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Saturday, 01 December 2012


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My sister used to tend his grave in front of the factory park ~ a choice job back in the heyday. I wonder what will happen to it?

"Also a distant cousin of mine, and I am really not joking."

So THAT's where you got all your money.

[I'm afraid Kodak's gotten a lot more of my money than I've gotten of theirs. [g] --Mike]

I have heard this term used before about film photographers becoming "blacksmiths" although even today there are still people that practice the fine art of blacksmithing, so there is hope for those that still shoot film! although, I have though been called a dinosaur, that actually happened when I was photographing at Lake Louise, Alberta with my view camera, I thought it was pretty funny.

Not going to link to the book? Ha! You already did - his website has a link to buy the book on Amazon! Book looks good - goes on my list.
What's your eBay user-thing? I'll watch for your stuff in future.

Thank you for the heads-up to Robert Burley's project, Mike. There's some good work in there. Bought!

The best such projects shine onto the "and what about?"s that arise during conversations about the deceased venture/era/technology. Ex: What about all the little film labs? What about all the little photo studios that could not make the leap? Etc. Burley seems to be covering some of those bases.

I do not have the emotional or sentimental attachment to film that so many people my age seem to have. I do still shoot some film for fun and diversion. But I see Burley's work as a testimonial to two forces. First, to the various consequences of the business world's group-think arrogance, complacency, and denial.

Second, to the sheer displacement power of tectonic changes to business environments. The extinction of film is the rough analogue to the imaginary invention of teleportation. What if people and goods could suddenly just be zapped to destinations without the need for planes, trains, boats, or automobiles? That's basically what happened to photography. And Kodak just denied the change until it was too late.

"Not going to link to the book? Ha! You already did - his website has a link to buy the book on Amazon!"

Right, but if you buy it from his link, he makes the Affiliate fee. If you were to buy it from my link, I'd make the Affiliate fee. That's all I meant.


Here's the awful part. I'm sorry in advance. Mea Culpa.
Some sinister part of me looks 40 years into the future, when in a period of a few months-no doubt-what is then photography dissolves in a flash. Today's 20 somethings, then in their 60's, may remember observing older folks literally weeping over film and darkrooms and papers and textures and smells and feels and....
And there's a lot more that won't fit into the click of a cellphone camera, that I hope manages to survive.

Blacksmithing (I'm talking about putting shoes on horses here) and buggywhip making are nice stable businesses to be in these days.

"going fast or being stopped never killed anyone, it's the sudden change from one to the other that causes all the problems" some racing driver who's name I forget

Soon black and white chemical photography will become a nice little business for whoever survives. I don't know if color film manufacturing will scale down as gracefully.

"What if people and goods could suddenly just be zapped to destinations without the need for planes, trains, boats, or automobiles? "

Well telecommunications and electronic media have certainly changed the need to move people and documents, but 3D printing is going to make all the technological changes of the last 100 years seem like the warmup act.

Mike, you are a distant cousin of mine, and I am really not joking. Matter of fact, all your readers are distant cousins of yours, and I am really not joking. It occurs to me that this is one thing (the only thing?) that Creationists and Evolutionists can agree upon, and I am really not joking!

I remember as a kid getting a good laugh out of those Japanese soldiers hiding out for years and years on some Pacific island, refusing to comprehend World War II was over. Strange to think that it's going to be me, toiling away in my darkroom long after they finally pull the plug on film.

Bought the book, by the way. I guess I'm a sucker for punishment.

Mike, I used to be a winemaker, a craft which to my mind at least greatly parallels photography, Both start with sunlight.
Just sayin.

I'm 63 and just don't care for digital. The sheer tactile pleasure of fine mechanical cameras. (And when I say MECHANICAL that is what I mean! NOT mechanically propelled but electronically governed!) The handling, processing, proofing, printing of film. I just can't give it up. It's physical, it's real. You can touch it, smell it, taste it, hear it, curse it, hate it and love it.

But; 00111010100001110001011000011101010100011110010101110011000010......and on and on....

No thanks.

"Good analogy. Photo-Blacksmiths..."

I read somewhere that darkroom work is really metallurgy, so 'blacksmithing", as a term for the whole process, makes sense, and as something even closer than analogy.

In a post-apocalyptic world (which by some reckoning is just 3 weeks away), everything digital will vanish into the ether. "Photo-blacksmiths" will re-appear as latter-day Lascaux artists. After the survivors have sorted out their basic needs and have had their fill of graffiti.

Optimistically, if mankind survives long enough on this Earth (or its extra-terrestrial colonies): what will 2D capture look like?

I don't think 3D capture will take hold even with the Nth generation of 3D printers. Nobody wants their living rooms or spaceship cabins looking like Madame Tussaud's. Holograms or VR will be good enough to suspend disbelief, but that's motion picture and digital. As 3D beings, our need for tangible 2D "stills" will remain unsated.

Humans will only appreciate 3D capture if they evolve into 4D beings.

(Come to think of it: If the 4th dimension is time, everyone will be good at "street" or "sports" "photography". If one misses a decisive moment shot, she can always go back in time and take another shot at it.)

Just saying.

I have not read the book but the review gave me an impression that the focus miss eg how fujifilm survive. yes, we only now have iiford and fujifilm. still, even if some like kodachrome but by and large it has been replaced by velvia, not digital. it is problem of kodak cannot adjusting to niche marketing. like in the novel Foundation, the Empire lost for being too large. we hope instead of just crying over split milk to pay attention more to for film and instant one like proj impossible on top of agfa(?), iiford etc as small niche. feed the small fish in a smaller fond and hope it survive. not to give the feel that film is dead and give up. may be it is just soviet union dead and so ...

What John Robison said. (And I happen to be the same age.)

My wife and I are purchasing a new home, a smallish ranch style, the main purpose of which is to give us "one-floor living". But having a full basement, I am once again able to have a real darkroom. I am pretty sure I am at least as excited about that as having bedrooms on the main floor.

I have really missed having a space purpose-made and "perfect" for processing film, missed printing, holding real/optical prints, being able to put them on the wall.

Analog photography is magical!

I read you blog everyday, please keep up the good work!


The cover photo of Robert Burley's book sure brings back memories. The darkroom at Lambton College in Sarnia, where I spent many hours back in the '70s, had one of those revolving darkroom doors. It may still be there; the college still offers a 1-term course in B&W film photography, but it's a non-credit course. No pixels, no diploma.

Didn't see any blacksmithing courses.

In the comment above where I mention 3d printers , I'm not thinking of printers that make sculptures of something that you photograph ( They already exist. You can shoot and generate the source file on an iPhone , and there are at least two companies making 3D photographs where you get a little full color sculpture of yourself. There was a "Sculpture by Solid Photography " portrait studio in NYC in 1977 and there was a french company that was making photo based sculptures in the 1880's . http://www.wtec.org/loyola/rp/03_01.htm I'm in walking distance of at least two 3D printer factories )

What I'm talking about is when consumer 3d printers start making cameras.

Oh, and that link is pretty interesting if you don't know the history.

That was supposed to say companies making 3D photobooths with this link


pushed the wrong button

And yet, there are still blacksmiths. I know a whole bunch of them because my place of employ (Penland School of Crafts) teaches blacksmithing, along with glassblowing, woodworking, wet photography, lithography, and other now completely unnecessary but aesthetically and personally satisfying pursuits.

this is a better analysis


I purchased a copy of his book, adn the photographs are stunning. I think it has recorded a important part of history before it disappeared not just from our view, but from our minds..

I'd recommend it as a great read for anyone..

Toronto-based TOP readers might like to know that Robert Burley is holding his book launch here on December 5. Info at the link if you're interested:


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