

I would personally read a 20-day stretch on analog photography. Sometimes you write about digital gear for days on end, don't you?

I also support a vinyl spoken record.

After three years of all digital I moved back to a hybrid work flow, film capture/digital scan and print. But I am now going to back to "real" photography...found my old Arista Coldlight head and am now looking for an enlarger.

I realize that with the traditional analog process, I am the software! Too much of my life is already digitized. I suspect others are feeling the same way.

@Luke ... I am one of the poser but a bit older one. I think you are right that when I start my film development, there is a significant drop immediately with the photo I took with my D200. The CV3A, M3, Hassey, Rollei, Pentax 67, Deardroff 8x10 ... are all not helping initially.

But I have no doubt that that helps a lot of me to

a) understand and appreciate more others' people's work from rangefinder, TLR, SLR (Hasselblad) to View Camera and definitely I like pictures of LensWork after my endeavour

b) it is quicker to shoot, develop and print 70+ 8x10 B&W with my Deardroff than handle the 300+ pictures I can take with my D300 and print it with my Epson

c) not artistic enough still, but I think after struggle for 3 years, I have taken pictures with my gears such as develop my 8x10 chrome and black and white etc. that I think my D200/D300/M8 cannot compare (if they are used by me)

Hence, if you do not like those posers, it is alright and if you are not one of them, even ok but that is your choice. I think we should be allowed to exist in the world. BTW, I got a few vinyl and a cheap player as I no longer have a tube amp etc. It is still better sound than my iphone mp3 ...

@Johannes: Way beyond Mono ... I have subscribed to the list and APUG and waiting for that book. But I hope Mike's book is more for fun.

I agree with many of the readers that Mike should have published one article per week and we comment to make the whole experience better. The books can have links (when it is PDF form readable in my Kindle and upcoming iPAD/iphone4). We would then have a series of small books (and some photos from either his Mamiya 7 or his old 10,000+) plus links to Mike's other articles, our comments plus other Mike's favoriate site/book/photos links.

In fact I also suggest Ctein to do the same. I am reading his Post Exposure which is very excellent, except many of the material is not with us any more. Hence, a current update would also be nice, even though he may qualify that he is no longer doing that. But his opinion I treasure. BTW, I like his birdy essay quite a bit even though someone has said it sidetracks a bit ...

If you're serious about letterpress. You'll want to check out this site: http://www.briarpress.org/

Mike wrote: "You don't need to buy an old car and work on it or restore it yourself."

No you don't, and thank God. If you enjoy driving you can pop for a modern sports car which is head and shoulders better than that old car. If you enjoy making photographs, modern digital cameras and computer image processing provide tools unmatched in the film era. I worked in a commercial darkroom in the fifties (is that possible?) and find some of this nostalgia for the "good old days" laughable.

Who said anything about "the good old days?" I didn't say that. You said that.


I read through most of the comments and glanced over the others. It would seem that almost everyone who commented is supportive of the idea. I suppose those who are not interested don't care enough to comment, or maybe they're just being polite. I cannot recall an instance where there were this many comments and not one dissent. Just an observation.

Although, technically, your comment doesn't mention if you're supportive, or dissenting. So you might have just ruined the record.

At least we know it's not you that Kee thinks is going on about the good old days.


Sorry, no need for a book about chemical photography from my side.

I'm more interested into the creative aspects of photography and digital freed me in that sense. If I look back, then only for nostalgic reasons.

I also support a vinyl spoken record.

I would like a shellac 78 RPM version.

Don't be cautious about that, I think it will be received fine on this blog. Plus, you'll be really doing something for the (re-)acceptance of silver-halide based photography. A worthy cause.
You might also think about doing this together with Ctein. His book Post Exposure is one of the best darkroom books I know of.

I love the letterpress idea! I crave more film work but "lent" my OM4 plus lenses to my nephew when he was doing an A-level in photography. He is now roaming the world with it and I do not expect to see it any time soon. Oh well, my 5DII is fun - honest - butthere are still loads of film developers in wee shops in Addis - perhaps a small investment would be appropriate!

Andrew in Addis

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