With technology advancing at Captain Kirk “Warp speed,” it's nice to know that some have opted out of a spot on the intergalactic fast train.
In my world of photography, which has experienced rapid change and unprecedented innovation, the old days of view cameras and film seemed destined for the Smithsonian. But as Mr. Berra once said, “It ain't over till it's over.”
In the midst of all the new fangled gizmos and gadgets that have entered the image creation arena there are still those who prefer the magic of pre-technology photography, where phones were for calling and film was more than an unsightly dishwasher residue.
Enter the world of Jim Kipfer and a growing number of retro photographers who prefer the equipment of time honored image creation. The view camera world is alive and well and expanding the joy of a timeless tradition.
Jim lives in Alna and is an engineer. He grew up near Buffalo, New York, where he spent gobs of time reading about photography and visiting art museums. There was plenty to see at the university and at Albright-Knox Art. But the challenges of the art economy forced Jim's hand and he moved on to design and construction. However, he continued his study of traditional black and white photography. He is probably one of the most knowledgeable photographic artists I know, especially when it comes to the how-to's and wherefores of the large format.
When he unpacks and sets up an 11 X 14 Deardorff view camera in the middle of what might be a fairly unremarkable scene, the circus comes to town. And Jim is the center attraction under the Big Top! Most people have no idea what he is doing and are convinced that there must be some sort of peep show going on beneath the dark cloth that shrouds him, his camera and tripod.
It's upside down and backwards behind that lens, and one image requires patience, timing long exposure. Something in short supply among the technology set.