Dick’s Rant

I went to the show yesterday and it was a lot of fun. I was on the refurb and ex-rental stand and it got a good picking over in between the lecture and workshop sessions and I'm pleased to be able to say several sales were made. Also pleased to think that the people who bought the gear got the right thing for themselves - the cameras and lenses carried substantial warrantees as well as discounted prices. I was also pleased to see that the bustle in the trade rooms did not abate. The staff from the shops had done a massive job in the days leading up to the show selecting and transporting the stock - so much so that I believe they closed Wanderlust and Murray Street shops for the day. The take-down was no small affair either, but I could tell that the next few days would be something of chaos as goods were found and re-stocked into their accustomed places. The fact that the show prices will continue for a little while longer will also put pressure...

Well, sort of a trade fair. As good as it's going to get in the current locked-down state of the world. You trade a gold coin to charity and the photographic people trade in their Sunday ( plus all the rest of the week to get things restocked and accounted for ...

The answer depends on whether they have been in the business, trade, sport, or profession of photography. If they have, and have ceased before they have deceased, then yes, they have retired. But I am hard pressed to think of any trade people who have done so. No names, and none of us are fit enough for pack drill, but cast about at the next ex-trade affair and see for yourself. Old photographers are never really retired. No need to get romantic about the smell of D-76 in the morning or artistic inspiration. Most people who have squeezed the rent and food out of a camera did because they knew how to do it and found there was a market for what they were prepared to do. That applies to a lot of professions. The fact that they got enough food to get to retirement age says they were a success. But there is something about doing photography that we do not let go. The fact that it carves a place in posterity ( at least until the hard drive fails )...

In this case, of your success in photography. Many people, it would appear, and sometimes even  those who we do not license to the task: a. The judges. They may be the contest judges of your local camera club, the state agricultural show, or the most prestigious photographic society in the country. In most cases they will have some expertise in the business of photography, and likely some experience in the sorting and comparing that a contest requires. You won't pay them, but someone will...

Specifically, a shot with a camera. We'll leave the firing range instructors out of this one. Can you learn photography by attending a lecture on the subject? Is your time sitting in the audience likely to result in your images and fortunes improving? Like most things in life, the answers are yes, no, and maybe. People who attend photography schools - full time institutions designed to provide trade training for the various photographic industries - do have to be good at listening to their lecturers. They have to read, study, listen, reflect, and experiment. By and large they do and the results of their student efforts are often very good indeed. They have a vested interest in learning and doing. Further away from the institutions, the clubs and societies also provide lectures and talks that present specialised subjects to the enthusiasts. The fact that the attendees are keen makes the job of the lecturer hard but rewarding. They need to present a show that is worthwhile seeing and listening to. Volunteer audiences may start polite but are not bound to continue so by...

When I was in Grade 1, I made a great many works of art. My mother curated and displayed them on the refrigerator door. Few have survived the 68-year gap since then, though I am pleased to be able to say that I can now say my entire ABC's and count past 30. The art was fun but it only paid in graham crackers and little bottles of warm milk. I note from the family keepsakes that a few works of visual art have indeed been paid down from high school art classes. This is not because they were good - but because they were deliberate. They may not have made sense, but I worked hard to make them as bad as they were. Thus also with photography. The film era was rife with error - from light leaks to film advance errors. From misjudged exposures to bungled processing. I can review my fingerprints from 1967 as I have evidence of them in silver patterns on old negatives. Modern shooters who make bad decisions can see them documented in EXIF files and...

All right children, settle down. Uncle Dick is going to tell you how you can have fun on a rainy day with your camera.  First go to the camera cupboard and get the equipment out. Then have a good look at it. a. Is it covered in bits of fluff, cat hair, and Doritos crumbs? You can spend the morning with a soft cloth, some cotton buds, and possibly a wet wipe. Do not open the camera - gently get all the external crud off it. Then go look into your gadget bag or camera box and see where the gunge came from in the first place. Vacuum, sponge, and brush as necessary to expunge the demons. If you find old film tab ends that say Kodachrome A you might consider doing this sort of maintenance a bit more often. b. Is the battery dead? Try charging it. If the charger refuses to do anything investigate whether it will boost your spare battery. Some chargers cannot recognise a battery that has been left to go too flat - seeing it as a foreign...