62-325 The View Camera

College of Fine Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Spring 2005
William Redic, Instructor
Phone: 412-828-2398      Email: redic (redic@andrew.cmu.edu)

Course Description The nature of a 4x5" view camera alters both the process of making a photograph and the qualities of the resulting image. The slow, even cumbersome process of photographing with a large format camera encourages a methodical, studied approach. The larger negative size and the ability to control the exposure and development of each sheet of film make possible an image of extraordinary clarity and detail. Through a series of exercises followed by a self-selected project, students in this class will learn the technical aspects, and master the use of, the view camera. Topics include: perspective and focal plane control, bellows extension factor, and basic B&W sheet film handling and processing. Students should enter this course already possessing a working knowledge of photographic processing and printing.

Photographer under dark cloth Realistic
You have the opportunity to learn about and to use a view camera for four months. You will begin by completing a series of exercises which aim to familiarize you with the camera and the sheet film negative. You will then use the view camera to complete a self-selected project during the remainder of the term.
Compared to modern camera technology, a view camera is simultaneously primitive, complicated, constraining, flexible, elegantly simple, and dumb. It is a tool which is heavy and slow, and you will hate it some or all of the time. A few of you will love it. Each of you will be able to say you're a real photographer after having mastered its use.

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