Darkroom Privileges

taking pride, and gaining privilege.

Working in the darkroom was necessary for most photographers in the 20th century. There were some who used it as relaxation; a place apart from others. It served as backdrop to many photographer’s conversation. Craft remain the common conversation topic; often the only thing photographers speak about, can speak about, or will permit as point of conversation is craft.

They don’t, oddly, engage in big definition of what they mean by ‘craft.’ — That being obvious. A big silent gestured “you know” being enough.

Honor, prestige for something in your life. Most people are printers, not printmakers. They do think they are the grand ones; those who have mastered the work. What they, the weekenders, committed workshopaholics don’t understand, or won’t say, is they are not the Sammallahti’s of the world. They make prints; this doesn’t make them printmakers. Not even the Sammallahti’s are printmakers.

Pentti Sammallahti (born 1950 in Helsinki)

“For [Sammallahti] making prints is part of his art. The frog peers from a silver-gelatine image taken from a black-and-white negative, one of his preferred techniques, but he experiments ceaselessly.”

  • The Russian Way.
  • Pentti Sammallahti.  Photographs by Pentti Sammallahti. Text by jukka Mallinen and Taneli Eskola. Musta taide/Finnfoto, Helsinki, 1996. 
  • Pentti Sammallahti. Photographs by Pentti Sammallahti. Blue Sky Gallery, Portland, 2001.
  • Pentti Sammallahti. Photographs by Pentti Sammallahti. Nazraeli Press, Tucson, 2002.
  • Archipelago. Finnish Landscapes. Photographs by Pentti Sammallahti. Helsinki, 2004.  
  • Photo Poche 103: Pentti Sammallahti  Photographs by Pentti Sammalahti. With an introduction by Gerard Mace. Actes SUD, Paris, 2005
  • Ici Au Loin. Photographs by Pentti Sammallahti. Actes Sud, 2012.
  • Here Far Away. Photographs by Pentti Sammallahti. Dewi Lewis Publishing, Manchester, 2012.
  • Des Oiseaux. Photographs by Pentti Sammallahti. Text by Guilhem Lesaffre. Editions Xavier Barral, Paris, 2018
  • Me Kaksi.  Photographs by Pentti Sammallahti. Atelier EXB, 2021.

Craft is certainly a part of any doing, making; it isn’t the only thing, just an early, and frequent thing. A point of conversation.

Art or Craft
easy to tell
when you look at a photograph, do you ask what lens was used?
-- you’re “craft”
If those are the key questions you ask after years, then you aren’t in the conversation about art.

craft is conservative
the hobby world is like the big store Hobby Lobby
conservative imagers

skill badges around the making of items for gift and sale

reduced range of variance (happens in all learning - *shops)

even across medium : watercolor, photography; the image modeled to judge ‘art level’ is siilar or same. rules applied to guide the selection of subject, topic treatment set out the parameters of skill exercised.
the feedback : learn do see is the same
the training corpus guides them.

craft poles
Arbus --- Porter
Arbus -- Adams

style, demeanor
mode of action, interaction within the world outside the frame
experience of world produces actions within the frame.

worst of singers makes a mannerism of song

art isn’t an exhibition of craft
I don’t shoot film because it is harder, slower, better, longer lasting... none of those things. I shoot film because I like the cameras and understand the process to a great depth with many thousand hours acquiring.
I prefer digital because of the greater flexibility, responsiveness and likely future growth. It also is much more amenable to direct, same process alterations.

photography, by 1890, had demonstrated that difficulty of task wasn’t the catalyst of art./

Art isn’t a craft fair, no matter what the camera salesman says.

craft online
not locate silver mine, or build corona discharge multi-slot coater

but log into a forum of unknowns and ask if they know what you don’t
ask where to buy something.

craft sets your limits; delimits your imitation range
craft can’t be hired?