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[teacherartexchange] photog curriculum


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Mon Apr 10 2006 - 14:43:36 PDT

Mike writes:

> We are trying to do both at our schools. I hopefully will be doing
> basic b&w
> photography again at my junior high in the ninth grade. We've just
> goten some
> computer workstations but the "magic" of gelatin silver prints is
> still pretty
> strong. Many kids after initially struggling to learn to make a
> print really
> embrace the craftsmanship and artistry involved in making a print.
> And that
> whole watching pa print develop in front of you is pretty much
> magic. Running a
> print off of the printer is not even close.
> With Kodak's lack of support for the future of wet photography,
> let's hope
> it doesn't die in the classroom.

I totally agree that the digital in no way compares to the "magic" of
the chemical darkroom. This year I started a new Digital Design
class and all we felt was frustration with technical problems. I have
good computers and good support, yet still every day it was one
failure or another. Photoshop is wonderful. But lets face it.
Anybody can hit a few buttons and make something alluring without
knowing a heck of a lot. I will continue to 'grow" the digital, but
it is a different mind set from the chemical. I find the kids that
love the chemical do so love the "magic." And they especially love
the accomplishment of making an excellent print with all the problems
and concerns the chemical pose. I think they truly understand that
they "make" something in the darkroom. Whereas, I find on the
computer they can hardly tell you which button they pushed to get the
"great" effect. Until I learn how to teach them to effectively push
buttons and not be so enamored with the photoshop filters, I feel
like I only am allowing hit and miss and happy accidents. And, I
guess there is a place for that, too.

Yes, the craftsmanship of making a great chemical print does not yet

I just got a brand new beautiful large darkroom in my new building. I
am determined that the program survives. And yes, the commercial
support is disappearing. Kodak, Agfa, Minolta, Nikon ---- the names
drop from the B&W support everyday.

I deal with Freestyle Photo in California. The are committed to
continuing educational support. I have found that their "Arista"
brand name chemicals, film and paper are very good. ( and
affordable) Check them out. I know of no other place with the
inventory as they have. They are very accommodating to teachers. and
their is much good information on their site.

Last week I gave my students a multiple-exposure print problem a la
Jerry Uelsmann . They struggle and struggle with this, but I can't
tell you the sense of reward and pride they feel when they are
successful. "Masking" is easily accomplished in Photoshop, but
when they can do it the old fashioned way --- well, they truly
beam with pride.

I will battle to keep my film and enlargers for a long time.


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