U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: dig negs (Burkholder)

Re: dig negs (Burkholder)

Burkholder's is not a system, it is an approach to problems. For all I know, he does now 
perceive it as a system, or has expanded his web site to approximate one. But that's 
another matter altogether. In point of historical fact, there was a time not so long ago 
when this subject of digital negs did not exist in any viable form whatsoever. Burkholder 
opened a discussion - detailed, to be sure, but also entertaining and convincing, since 
that's his, er, charm. Likening that unfavorably to Nelson's system, though, is akin to 
saying that books about food are only useful when they contain all the recipes. I don't 
mean to downplay Mark Nelson's work. What I mean is that the things Burkholder has 
done need to be understood for what they have aspired to help us achieve.

Surely I'm not the only photographer who finally risked making digital negs because this 
guy's book convinced us we could try. To dismiss it as a system that doesn't work well,  
misconstrues historical context AND historical intention. Not to mention the curiosity and 
confidence it helped to foster in so many of us. In fact, that climate included quite a few 
people - only a handful of years ago! - who made the "digital neg" people into traitors 
and idiots. That is one of the many things we, not only Burkholder, but we 
photographers, had to contend with. 

His book wasn't designed for use with varying conditions????? Burkholder took on this 
subject when the conditions seemed to be - seemed to be - about 1000 times more 
populous than they do now, AND were changing every three months. If you think 
Burkholder wasn't pretty revolutionary, or that he "failed to control every variable", or 
that he was committed primarily to service bureaus, well, maybe it might be a good idea 
to revisit his book. Better yet, try reading Palmer's "Digital Negs for Alternative 
Processes" in Barnier. Now THAT is something to make your eyes glaze over.

Of course it is laudible that Nelson has fashioned a scientific method. It is wonderful that 
he's eliminated the need for me to do all that work myself. But Burkholder's value lay 
elsewhere: he has shown us how to size up variables, try unlikely possible solutions, 
and keep circling the beast. Not formulas, but a method with which to think for oneself. 
This really isn't such a bad thing when you work in 19th century processes!

Mike Healy

On 1 Oct 2006 at 17:14, Camden Hardy wrote:

Date sent:      	Sun, 01 Oct 2006 17:14:13 -0600 (MDT)
From:           	Camden Hardy <camden@hardyphotography.net>
Subject:        	Re: dig negs
To:             	alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca
Send reply to:  	alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca


> I've used Dan Burkholder's system.  It works, but not that well.  It
> was never really designed for use with varying conditions (i.e.
> printers, processes, workflow).
> Camden Hardy
> camden[at]hardyphotography[dot]net
> http://www.hardyphotography.net

  • References:
    • dig negs
      • From: "Weber, Scott" <sweber@mail.barry.edu>
    • Re: dig negs
      • From: Camden Hardy <camden@hardyphotography.net>