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End of Darkrrom (long)


From: Jude & Frank (jgrochowski_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Jun 20 2004 - 00:14:56 PDT

Hi all,
    This is an interesting thread and I will toss in my 2 cents....
    First of all, some of you may know I started teaching photo about 5 years ago and it has been the most incredible stretch of my teaching career-prior to that, I had no experience with it & after 22 years of teaching more traditional HS courses, I was ready for the challenge. I've loved it & so it has a special place in my heart (also I had hoped to enthusiastically 'ride' my darkroom to retirement, if ya know what I mean).
    PBS put out a video a few years ago titled 'American Photography: A Century of Images' (or some such). The most striking statement in that video-almost chilling to me-is a piece towards the end, titled Deleting Visual Memory. In this part, the subject of (at that time, emerging) digital photography is being discussed and the photojournalist assigned to the White House, who broke the Monica Lewinsky story, states that 'lately when he shoots at the White House, more and more photographers are shooting digital; they no longer have rolls of film to borrow'. He talks about the practice of these photographers who return to their studios, view the day's shots and delete the ones they feel are of no potential use.
    He said there was a point where he recognized Monica as being familiar looking and hired someone to go through his 5000 negatives, until the one he remembered was found. That image was the cover photo on the news weekly (don't remember if it was Time or Newsweek) which broke the Monica/Clinton story. He said when he had taken the original picture, he was aware there were no flashes going off around him, because the others were mostly shooting digitals-but he was the only one with the lasting image in his library, because the digital ones have become so disposable. Those interrelated concepts have stayed with me-archival, memory, visual....
    I am now offering digital darkroom alongside the traditional-and I believe it's something we need to do-why should we be the last holdouts? I used to think (like Deb) there would always be the two categories-however, more and more, I'm not sure-but hey, Deb, we can debate this sometime over coffee up in your neck of the woods & in the meanwhile, PhotoShop (and other imaging softwares) are providing me with my current and ongoing 'stretch'.
    Jude (who has had some caffeine today-after being decaffed for a few years...)