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12-05-2010, 09:56 AM   #76
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I personally prefer a more practical, technical approach to the liberal arts one. I may have ended up well educated from an artistic point of view doing that course, but it just didn't fly nearly as well in the real world. Honestly they didn't teach me all that much in that sense either. There's only so much they can fit in a few semesters. Any course you take in a school can only hit the highlights of what you need to know. Practical experience, detailed books, videos and one on one time spent with mentors on the other hand, they can give you far more solid skills that will serve you far better IMHO. I probably cover more in one month on my own and working with my mentors than I did in 2 years in college, seriously. College only held me back that way. It was a total waste of money for me.

* * *

FYI, I'm 38K in debt for an education that wasn't worth a dime in real practice. Yeah, I consider that a huge waste of money. Wouldn't you?
To answer your last question, NO! You may not know yet what will be valuable some day in practice as a photographer. BTW, are you training as a photographer or as a computer technician or graphics workstation operator? If photography is only incidental to your work, your needs may be different. I will be teaching a course on photography for property managers and I won't bother much with the basics of composition for that or introduce the students to film.

What we are talking about is a basic difference about the purpose of education. Is college a vocational school? Does education teach you primarily about the current technology and function something like OJT--now, or does it teach you to think, create and adapt? Of course it needs to teach you some of both, but Chris is spot on about teaching the current technology as a shifting target. Unfortunately, you may be right that some employers don't get it, either. After all, if an employer can get an employee trained in exactly what is current, now, then the employer can just fire you and get a new graduate when technology changes, and send you back to school to rack up another $38k in debt.

People make the same complaints about law, engineering, etc. A large part of the law and procedures have changed since I graduated from law school 30 years ago. What hasn't changed are basic skills of putting an argument together. That is the most valuable part of that education. I think it works something like that with photography.


Last edited by GeneV; 12-05-2010 at 10:23 AM.
12-05-2010, 11:07 AM   #77
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I don't mind it as a first semester. I think I have learned a lot from using film SLR's actually. The problem is some courses still won't even let you touch a DSLR even after that...

...I took some Adobe centered classes there a few years ago just to get the certifications. It was pretty sad. The teacher was a photographer and graphic illustrator and several times during the courses she openly admitted to a student that they were more up on the current version of the software she was teaching than they were. When I went CS3 was the standard, but they were still teaching with software pre CS, and yes, it did matter that what they were teaching wasn't current. There's a huge difference between versions of Photoshop and Illustrator pre CS3 and before. It was the same for MS Office. When the whole world was using Office 2007 they were using Office 2003. Those certificates I got that semester? Totally useless in the real world...
QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
Your digital photography skills become obsolete with the next software release.
What you learn behind a film camera and in the darkroom will last a lifetime.

Chris

I had to laugh a little as I read these two comments. Likely one of the reasons why digital technique is missing from the college curricula is that it is a moving target. Likewise, it is an expensive target. Anyone priced the latest version of Photoshop lately? Even with academic pricing, it is a little expensive when the school has to buy 100 or so licenses for the computer lab only to see them be obsolete in two years or less.

Then there is the price of digital cameras. That is a substantial burden to place on your students and the school is almost certainly not going to provide that tool! So film looks like a good idea all around. The principles are directly applicable to the digital realm, the cameras are cheap, and so are the materials relative to other art media.

There is also a few other factors that are not as obvious on first consideration. One is that expertise in the traditional darkroom gives the student skills that are useful for alternative processes. These are taught an an upper division level and would have basic film photography as a prerequisite. Another is that skills with film are continuing to be useful for the working professional photographer. It is more and more common for wedding photography at the high end to offer B&W film as well as digital photos. This is true for both the formal shots as well as the photo-documentary images. The savvy customer knows that the silver-based photos have a longevity advantage. The prints will not fade and the negatives will be printable pretty much forever if properly stored. Digital files, particularly in proprietary RAW formats, are dependent on having compatible software to open them. In a couple of decades, how many people will have access to software to open files with orphaned formats?


Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 12-05-2010 at 11:22 AM.
12-05-2010, 11:20 AM   #78
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
FYI, I'm 38K in debt for an education that wasn't worth a dime in real practice. Yeah, I consider that a huge waste of money. Wouldn't you?
Sorry to hear this. My ex and I paid $180 for our daughter's Ivy League education and she is waiting tables and doing after school daycare. Part of the problem is the current economic situation. Another issue is choice of major (poli sci anyone?). Sorry to say, but graphics design is one of those fields where the competition for jobs/work is high along with the required skills. The pay is also relatively low, and opportunity for advanced training is difficult to find. I know several young people who are studying design at the Art Institute (Portland) and I cringe inside when they talk about going into debt to fund their education knowing that it will be difficult for them to get work once they get out.


Steve

(Has this thread gone far enough afield yet?)
12-05-2010, 12:02 PM   #79
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeneV Quote
It is not being used to teach photographic history. If it were, then it might be good to include the very first photographic media.

Film is used to put the student in more direct control of light, exposure, etc. If film becomes as rare as daguerreotypes, then it will no longer be a viable teaching tool.
I'm not seeing how film puts students more in control of light or exposure than digital. An old full-manual camera may force more control/understanding, but where are you going to find one? A K1000 doesn't really qualify - maybe if you take away the battery. You can, in effect, do either shutter or aperture priority with a K1000 - set one or the other and then watch while the camera tells you which other value corresponds as you turn a control. While it's not officially called automatic, it really is - you're just providing some of the motion that you wouldn't with an official aperture or shutter priority camera. You do have to focus. But you can do all those things with a K100, too. Well, I can't focus with mine, but that's another story. The K1000 didn't have the most inspiring focusing screen and viewfinder, either.

I guess I would define film as photographic history at this point - just more recent history, and more practical to practice, than glass plates or some other technology. But mostly I think film is the technology that most of today's instructors learned with, and that's why they teach it, because it's something obscure that students won't already know more about than they do.

Paul

12-05-2010, 12:15 PM   #80
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QuoteQuote:
Likely one of the reasons why digital technique is missing from the college curricula is that it is a moving target. Likewise, it is an expensive target. Anyone priced the latest version of Photoshop lately? Even with academic pricing, it is a little expensive when the school has to buy 100 or so licenses for the computer lab only to see them be obsolete in two years or less.

Then there is the price of digital cameras. That is a substantial burden to place on your students and the school is almost certainly not going to provide that tool! So film looks like a good idea all around. The principles are directly applicable to the digital realm, the cameras are cheap, and so are the materials relative to other art media.
I think digital is remarkably cheaper than film. Remember, "student" implies "trial and error", and there is nothing better at that than digital. To the extent that you can buy a film camera at all, they don't cost enough more than a previous generation digital to make up for the cost of a semester's film, paper, and chemicals. In fact, K100 and K1000 prices aren't that far apart, perhaps partly due to the cult status and academic "push" behind the K1000.

Adobe CS discounts are notoriously poor, even for education. But we're talking basic classes here, and Elements, or Gimp, or various other alternatives, can provide more than enough capability for, again, much less than the price of film, paper, and chemicals. Not to even mention the environmental issues that they avoid. Yes, at a higher level, or in a vocational program, students should learn the higher end Adobe software, but it's still a trivial cost compared to the cost of education. Today even a paperback textbook costs $100+, will probably be worthless at the end of a semester because the class won't use it again or a new edition will come out, and when the class is over student will likely never have any use for it again. So I'm not seeing even the outrageous Adobe software costs as a big deal here.

Paul
12-05-2010, 12:17 PM   #81
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
(Has this thread gone far enough afield yet?)

Steve

(Scanning my last two rolls of Kodachrome just back from Dwayne's as I type this...)
Yes it has, so let’s talk about Kodachrome! I also got my last nine rolls back from Dwayne’s this past Tuesday. Boy do I love that film and will truly miss it. I shot the nine rolls in Buenos Aires in late October and the weather was nice and sunny (their spring), so it was perfect conditions for Kodachrome. I just shipped the film from BA to Dwayne’s, to avoid going through airport security with it on the way home.

Phil.
12-05-2010, 12:21 PM   #82
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QuoteQuote:
I will be teaching a course on photography for property managers and I won't bother much with the basics of composition for that or introduce the students to film.
Wow, I would think composition for property managers / real estate would be a huge part of the class. I'm not sure you'd call it composition, but knowing where to shoot from and how to position elements of the picture, and deal with distortion... it seems like this would be a specialized kind of composition they'd need to learn, no?

Paul
12-05-2010, 01:10 PM   #83
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I think digital is remarkably cheaper than film. Remember, "student" implies "trial and error", and there is nothing better at that than digital. To the extent that you can buy a film camera at all, they don't cost enough more than a previous generation digital to make up for the cost of a semester's film, paper, and chemicals. In fact, K100 and K1000 prices aren't that far apart, perhaps partly due to the cult status and academic "push" behind the K1000.

Actually, old mechanical SLRs very suitable to learn on are things easily loaned to students or given away, (I used to just fix such things up and pass em on,) and they pretty much just keep going. The *point* of teaching photography as more than snapshooting is less about trial and error than taking one's time for definitive results. Being a more experienced shooter is just about how *fast you can take your time,* not just spray and pray. (mostly)

A DSLR, glass, computers, monitors, programs, printers, inks, papers, calibrations, programmming interpretations, are all things that just mean a big initial outlay and a bunch of skills which are not the basics, ...quantity of potentially-random 'trial and error' while not knowing what's happening isn't really teaching the craft, especially not when you can get ten rolls of Arista Premium for twenty bucks and chemistry and materials for not *that* much more.

It really makes more sense to stop and think about what you're doing at any stage than try to outguess automated results that seem arbitrary, until you learn about *those* at least. I've been a photog since I was in my mid-teens and the digital's a whole other learning curve, even just to see what you've actually got at any given stage.

The economy of it isn't really in learning, or in the quantities of output most students actually make in a semester. The outlay for digital is only economical after much bigger quantity, and the vagueness of it isn't the best way to get people focused on the photographic basics and learning them for real.

Some of the expenses issues of digital outlay are getting better: if people already have substantial computers, for instance, and are facile with them. ....it's certainly still the factor that with digital, it's not the most basic models that come with the basic manual controls... It's the opposite, actually, but things like K20ds are getting more reasonable, I think, and they seem they'd make good student cameras with say, the new 35/2.4 on there, preferably given the right focusing screen.

If people already have computers and digital stuff, you can teach them *some* photography, (some, you can teach with a P&S, actually) but it's a few layers removed from the basics, still.) Inconsistent exposure that you can't go back and fix does a lot to actually put the mind on what's going on, rather than considering the camera a mystery-box one has little idea what it even actually does.


Last edited by Ratmagiclady; 12-05-2010 at 01:24 PM.
12-05-2010, 01:17 PM   #84
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
I'm not seeing how film puts students more in control of light or exposure than digital. An old full-manual camera may force more control/understanding, but where are you going to find one? A K1000 doesn't really qualify - maybe if you take away the battery. You can, in effect, do either shutter or aperture priority with a K1000 - set one or the other and then watch while the camera tells you which other value corresponds as you turn a control. While it's not officially called automatic, it really is - you're just providing some of the motion that you wouldn't with an official aperture or shutter priority camera. You do have to focus. But you can do all those things with a K100, too. Well, I can't focus with mine, but that's another story. The K1000 didn't have the most inspiring focusing screen and viewfinder, either.

I guess I would define film as photographic history at this point - just more recent history, and more practical to practice, than glass plates or some other technology. But mostly I think film is the technology that most of today's instructors learned with, and that's why they teach it, because it's something obscure that students won't already know more about than they do.

Paul
Film is photographic history, I don’t think so. I have three traditional photo Labs (C41, E6 & true B&W), as well as a Photo Supply store (a mini Freestyle) all within 5 minutes from where I live. The Photo supply store and the two Labs I frequent are busy and I see more and more young people shooting 35mm or medium format out on the streets.

Film is obviously satisfying the creative side of some younger folks, more than digital. Also film is full frame at a cheep cost, how many DSLR owners have a FF camera?

Add up the costs of a FF DSLR, lenses & the s/w you need and compare it to the cost of a manual film camera & lenses. You can shoot film for years before you get anywhere near the cost of FF digital. Of course your DSLR will be obsolete in less than 10 years and your manual film camera won’t!

Phil.
12-05-2010, 01:35 PM   #85
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QuoteOriginally posted by gofour3 Quote

Add up the costs of a FF DSLR, lenses & the s/w you need and compare it to the cost of a manual film camera & lenses. You can shoot film for years before you get anywhere near the cost of FF digital. Of course your DSLR will be obsolete in less than 10 years and your manual film camera won’t!

Phil.
Yeah. There's the ostensible speed factor about digital, and it *does* mean that once the outlay's made one can shoot a lot more than the month-to-month budget might allow, or at least once one's got some of that stuff, one can shoot pretty *heedlessly* of the per-frame cost, which does help one be more spontaneous and daring.

But in terms of the total cost to take a basic photo course, there's little justifying the outlay for digital. For hobby purposes and artsiness, there's also something to be said for the simple fact of *not* necessarily involving computers. It's why I shoot both.
12-05-2010, 01:56 PM   #86
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In terms of exposure, I have to say that it wasn't the years of b&w in the darkroom that taught me exposure accuracy. You could be all over the place (well, somewhat) and make up for a lot on the back end. Kodachrome taught me exposure. Well, it taught me to bracket :-)

QuoteQuote:
Add up the costs of a FF DSLR, lenses & the s/w you need and compare it to the cost of a manual film camera & lenses. You can shoot film for years before you get anywhere near the cost of FF digital. Of course your DSLR will be obsolete in less than 10 years and your manual film camera won’t!
I'm not so sure about that: if you bought your film camera to shoot Kodachrome, or any of the other recently (or soon-to-be) discontinued films, that camera is already obsolete.

Why would you need/want a FF DSLR for a photography class?

Paul
12-05-2010, 02:19 PM   #87
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QuoteOriginally posted by tibbitts Quote
Wow, I would think composition for property managers / real estate would be a huge part of the class. I'm not sure you'd call it composition, but knowing where to shoot from and how to position elements of the picture, and deal with distortion... it seems like this would be a specialized kind of composition they'd need to learn, no?

Paul
True enough, but it's not composition in the artistic sense. This is primarily for use in legal matters. Actually, the first thing I'm planning to teach them is that cell phones make lousy evidence. I'm not recommending film, either for this purpose.
12-05-2010, 02:22 PM   #88
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Having started with film photography (and developed my B&W films and made prints from them) I fail to see a significant "advantage" of film as a learning medium; the basics stay the same when the film is replaced with an electronic sensor. It is overwhelmingly likely that the students end up using digital equipment in their work, though, so practical experience with that is would seem like the more desirable one. Having the change to try both (digital and film) would be a plus and perhaps help with developing a more general view on things, but if one has to be optional it would be film.

Cost of a the required hardware and software is a non-issue on the grand scheme of things where the total cost is in the tens of thousands. In addition to the direct monetary cost there is also the time and effort of the student, which comes to a considerable figure even valued at a minimum wage. The distinction of learning general skills as opposed to details of equipment and software is a worthy one, but the choice of the medium is hardly going to make a difference with that wider issue.
12-05-2010, 02:24 PM   #89
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I'm a photo student and I shoot on a spotmatic.
Why? Because I got it shipped to my door for 50$. Film processed at my local lab is 20-something cents per frame. It's about half that if I process myself. I can go through thousands of frames before that cost comes anywhere close to the cost of a DSLR and a decent prime. (and primes are, indisputably, faster, and hence more versatile, than zooms). This allows me to make mistakes, try different films and style of shooting, and work on technique for pennies per frame. To buy a half-way decent DLSR (not even touching on FF) and a lens or two would be more than the camera, lenses (5), and film I've been through since I bought the camera. All of my photo expenses, by my tally, total out to under 500$, and that's with 5 lenses and a large number of films. That's why students shoot film. As well, the cost of film is much more distributed, which is easier than an up-front layout, and post-processing is done with provided equipment, not expensive software.

That being said, I feel like we're being lured into a troll thread.
THIS


Is more or less the equivalent of me marching over to the K5 forum and saying it's all a waste of time anyways because they have no full-frame. One could argue it, but HONESTLY, what would be the point?
12-05-2010, 02:36 PM   #90
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Eh, people keep trolling about 'Film is dead' for years. Funny, but it seemed there used to be only about seven or eight of us regularly on the one combined film cameras board, right here on Pentaxforums.

Looking OK to me, even if some'll tell you otherwise.
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