on the bright side -- was Re: Kodak B&W Paper Discontinued? News from Ilford at least...

From: Judy Seigel ^lt;[email protected]>
Date: 07/24/05-09:07:35 PM Z
Message-id: <Pine.NEB.4.63.0507242133030.154@panix2.panix.com>

On Thu, 21 Jul 2005, Matthew Miller wrote:

> I find it rather amusing that on an alt. photo list that is populated
> (mostly) with people who mix their own chemicals and coat their own paper,
> that this is such a big topic. So kodak won't make paper. Big deal. One of
> the reasons I started alt. processes was to lessen my dependency on big
> business. <insert objectionable political statement here> :)

I was thinking the same thing... which is in fact the meaning (or the main
meaning) behind the term "Post-Factory Photography" -- in the sense of
*after* the factory, as post-modernism means *after* modernism, not the
photography of factories that make posts.

Although an article in Sunday's [July 24] New York Times Arts & Leisure
section about Chris Jordan's photographs of industrial detritus does bring
other possibilities to mind. He photographs what the Times calls "Great
Big Beautiful Piles of Junk." But they are, besides the abstract graphic
power of the images, full of meaning as well... in that they "criticize
the excesses of consumerism by capturing it in minute detail." (I'd
contrast them to John Pfahl's photographs of dumps, which are not only IMO
much weaker as images, but seem, at least to me, rather dilettantish, in
that they lack strong meaning beyond the fact of "I'm so artistic I make
art from a dump".)

I thought Jordan's most stunning image (at least as reproduced in the
paper) is what looks like a vast field, maybe an acre, of discarded cell
phones, which he achieved by elaborate analog AND digital strategies,
starting with an 8x10 format camera (which the article describes as if he
were Merlin) and then noodling two negatives together digitally.

We also read that "if all the cellphones thrown out annually were
recycled, they would yield 202,000 ounces of gold (worth about $84.8
million) and keep 65,000 tons of toxic materials -- battery components and
elements like cadmium -- from landfills and incinerators."

It's hard to say, or make that I wouldn't *venture* to say, whether this
would be better managed under some other form of government than
capitalism (what do you think, Susan?), though I certainly have the
impression that socialist (or semi-socialist) governments, as in
Scandinavia, manage their environment better. That may of course be simply
because their countries are smaller and more homogeneous, hence more
easily managed.

My hunch, though, is that it's more the form of election than of the
economy -- and I blame it all on television. Once it became necessary to
buy television time to get elected, and since that is so expensive, and
the corporations can make those large contributions as most private
parties cannot, most of our legislators both red and blue are [euphemism]
kept persons of corporations, as witness the fact that they have NOT
increased fuel mileage requirements for autos, not even a teensy weensy
bit this year, while they are, ye gods, tinkering with daylight saving
hours on the theory (read "hope" or even "pretense") that they will thus
save fossil fuel, lots of luck.)

(That TV stations, or channels, or whatever you call them, get their
license from "our" government, thus selling public air for private profit,
is not this discussion, although it does tend to be overlooked, as is a
basic human characteristic, called by old process Freudians "denial.")

However, I don't mean to digress. My first point is that these
photographs in the vile pinko lying NY Times ***liberal*** newspaper of
record, look stunning. My second point is that, for all my many documented
sins, and those yet to be discovered, let alone documented, I have never
owned a cell phone, in fact still use the rotary phone nailed to my wall
in 1957, making me feel, at last, very virtuous, in this respect at least.
(Although if people didn't buy stuff, our economy would collapse, but I
don't know what "ism" would cure that, short of back to the farm-ism.)

My 3rd point is that I could well envision the photographs of scenes the
article describes, but doesn't show, of junked cars, even junked SUVs I
daresay -- presumably along the lines of the photographer's "Recycling
Yard No 1, Seattle, 2003," a scene of junked posts (although junked
*wooden* posts would be biodegradable, hence not a problem.)

As for the vanishing Kodak paper, let's look on the bright side-- as
someone pointed out, you can do emulsions, you can buy paper, it wouldn't
be the end of the world. In fact the metaphor that comes to mind is the
training wheels on the bicycle. They're a crutch, no? Maybe when you give
them up and just ride around up & down on two wheels, the biking gets
better? Or maybe by then digital printers will fully replace that pain in
the buttsky silver gelatin paper? True, they're not there yet, but they
have come a long way.

Oh, and a note to Kate -- your comment about not having seen the "real
thing" when you began gum printing made me think, what the hell is the
"real thing" in gum? IME, gum styles tend to be so different that it's
possible to possibly divine the printer from the print. You might do that
with SG from the content, like, say, a Solgado or a Wegman, but not so
easily I daresay from the print.

OK, that probably is the bright side...

cheers,

Judy
Received on Sun Jul 24 21:07:45 2005

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