Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The Business Insider has an article about a guy producing photos for a daily newspaper using an iPhone for a camera & Instagram for editing. Granted, daily newspaper photography isn't usually great, yesterday's papers are used for lining bird cages, washing windows & drop cloths etc…. But is using a phone & Instagram something to put on a resume?
The skills needed to put a picture in the paper used to mean something and there were a lot of skills & tools needed to get that picture into ink on paper. First, you needed a camera (& a guy who could use it)
Then you needed a darkroom to develop the film.
Then an enlarger to make your photo print. Then you needed to get a halftone made which required a process camera
These suckers required 2 rooms & then another darkroom to develop the film. To make the halftone dots on the film, you would mout a glass plate in front of the film. The glass plate had cross hatched diagonal lines scribed into it. All this photographic work was done by hand - no processors.
If you wanted to do local tone manipulation on the image there were a number of "dodge and burn" techniques available to the photographer but at this stage, the job would go to a dot etcher.
I couldn't find a picture of a dot etcher but every one I knew was a little off, so this one will do. They would live up to their name by applying a weak solution of potassium ferricyanide to the film to "etch" the dots on the film. Then the film would go to a stripper (I couldn't find an acceptable image) & then on to a platemaker
and then off to the press.
It was a long & tedious job & took not only a lot of people to do it but a lot of people to make the tools & materials to make it all work. Now a guy snaps the pic, sloshes it into a layout program, sends it to the press & a plate is burned, processed & mounted and printing commences.
It was a strange feeling when I saw my darkroom dismantled. I started to understand the saying, "I've forgot more than you'll ever know".
A&B, Dektol, Rubylith, Wratten 1A, Robertson, Crosfield, Scitex, dragon's blood, that weird photo transfer product whose name I forget? PMS? PMT?
Putting this crap on a resume would just confuse the average HR clown nowadays.


VisuaLingual said...

I don't know... I think it's cool that all this technology is becoming smaller and lighter, and that's impacting photojournalism, for sure. It enables different kinds of images -- quicker transmission, harder shots, etc.

Apples and oranges, my friend.

Quimbob said...

My point wasn't so much that the old way was better than the new way but that the old way produced a lot of workers who were considered skilled and could walk into pretty much any bank & get a home loan. If you try that now, telling a loan officer you can use an iPhone & Instagram, you'll get laughed out of the bank.
FWIW, John Warnock is a personal hero.