PDA

View Full Version : Photography



katiemac
10-08-2009, 11:12 AM
One of my characters is a photographer. Struggling late 20s guy, so he mostly just takes photos for wedding announcements, that kind of thing. I myself don't know much about photography beyond a class in high school.

I'm not sure how ridiculous it might be for a guy on low income to still be using traditional methods (dark room, developing solution), but he's kind of stuck in the past so I like the idea of him still using that method. I also like the idea of him having an old camera, maybe something his dad used to own. Doesn't need to be expensive (probably better off that it isn't), but I don't know what this would look like or how it would work.

If he had a makeshift dark room in his apartment, what would he need? What would the setup and process be like? Is this an expensive upkeep?

For what it's worth, I'm fine with him 'going digital' for things like the wedding photos, but for his personal projects he'd use traditional methods. He also doesn't really have a major computer setup.

Photography itself won't feature all the prominently in the story, so no big issues in terms of getting really detailed but I'm just fishing for points I might not know to include since I'm not that familiar with the work.

Thanks. :)

RobinGBrown
10-08-2009, 12:42 PM
I'm a photographer, almost exclusively digital but I do have an appreciation for film.

Assuming your story is set right now then any photographer using film is going to be dedicated and knowledgeable, perhaps obsessive. Home developing of film has practically disappeared over the last ten years, becasue digital is a lot cheaper and easier, even without a computer.

Being a photographer is also about being a salesperson - just like being a writer is also about being a salesperson. No sales = no work.

Your best bet for technical details (i.e. chemicals used and the precise process of development) is just to consult wikipedia.

If it's a specific technique question then feel free to post here or PM.

stephenf
10-08-2009, 12:53 PM
I've used makeshift Darkrooms in the past .You can blackout windows using polythene, so Idly a room with just one window, to make things easy.A darkroom is not completely dark ,you need a safety light, usually red. You do need a bit of space for a enlarger ,to print the prints,and for the trays of chemicals .You also need to wash the prints so running water is useful .A bathroom is ideal but you do need a plug for your enlarger and most bathrooms are too small But you can place a board on the bath making it in to a low bench .You don't need to wash the prints in the dark so you can use a bathroom or kitchen just for washing. The prints need to be dried and in most films you see the prints hanging on a line.In fact most photographers used a print Dryer . Digital did not kill home processing,it was colour.Not many people printed colour photos at home.It was too expensive and needed more skill.

the addster
10-08-2009, 06:04 PM
I'm not terribly dedicated or knowledgeable, but possibly a bit obsessive. I still use film and several old cameras.

A good choice for something his Dad might have used could be a something in the Nikon F series. They've been around since the late fifties and remained fairly popular for years. A lot of folks are still using them. Tons of accessories and lenses worked with those, and they can still be repaired fairly easily. Leica and Ricoh are also possibilities, though you have to be truly obsessive to use either one.

You might even think about giving him a medium or large format camera is you want him to be using something that has been pretty much relegated to artsy type photography.

katiemac
10-08-2009, 11:29 PM
Thank you! The more I find out the more I know the character picked himself a very fitting career.


Assuming your story is set right now then any photographer using film is going to be dedicated and knowledgeable, perhaps obsessive. Home developing of film has practically disappeared over the last ten years, becasue digital is a lot cheaper and easier, even without a computer.

Obsessive. I like that.


You don't need to wash the prints in the dark so you can use a bathroom or kitchen just for washing. The prints need to be dried and in most films you see the prints hanging on a line.In fact most photographers used a print Dryer . Digital did not kill home processing,it was colour.Not many people printed colour photos at home.It was too expensive and needed more skill.

Thanks, good points. I'll probably make him use the bathroom for washing the prints, then, to illustrate his current setup isn't ideal in any way. And although for whatever reason I pictured his prints being black and white, now I know why. Color is definitely too expensive for him. (And it explains why in my high school class we only ever used black and white!)


You might even think about giving him a medium or large format camera is you want him to be using something that has been pretty much relegated to artsy type photography.

I look into these. Thanks!

stephenf
10-09-2009, 01:46 PM
If money is an issue,large format cameras would have to be a nonstarter .The Film is too expensive .There are some anti digital photography enthusiasts called lomographers .They like to use Russian made Lomo Cameras that are very basic and cheep.Luckily there is a lot of stuff on the Internet about lomography, if your interested.

RJK
10-09-2009, 07:11 PM
I got into hobby photography 40 years ago. Among others, I used a Mamiya C3 twin lens reflex camera. You look down into the viewfinder and the image is upside down. manual cocking shutter, manual focusing, manual film wind, The negatives are 2 1/4 inch square (on a roll). A real dinosaur, but it was what a professional would use in his studio. I still have it around here somewhere. I bought several attachments for it, wide angle lens, telephoto lens, inverter viewfinder, strobe flash unit, etc. I used to rent (and sometimes borrow) a darkroom, so I never had one of my own, so I can't help you there.

WriteKnight
10-09-2009, 07:22 PM
Bathroom is definitely the prefered go-to for a darkroom setup in an apartment. They will have plugs for the enlarger. I used to have a board that I put across the tub, held the enlarger and the Developer, Stop and Fix trays, then the wash was on the sink with the little 'hose tube' connected to the faucet, and the trey spilled into the sink. Hung the prints from a shower rod.

In the seventies and to date, Black and White paper came in RC versions. This was 'resin coated' - meaning they were coated with a kind of plastic - all you needed to do to dry them was hit them with a hair dryer. Much faster and less of a problem then the old drum dryers.

I have a screenplay where one of my characters is a bit of a Luddite. HATES digital and still shoots his personal stuff on film. So it's not an unlikely sort of characteristic. Think of the people who hunt out and acquire VINYL records, and TUBE amplifiers... the world is analogue, not digital after all.

Large format refers (typically) to negative that come in 'sheets' - 4x5 or 8x10 - very expensive and difficult to work with in a bathroom environment. Medium Format refers to the roll film cameras - 620 and 120 film. Mamiya made some good medium format camera. Rolleiflex was a little more expensive - and of course Hassleblad was the top of the line camera.

Plenty of us old 'film photographers' left around. I work in telvision now - but my start was in still photography.

He'd definitely be working only in black and white - color is expensive, and the tolerance for keeping the chemicals at the right temperature requires a dedicated darkroom.

RobinGBrown
10-09-2009, 11:45 PM
It's been a while since I looked but I imanagine it's still possible to pick up the Russian copy of Hasselblad on ebay very cheaply - but I've forgotten the name.

If your guy is on a budget and wants to do medium format then thatys the place to go.

Remember that with medium format cameras you look down from above them (the viewfinder is in the top) and they are held close to your chest for stability, whereas SLRs are held up to the face and looked 'through'. This is a very significant difference between the two and not something you'd know unless you had used both.

katiemac
10-12-2009, 04:12 AM
Remember that with medium format cameras you look down from above them (the viewfinder is in the top) and they are held close to your chest for stability, whereas SLRs are held up to the face and looked 'through'. This is a very significant difference between the two and not something you'd know unless you had used both.

Definitely would have omitted the top viewfinder. Thanks!


Bathroom is definitely the prefered go-to for a darkroom setup in an apartment. They will have plugs for the enlarger. I used to have a board that I put across the tub, held the enlarger and the Developer, Stop and Fix trays, then the wash was on the sink with the little 'hose tube' connected to the faucet, and the trey spilled into the sink. Hung the prints from a shower rod.

I'll consider this. I'm trying to figure what would come across worse ... running back and forth between the bathroom and another room, or being in a too-cramped bathroom. Either will be fine... I'll see if the bathroom-only scenario makes sense.


If money is an issue,large format cameras would have to be a nonstarter .The Film is too expensive .There are some anti digital photography enthusiasts called lomographers

Knowing the term makes it immensely easier to Google! Thanks.


A real dinosaur, but it was what a professional would use in his studio. I still have it around here somewhere. I bought several attachments for it, wide angle lens, telephoto lens, inverter viewfinder, strobe flash unit, etc.

So probably wouldn't be a good option for someone who doesn't really have a studio? Any personal projects would be outdoors-y stuff. Not very portable?


Thanks! I really appreciate the responses.