What do you call the earnest workers – those weekend, and retirement photographers – practicing diligently for years, but seemingly unable to provide an original motive. They are the faithful. Buying books; going to special exhibits; taking workshops, happy to hear tales of Ansel.

Zoners; Double- A? They think of themselves as keepers of a secret – the Books.

Amateur; dilettante; enthusiast; devotee- every sector has them, and these terms, in dictionary purity, don’t mark them as darkly as I do.  How about Three Leggers – they always fret over the perfect tripod. Or Camera Baggers — that too is a matter of infinite concern. There is no end to seeking perfection, or requesting group support in these matters of taste and style.

Why Classify

Because I need a way to think of them as a group- a single entity with common characteristics. Classification provides distinctions. They classify themselves — they call themselves a name, even joking that they look different, dress differently — or, sometimes that they should wear a distinctive flower to announce themselves to others – this in the case of public lectures. The public lectures probably only being attended by that particular sub-culture, even though the topic of photography, or art is interesting to broad range of people, the Doubles shun topics outside their special interest of photographic use.

Subject First

They cling to a subject version of photography. Grudgingly they have split into separate herds – with inbreeding discouraged, but permitted – There is the Digital, Luminous group and the Analog, Large Film group. They are the Photographic Gap – full of hyphenated processes, aka, workflow.


These Notices

The caution are notices to travelers — stear heads at a water hole. Notice that if you drink enough, or often, you will perish. Treat it before consuming.

Gossip As Knowledge

Specialist forums occupy a large part of the internet; they are presumed to provide a place for increasing the knowledge of a field. Photography has always been an “outlet” for the temporary, ie, weekend artist. Serving that thirst, acting as bridge between seller and consumer has rewarded many people with small skill but large appetite. Those folks formerly  put on workshops, now they host web forums for the seeker.

as wee all know: There’s a Seeker Born Every Minute.

LFF Thread
thread link here

 What Knowledge

Caution: restricting topic restricts growth, resulting in in-breeding, as well as in-fighting

If you restrict your discussion to technical in a field with no growth, you have no growth. You have reached saturation. Adding more examples of addition doesn’t increase the field of mathematics.

The newer members come to the photography forums for two broad reasons. They contribute, first as question – easy ones. But who answers them? The stays are likely the ones to answer first, and frequently. Who are they? What questions can they answer; do they answer?

Q: point me to technical, and aesthetic books limited to Large Format

The first responder was a high-post participant. He provided the technical book list, which was repeated by several of the later posters, who, apparently, hadn’t read the answers already provided.

  • ‘Looking at Photographs’ John Szarkowski, 1973 MOMA
  • ‘Landscape: Theory’ published in 1980 by Lustrum Press
  • ‘The Nature of Photographs’ by Stephen Shore. 1998
  • “Andreas Gursky’ MOMA catalog from 2001, essay by Peter Galassi

28 year span of opinion about photographs. The time period covered the rise, as well as the changed status of photography as an artform held within established museums. It is a good answer – its only problem – it is incomplete, but it will not be added to by the Large Format participants. They don’t grow that way, preferring instead the procrastinator’s aesthetics. They switched from answering the question to opining about a (famous) photographer atop his car with, keeping it large format oriented, a big camera.

Enter the discussion about Dog Houses in the Boardroom. When a topic the meeting members can’t discuss is broached, there is little discussion, however, when a topic of little consequence is raised, everyone can, and will, offer a point on the matter. Group unity with the result being that no important matter is ever settled; no important question answered. This produces an organization that is comfortable but static; passive. It is at its end stage.

Film is dying  because the Forums are Dead-ends – or, maybe Film is at a dead-end so the forums are the gathering ground of the bachelor herds – those without heirs, just stains and limp standards.

What More

There are two current resources that could be used to enlarge the imagination of a View Camera photographer:

  • “Lori Nix — The Power of Nature” ISBN-10: 3868322744
  • “Unspeaking Likeness”  Photographs by Arne Svenson.  ISBN-10: 1931885729