Sparks Fly

when amateur experts collide. If nobody is right… let’s have a fight.

Power Struggles

Does the answer matter as much as winning, dominating among, what are essentially bullies in boast mode. Aging forums traverse a standard decay. It takes very little to cause the inmates to stomp and shout. So, what happened?

technology designed to serve industry across many nations with differing standards of safety.

Professional labs often operated all day, every day. One workstation was used by different operators on different shifts.

Design standards matured. Knowledge among users of different products was passed to all the involved vendors.

Salesmen talk. Hard to keep secrets that are for sale to anyone at a trade show or a reception room.

Could it get you there? The knowledge thread. Only if you already knew the answer; you’d do fine picking through the several pages collected over many years. And read German. The fact is, most of the knowledgeable from the chemical era began retiring in the 80s. Those most successful labs were being sold by the late 80s. It was clear that growth was over. By 1990 anyone with an accountant knew: the best is done. And asking: what comes next, if they were too young or too poor to stop, to make the next step.

Enlargers are elegant solutions to a simple need. Make this bigger. Make a projection. A light and a lens is all that’s needed.

Mechanical engineering improved over several decades to hold and position the film to be enlarged. How to do this cheaply yet durably. Divide the market into the casual and the commercial. From the 50s onward safety standards matured, so did manufacturing experience and supporting industry with more and more solutions.

The hobbiest’s casual darkroom is likely a converted space, perhaps a shared space. The car, the bar, the enlarger, that spare freezer, all stuck away. And subject to accidents. Water makes a great conductor.

hard to get agreement among them, when they don’t even keep agreement with themself. over time they switch opinion — seems to be based upon who they agree with not that it matters. none of them are the ones who have to fix the broken, possibly dangerous, device.

Lonely, a bully, and a know-it-all meet online to answer questions of the naive. Bullfrogs at a roadside puddle.


Amateurs need to explain, more to themselves than to others, why they ended where they did. It can’t be because of their lack, it must be something you’ve done.

“Galdston was surprised that Evans made better pictures than he did, even though Evans didn’t know much about f-stops and shutter speeds.”

The difference between Iago Galdston and Walker Evans is obvious.