Durst – asking for instructions

Searching the web is easy; too easy. Getting answers is easy, also, too easy. The correct answer is rarely as easy as the online experts make it seem. Google catalogs the words, it doesn’t have a knowledge engine, so can’t access how valid the website is. The assumption of links, references is that more links, more use, means that it is correct. Actually, it means there is a popularity rank to that site. There is a path, a cliche of words. The error of this is circular. More and more seekers are sent to the tent at the end of the well travelled path.

Another example has played out on Large Format Forum:

I asked and was told assembly was “really hard”

as it turns out, it is actually quite easy. Needing only one person, a 24mm socket wrench and knowledge. Reminder, these enlargers were sold without installation support. Photographers with limited mechanical skill put them together in basements, garages all across Europe and America.

the answer:

 put the carrier on the column. 
Because of the spring, turn the main screw  on the left of the arm) to the left, holding it tight, so the weight is released allowing it to be easily mounted. 
Next, lift the (now released of tension) smaller clamp and place it on the lower column, 
turn the big screw back to the right.
 You have a functional baseboard lift mechanism.

Simple enough. So, why does a website that takes pride in keeping analog photography alive, as well as having an elite gathering of knowledgeable sharing avid photographers often (always?) the answer wrong? We already know why you are sent there. google just works that way.

Simple Facts: the thread that gave raise to this example went on for 5 pages, protracted over 9 months. The participants were ones most often seen answering questions on Durst and other darkroom equipment. They post on photrio, as well. Just gathering a rough count shows over 750 threads concerning Durst enlargers on Large Format Forum. That is a count of threads, not posts. That is a whole lot of ‘text’ to get through to find much of value, much of immediate use to someone setting out on a darkroom practice.

Who answered? A German company that refurbishes enlargers.

Masking Ignorance

among the drewids

some names are changed to protect the foolish from direct embarrassment
// post of equipment available for sale by friend and expert//

// then Call
I’ll try to keep my ears open. I am frequently in correspondence with young folks wanting to learn general masking, either b&w, or now, color neg. Condit gear was the best, and with some patience, someone will need it. I’ve successfully turned some of them on to similar offerings.
Getit while you can! Might be a good idea to note general condition, since matched, clean gear
is what one needs. Are the various punches and registration pins all matched? Drew

// then Response
Dear Drew,

Forgive my obtuseness, but I’m not sure what “matched” means. I can
tell you that this is all gear I was using to make 4 x 5 separations
for the past 20 years, so if that answers your question, good. If
not, you’ll have to put in terms I understand.

Clean? Of course it’s not clean. It’s darkroom equipment that’s been
in use for two decades by me and who knows how long before that (I
got it used). It works just fine, but cosmetically? It’s used. So
far as I could ever tell, nothing is damaged, save for the broken end
on one of the four glass inserts (two duplicate sets) that I
mentioned in the original e-mail, which doesn’t intrude into the
working area for 4 x 5 seps.

Again, though, I may be misunderstanding what you’re concerned about.

If someone is seriously interested, I can make photographs and send them along.

I’d much rather sell it through our circle than put it up on eBay.
Much less hassle, and I prefer to deal with friends rather than
strangers (or, at least, acquaintances of friends).

——– added edits from notepad.

 lookers lurkers

 ratio: 178 / 20
 atLuLa claim 1.2 mm  yet most onlin 750 in 2008 april 07

 all about camera

 What lens mostly used for abstract or macro with LF?
 he first one reminds me of an astro-photograph, a nebula or some-such.
 Ultrastable color system of Charles Berger, and about Tod Gangler of Seattle, and perhaps John Bentley
 why they resist change
 sunk cost. lost opportunity. failed skillset.
 location dependent subjects
 opposed to loud space. eye movement
 Lik Briot LuLa style is a shock to their reverence. closet conservatives

 Re: Ansel Adams: Do you fight or embrace his influence on your landscapes?
 As I think Robert Adams said somewhere (might be "Beauty in Photography" or it might have been in personal correspondence), photography is always new because the world we photograph is always new from moment to changing moment. But he was big on the idea that photography should be about the world and not our own petty preoccupations.
 My bigger point with all this ... that the more you're aware of your influences, the more choice you have in how to respond to them. 
 One choice is to actively expand the sphere of your influences. Which I think is called education.
 — early(iest) post
 aug 2004 about schneider 210mm lens
 and the only active “expert” merg ross
 aug 2002 begins with request for shopping source 

Expert seeking sales counter.