In college I took some photography electives and photographed intermittently in the late 1980’s, then retired my camera and darkroom for 17 years. In 2006 I decided to start back in.
Traditional photographic tools and techniques are important to me and seem consistent with my subject matter. Taken with a wooden field camera or a 35mm camera, images are made using black & white film and paper processed for longevity in my darkroom.
Thoughts on Traditional Process
After traveling to photograph and discovering that promising negatives are spoiled due to exposure or developing faults, or after spending days in the darkroom trying to create a good print from a film negative, I have to ask myself why I don’t abandon film and darkroom and convert to digital like everyone else. Some of my favorite photographs are made digitally via advantages and efficiencies that render what I’m doing obsolete (and downright masochistic!). And it's discouraging that brands of film and paper are slowly being discontinued as demand for them drops.
Basically I don't want to have to become expert in constantly outdated hardware and software tools and manufacture pictures using a mouse and printer. Somehow that seems too sterile and convenient to me. Well done traditional silver photography is very difficult. I admire tradition and embrace the challenge and satisfaction of making prints by hand. It’s my hope and belief that the increasingly rare darkroom silver gelatin print will hold more value to some people. At least it does to me! However, I acknowledge that what matters in the end is the finished image in a frame, regardless of how it was made and a lot of what is made today is just not possible with traditional equipment and technique. But I stubbornly plug away in the dark (literally and figuratively) in my own little world.
I look at it this way: A car salesman might say that for getting from point A to point B bikes and horses are obsolete and that cars have every advantage, which is obvious. However I want to go to point B or even C and I like bikes and horses for getting there even if it’s a lot of effort To me, the ride is important.