Interview with Webestang64!

Discussion in 'TPF Member Spotlight' started by terri, Apr 1, 2021.

  1. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the April 2021 TPF Member Spotlight, everyone!

    Our interviews are designed, quite simply, to showcase our members. It’s not meant to be a pretentious show, or make anyone feel self-conscious about their work style or artistic preferences. These interviews are casual chats just to get to know each other better - a celebration of our wide, diverse group of photographers who, despite coming from a variety of backgrounds, all come to TPF because of a shared love for photography.

    TPF is a wonderful community and it’s worthwhile to shine the spotlight on our members. This means YOU, reading this – don’t be surprised if you hear from us asking for an interview!

    Remember, each interview segment will be left open like a regular thread, so you can ask your own questions or comment on things you may have learned. This is our new way to highlight the skill sets and display the unique styles of our wonderful community.

    Enjoy!

    Now, onto our interview – member Webestang64 (aka Scotty)!



    Thanks for participating in this, Scotty! Your knowledge and experience in analog photography is widely known here at TPF. Can you tell us how you started with photography?


    My interest in photography started for me at age ten. My Pop handed down to me a Kodak 104 126 camera. I loved snapping away with that thing. But also, I got an Ansel Adams 12-month calendar, just fell in love with those photographs. So for Christmas of 1980, I asked for a new camera. My parents went to Schiller's Camera (who I work for now) and bought me a Pentax K1000 with f/1.7 50mm lens and Pentax AF 160 flash. It sure was a step up from my Pop's hand me down Kodak 104 126 camera and flash cubes (which I still own).



    How did it evolve over time (first getting into the darkroom, or starting to collect cameras)?

    In the spring of 1981, I immersed myself in everything photographic. I joined the camera club at school to learn the process of developing film and printing in the darkroom. Bought several used photo-tech books from a local college, and got a magazine subscription to Popular Photography. After high school graduation in 1983, I took a few courses at the community college: photography and computers. I got C's D grades in computers, and A+'s in photography. Ironic, eh? I now use computers for photography today.


    I bought my first enlarger in 1984, a Vivitar 35mm w/ Nikkor 50mm lens (which I still own today). Then, only two years out of high school, I landed a job at one of the many professional labs here in St. Louis and worked in the film development department. It was there that I gained knowledge for the C-41 process (color print film) and E-6 (slide film). Around that time I also bought a few cameras, a Pentax MV 35mm and a Foldex 620 (you could still buy 620 film then). A camera collection was born.





    Web 1- Magnifier.jpg
    “This photo, taken in the late 80's, is my favorite all time photo. While shooting a sunset near Pacific MO a friend pulled out of his pocket a magnifying lens and held it up and said "take a pic of this". After I printed it out I immediately turned it upside down. Pentax K1000 50mm, Kodak 200 C-41.”




    You mentioned that you currently work at a camera/photography store. In your opinion, both professionally and personally, how has digital photography changed things, both in your store and overall?



    Hands down - the biggest digital photography change in the industry was the killing off of just about every photo store or photo lab in the US and, I'm sure, around the world as well. I work for the last one left here in St. Louis and I do not see us going anywhere, thanks mostly to our AV department and sales of large scale printers.

    I am proud to say in the lab we do use a professional C-41 processor, and run control strips for optimal developing. Black and white film is developed by me by hand (home darkroom) in stainless steel cans/reels. One of them holds 14 rolls of 35mm.



    Do you see any swings from analog to digital, or vice versa?


    The biggest swing over the last 5-10 years has been more and more of the under-30 year old crowd buying and using film cameras. Yet 75% have them turned into digital and not developing and printing in a darkroom.

    Personally, I find it a bummer digital has killed off many films I used to use and love, including Kodachrome and Panatomic-X BW. At least some came back, such as Kodak E-100 E-6, which I love to run through C-41.





    Web 2 -Cross processed car.jpg
    “Favorite cross-processed shot. Pentax MX 50mm, E-100 in C-41, duped the trees in background and on hood with PS.”





    Do you do any personal work with digital photography, or do you prefer working with film – or a hybrid of both?


    Personally and professionally, I use nothing but film. For color, I use Fuji 400 (35mm) Kodak Extar 100 (120/620) C-41, or I cross-process (E-6 in C-41) Kodak E-100. All of my color work is scanned using a Noritsu HS 1800 series commercial scanner. Photoshop is used to clean, size and sometimes manipulate, then print at work using an Epson 9900. For B&W, I mostly use Ilford Delta 400, Delta 3200 and Kodak T-Max 100.

    I do not scan my B&W negatives. I print in the darkroom. I use a cold-light enlarger with Rodenstock lenses, with Ilford multigrade RC Portfolio paper, and LPD as my developer. If I need to show B&W on the web, I scan the prints using an Epson V700 scanner.




    You’ve shared some of your collection of classic camera gear here at TPF. Do you have a personal classic favorite? If so, why?

    I have several favorites from my camera collection. Foldex 620 folder is first, as the first vintage camera I bought. Another is the Argus 75 620 – I just love the simplicity. Also, the Pentax 110 SLR - not only ‘cause it's just neat, but I bought mine (camera body, 3 lenses, flash and box) for $15!




    Sounds like you’ve cultivated quite the camera collection over the years. Do you think you have an overall collector’s zeal – or is it strictly related to your love of photography?


    Oh boy, here we go.....not only do I collect cameras, but other photography-related items. That includes cabinet card photos (mainly for the printed art work on back that advertised the photographer), plus 35mm slides - from people who throw their family history in the trash. I'm talking thousands, as I just got 30 metal slide holder cases filled.


    But - I also collect the following:

    Radios (and a few TV's), typewriters, VHS movies (some that are only available as a tape), vinyl LP's (rock, jazz, classical), vintage Matchbox cars (still have many from childhood) and - if three of anything is a collection - the Ford Mustang. I have a 1985 coupe, a 1988 convertible, and a 1999 coupe.


    Wow! Well, I asked, didn’t I? I’m guessing your place is a lot of fun to visit!




    Web 3- painting with light.jpg
    “One of the first, and favorite, of my "driving around with the shutter open," "paint with light" photos. Pentax MV 28mm F22 2mins long, Kodak 400 C-41.”





    Getting back to photography, what do you consider as your main gear these days? Do you have a go-to setup, or do you tend to mix things up?


    My main 35mm shooter for pro-work is a Canon EOS A2E. Personal work 35mm is a Pentax MX. Carry all the time camera could be one of two Pentax MV's or a ME. And I just picked up a Canon Rebel GII for $20 which still needs it's test roll shot. 120 is shot with a Voitlander Perkeo 120, Foldex 620 and I have a Industrial Polaroid 4x5 camera for product or still life.



    How often are you able to get out and shoot?

    I hardly have shot anything in the last 2 years, Covid and my Pop getting sick (he passed last December) have put that on hold. I do still try to get in the darkroom when I can.




    Web 4- New Orleans.jpg
    “Loved this shot since I clicked the shutter, I knew at that moment it was a good shot. Taken on the streets of New Orleans, 1991. Pentax Super Program 50mm, Fuji 400 C-41.”



    If you could time travel, forward or back, where would you go? How come?

    That's an interesting question. Don't care much about the future, although it would be interesting to see if we have colonized Mars. Would be fun to travel back to 1904 St. Louis and stop by Schiller's Camera (which opened in 1892) to buy all I needed to shoot and print 8x10 glass plates at the 1904 World’s Fair.

    I'd also like to travel back the 1964 New York World’s Fair to see the introduction of the Ford Mustang. I'd use a Leica 35mm with Kodachrome film.



    Do you have a favorite photographer? Does this photographer influence your style and, if so, in what way?

    For years, my favorite photographer was Ansel Adams. Most of his influence was in the darkroom. I think it showed in the fact that in the mid 90's while working at Clayton Camera I became known for my superior BW printing skills. But after seeing the documentary "The Genius of Photography" (2007) my new favorite became Eugene Atget. His Paris scenes are, to me, something to marvel.

    By the way: anyone who is, or wants to be, a photographer should see that documentary.



    Web 5- Gateway arch.jpg
    “Not only my favorite BW but also my favorite Gateway Arch photo. Added bonus of two other land marks, Eads bridge and the Admiral river boat. Again, loved this since I clicked the shutter.
    Taken with my Foldex 620 with Konica IR 120, Red 25 filter.”




    What’s the best present you ever received? Who gave it to you, and why is it so special?


    I'd have to say my GI Joe 12" action figure. My parents gave him to me in the mid 70's and then acquired many accessories. I did not have many friends until I was 18 so Joe was my buddy.

    And yes, before you ask - I still have him and his gear.

    I wasn’t going to ask you! ….okay, I was. So thanks for the reply.




    Web 6- darkroom fun.jpg
    “Love to use paint brushes with paper developer in the darkroom, no Photoshop here. So much fun.”





    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would love to go?


    Other than seeing more of the US, still so many places I have not been here, I'd love to go where my Italian side came from Genoa, Italy. Stay there for awhile then rent a car and travel back roads to Milan. Of course - shooting mass rolls of film the whole time.

    Of course!



    Scotty, thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. I’m sure your fellow TPF members will join me in offering condolences over the loss of your father. It was wonderful to hear how he and your mom got you interested in your photographic journey. Thanks also for sharing some of your favorite photos, too! You do beautiful work.



    This completes the interview part of our member spotlight. As a reminder, our members are welcomed - and encouraged - to participate in our interviews. Ask Scotty more questions, or comment as you wish.

    Take it from here!



     
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  2. Space Face

    Space Face Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Very interesting. Good to see a background totally based on film and the enthusiasm still retained for it.

    Some sad moments and happier ones too. TFS.
     
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  3. Dean_Gretsch

    Dean_Gretsch Always looking... Supporting Member

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    Great read and interesting perspective on how digital has changed things for you. I am very partial to your " gateway " shot for it's perspective. The last is very imaginative as well.
     
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  4. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks, I'm just so comfortable with film and printing BW in the darkroom for me is very relaxing.
     
  5. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks for the comments. The last image was one of 20 or so "paint with developer" of the same image I did for a friend (he's the guy in the photo).
     
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  6. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    My pleasure. Thanks for the invite.
     
  7. CherylL

    CherylL TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    Loved reading your interview! There were a few films I have heard of ...Fuji 400, Ektar, Ilford. Loved the photos you chose. The last one of the arch is unique. Living in the area there are a ton of arch photos, but yours is truly unique.

    Wonderful how your Pop gave you that first camera and how it turned into life. My condolences on your father's passing.

    I love Schiller's! When the other store, CC, was open I would not go there. It was 5 miles from me, but I would always cross the river and drive 40 miles to Schiller's for the best service.
     
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  8. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks for the comments CherylL!
    My Pop also got me into automobiles, mostly the Ford Mustang. He was 85 when he passed. I've been working for Schiller's since 2007 and it appears this is where I'll work till retirement. And Arch pics...? I've seen thousands of them so when ever I do feel the urge to photograph that marvelous structure, I look for angles that I have not seen.
     
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  9. paigew

    paigew Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    So sorry to hear about your dad :(

    I really enjoyed your interview! I love that sunset shot so much!!
     
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  10. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks! Pop and I were tight, miss him. I'd have to dig out the negs but if I remember right I shot 8-10 rolls 36exp's of the sunset and maybe 4 shots of the magnifying glass in the hand.....LOL
     
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  11. Peeb

    Peeb Semi-automatic Mediocrity Generator Supporting Member

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    Great interview! So many interesting cameras and photos.
     
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  12. webestang64

    webestang64 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks!
     

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