Every Easter Susan and Francesco come to the farm and see the just born lambs. Both are professional photographers and they are recently married. I know Francesco because he's included me in Organic, his soon to be published book of photos and interviews with farmers and chefs in the Hudson Valley.
If you want to see an example of Francesco's work and see what 19th century photography looked like, click on (to make larger) my Twitter thumbnail photograph accessed form my website. Perhaps because I had to remain motionless for six seconds when the lens cap was off the lens for the exposure, there is a formal atmosphere, an almost meditative aspect, having a photo taken like this. After each image, one waited—like for a Polaroid photograph to come around—as Francesco developed each shot on the tailgate of his Volvo station wagon, his darkroom.
Looking, you could see the image emerging in the developing tray—it became less feint and it was you—photography was once again magic.
He said a friend of his, a former professional photographer, who now works at B & H says the point and shoot camera market has crashed because everybody has a camera on their phone and they use that instead.
Francesco also told me the the digital age in photography, particularly the afterimage editing software by Adobe and others—the ease with which a beginner can process photographs—has culled the ranks of long-time professional photographers. Francesco took up the wet plate collodion process that was first used in 1851; it's still difficult, time-consuming and very expensive while new cameras and techniques in photography have become simple, quick and cheap.
I miss my old 35 mm Nikon F film camera, the darkroom and a 36 exposure roll of 400 ISO Tri-X film. There is a different skill involved in taking those pictures and developing black and white film.
Noel, a granddaughter of Ansel Adams taught me darkroom technique one summer in San Francisco. We rented a darkroom which included the enlarger, the trays, the chemicals, etc. on Columbus Ave. across from the triangular park where early in the morning Chinese women did Tai Chi at the foot of Telegraph Hill. And the 30 Stockton overhead electric bus clacked at the turns and whirred up the hills.
At Chelly National Park Monument, photograph by Ansel Adams 1937
"More than 50 photographs by Ansel Adams are on exhibit at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts in downtown Tampa...through July 6."
This photograph brings to mind that we rented a darkroom in North Beach and I learned how to develop and print black and white film from Noel, Ansel Adam's granddaughter.