Not exactly an instant-photography story, but of interest anyway: An Amherst College grad student has conducted a brief interterm class teaching students to use a Speed Graphic, shooting old-style 4×5 sheet film. (My wife, Ellen, an Amherst graduate, spotted this in her alumni bulletin.) Photos and post about it here, and video here:

I’m not knocking it, believe me—I’m in favor of anything that coaxes people to set aside the digicam now and then in favor of an analog camera. (As I repeat to anyone who will listen, the only way to keep film in production is to continue buying and shooting it.) But I am a little surprised at the cluelessness of the video, whose narrator sounds  incredulous that ANYONE would POSSIBLY want to focus and set aperture and shutter speed MANUALLY in the 21st century. He is not aware, I guess, that serious photographers routinely turn off all the electronics. Setting an f/stop is not exactly re-learning the chemistry of making collodion prints or tintypes, despite what this guy thinks. People, not machines, take good pictures.

5 Responses to “Rediscovering the All-American Camera”

  1. Bill Warriner says:

    FYI on one reader notes that in the movie Alice’s Restaurant, the cops are shown using both a Speed Graphic and Polaroid cameras, including a Swinger!
    I didn’t have the ambition to chase down the scene.

    • Kaoru says:

      If posted on its own, I like the berodrs but in a post with lots of other Polaroids I think it looks much better cropped out, it’s easier to see all the photos as a cohesive sequence if that makes sense!

    • Chieko says:

      Terry:These are beautiful and a btraeh of fresh air to see Polaroid again. I use to shoot this all the time. Where in the world did you find it?Tamara

  2. admin says:

    I, of course, had to go track it down. Video here (start at the 4:00 mark). There’s a packfilm camera as well as a Swinger in there:

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