[quote name='Justan' date='Jun 5 2009, 04:12 PM' post='289175']
>Justan, I don´t see that any of this defines a golden era, simply records the changes of the game;
"Rob, that sounds dismissive. What isn’t golden about the time span? IMO it’s all been good. It is no different from any other art. As time goes by things change, but there has been no period that stands out as achievement above and beyond all others. What has happened is increasing numbers have and continue to become masters."
Dismissive, in English English, means something I would not be intentionally unless pushed very hard; this has not happened here.
"Kindly explain why you suggested the golden age only existed between shortly after WW2 and the time of film Blow Up? What do you suggest was outstanding about this span?"
On the assumption that I am allowed a perspective of my own without having to use one supplied from elsewhere, the reason is simply that I consider the people who were the leaders (all pros) in that period, creating the styles subsequently ripped off ad nauseam ever since, were: John French, Bert Stern, Cecil Beaton, Norman Parkinson, Richard Avedon, Saul Leiter, William Klein, Ernst Haas, Pete Turner, Art Kane, Frank Horvat, HC-B, Robert Doisneau and some more whose names will come to mind almost immediately after I post. Also, some of these were working throughout WW2 and before, but I suggest that their moment of glory came within the period I selected.
"Second, you are making reference to top of the line equipment and I was making reference to what most buy. Not exactly an apples to apples comparison, right? While I do agree that top of the line is way more expensive now than it was in 1970, that is unique to top of the line equipment."
I was not aware that we had governed the parameters on a lowest common denominator basis.
On the matter of time/speed, it all depends what you do. In black/white I did all my own processing - never employed anyone at all. That filled the non-shooting time to perfection. It also allowed me total control and the delightful feeling that both the buck and the praise stopped here.
You mention the speed of turnaround using digital. I´m sure it is quicker in some instances but it frees your time for what? Are today´s pros really all that busy? (The greater reality seems to be that there are no jobs for anybody these days, photographers or anything else, even bankers!) I don´t remember a time when there wasn´t enough time... it´s my conviction that as work expands to suit the time available, so that time shrinks for no good reason other than it makes the person applying the pressure feel important. I wonder if the reality of working overnight, as I often did, just to hand a bunch of prints over to a client who then left them lying on his desk for a couple of days has really really vanished; I wonder how many urgently required files are simply filed for a while in exactly the same display of political power as in analogue days...
Insofar as colour work goes, most of it was transparencies. Editing on a lightbox (to me) is the way to go. Even better, once I had handed those films to the client, there was nothing more for me to worry about other than sending in the invoice. Unless, of course, I was also doing the production, as with my calendars, in which case, it paid a lot more but carried a huge responsibility for other people´s work which, ultimately, was beyond my control. Unless one owned a printing press today, I don´t see that handing over a file satisfies the digi-lover´s claim that digi allows any more total a control!
You mention the cost of running a lab and, presumably a studio; don´t you realise that the very fact that so many big names have had to close down their facilities and rent instead is saying something to you, very loudly? What it is saying, if you weren´t listening, is that the golden era is over, baby, gone, kaput, bye bye. In the final analysis, everything related to price is increased by the measure that the seller thinks he can get away with. That´s the simple basis for business: the transfer of money from your account into mine. If photographers now find themselves - have been finding themselves for a long time - unable to finance their operation as before, they don´t have far to look for the reason or what it´s telling them.
But, ultimately, any era is seen differently by those who were there and making something out of it. I was not doing my own thing until ´66, but was very aware as a kid and also as an employed photographer in those years before ´66! I guess it was that awareness/admiration of the movers and shakers which drove me to get into the business.
Blow Up might have popularised the business in some minds, but I never met a pro photographer who would have been happy to waste a roll of Colorama for a fumble with a couple of skinny chicks! By the time of that movie, every guy who had failed at everything else thought photography might provide a salvation. It sure did not!
Perhaps it is imposible for a pro and an amateur to look at photography from the same perspective, so perhaps in this case, there can be no common understanding between the two parties. There were ever amateurs who could afford equipment that some pros never could; the opposite must be equally true.