Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Dr. No? Blofeld? Nope It's Goldfinger!

Morning folks - y'know, in a galaxy far, far away and a long time ago, people actually used to prInt and mail out paper catalogues! 
It was dead exciting getting one through the post because you could muse for hours over your choice of whatever you liked from a planet full of stuff, narrowing your choices down day by day, till the ultimate list was made!
No more searching your High Street and feeling despondent and glum because your local shops never stocked anything you wanted at all. No, for a small amount of postage, there were wonderful people who would send you everything your heart desired.
And so it was with photography.
There are still a number of excellent mailorder suppliers of photographic stuff in the world - you should be using them rather than Ebay, or Amazon, simply because they care, they are knowledgable, and it is their business. Yes, you'll maybe pay more, but you are paying for a service and deep stock

Goldfinger pre-dated Silverprint (in London) - this is one of their mailorder things - it used to be available as a download on Silverprint's site, but it vanished a few years ago - I guess they thought 'Who wants to read this old stuff!'
So, in the interests of knowledge and some bloody fantastic reading, here it is again as a fully downloadable PDF.
My apologies to Martin Reed and Silverprint, but I just feel that stuff like this should be 'out there' as it were and not consigned to the digital skip of history! Though if you are from Silverprint, or indeed are Martin and you don't want this to remain posted please contact me.

This post buys some time for me - a small stop-gap whilst I try and get some more printing and writing done . . . but that's another (series) of stories . . .
The Godlfinger Craftbook is a well written photographic processing discourse. Sadly the price list has gone . . . as has a lot of the stuff mentioned.
I hope you enjoy it, oh and if you do, remember, FogBlog is pretty much dedicated to Ye Anciente Arte Of Printing And Processing, so have a look around - there's some interesting stuff on this blog if I do say so myself.

UPDATE 20/12/17:

I had a lovely comment from Martin Reed giving the history of Goldfinger - well worth a gander!


No problem at all posting the old Craftbook, I'm sorry the original I posted on the Silverprint site had such a grubby cover, however I still haven't got a better one.

But someone who does deserve credit was Peter Goldfield, the pharmacist who started the Goldfinger enterprise which led to the conception of that book. Strongly influenced by US photographers of the 1970's, including Paul Caponigro & Ralph Gibson, & aided & abetted by Paul Hill over here, Peter's aim for the setup was to get the UK 'up to speed' in the attitude to photography as a serious art form.

It might have suffered a bit from a 'Don Quixote' mentality, rather than laying down a firm financial base for long term survival, but at least the heart was in the right place. We were so strapped for cash that I printed all of those booklets in-house on a power ink duplicator, and they were then hand trimmed & hand collated before comb-binding them. Sounds a bit strange now, but the 70's was still a vaguely post-hippy time & it was possible to combine dedication to a business with also having some fun along the way.

Unfortunately Goldfinger was a company held together by one company's products, Agfa-Gevaert, & we built the company on importing these into the UK starting in 1977, when Agfa Germany had abandoned monochrome over here. We must have done a good job, as a few years later Agfa UK came back in & pushed us aside.

Subsequently it was to be Silverprint, & we kept the base a lot broader, so we were never again reliant purely on one agency.
I moved on a few years ago, the current SP management operate pretty much along the same lines - some of the history went by the wayside, though. 





This is the link:


It works. It'll open in Google Docs and is fully downloadable.
Every home should have one.

22 comments:

  1. Although I don't do darkroom work anymore, the booklet was informative. Now I know the difference between RC and fibre papers. In the past I only knew 'shiny' and 'not shiny'. (I wish I was joking).
    On a similar topic, I enjoy pre-digital age photography instruction books because they are all about photography and not how to do things on computer. "John Hedgecoe's Complete Guide to Photography" with its excellent projects, for example. Bryan Peterson wrote some good books about exposure and seeing creatively. Although the newer editions say "Includes Digital!", they are basically the same pure photography books written in the film age with "digital" stuck in now and then. "Use a high speed film or adjust the ISO on your digital camera." Also, the film books are not wanted by anyone anymore and I can get them cheap.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's great isn't it - you can't put a price on knowledge. I thnk this is a fascinating insight into what was arguably The (almost) Golden Age.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well done. I recently discovered my own copy. It surprised me when it vanished from the Silverprint website.
    A good deal of nostalgia in there – remember when Record Rapid was the only paper for the truly dedicated photographer?
    The digital revolution has changed more than photography. A new edition would look much prettier, it it existed on paper at all.

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  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  5. Very true David, and yet there's still a hunger for all things printed - just look at the sales of real books!
    I must admit, I've thrown none of my catalogues out - they're a fascinating read - I've even got mid-90's Silverprint and First Call ones somewhere . . . the price differences between then and now would make you gasp, so maybe it's best not to remember!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Phil, FYI you state the file can be downloaded, but that doesn't seem to work. The "download permissions" section in the file's Details say "viewers cannot download" ?!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for pointing that out - it should work now - any problems, let me know. My fault!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Well yes. there is something about holding a book... I recently discovered a Zone VI catalogue. I used to get the Newsletter, too. Interesting to watch Fred change from eager young upstart to the Man Who Knows Everything. I still have them, neatly bound in proper Zone VI ring binders. The plastic covering looks like a Z6 grey. You don't often see a densitometric pun, do you?

    ReplyDelete
  9. You certainly don't see puns like that very often (fortunately) ';0)
    I've got the Workshop book somwhere, though I've not read it as much as a lot of my other books simply because it smells like that leather bit you used to get at the end of the climbing ropes in school . . a curiously warm smell of some sort of alien cheese and chemicals . . it's all-pervading, so much so, that I've had to seal the book in a plastic bag.
    Hope your binders don't smell the same way . .

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  10. No smell that I can detect. I bow to your knowledge of rope-ends.
    Fred described Zone testing procedures but he, himself, bunged his highlights on VII and let the shadows do what they would. Apparently, in person, he was an inspiring teacher.

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  11. I didn't know that actually - interesting when the book is quite to the point!

    As for Rope Ends - Curator of the S.C.S.R. that's me

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  12. Dear Sheepy,

    Baaaaa, ba, baaaa baa. BAAA!

    In translation for the rest of the world:

    Those were the days my friend...

    Can't beat your golden finger, but I do have The SilverPrint Manual dated 1990 in a proper The SilverPrint Manual four hole ring binder*. I have measured the wodge of paper and it's about 3/4 inch thick. I'd semi-forgotten about it, but it's chock full of useful and interesting information.

    I also have a couple of Ag Photographic Darkroom Practice and Photography Magazines circa 1993/4 - again each bursting with photographic exoterica and esoterica, the occult and the quotidian.

    * No double entendres here. Though I was sorely tempted.

    ReplyDelete
  13. They sound fantastic - wish I could see them -I suppose canning and pdf'ing is a big job isn't it?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Of course you could scan them rather than canning them, I think the former is probably easier than the latter!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Canning - many pages. According to this place https://www.bookdepository.com/Silver-Print-Manual-Eddie-Ephraums/9780951688007 256 pages.

    That's a bit above and beyond even my boredom threshold. Soz! Maybe a project for when the nights are much longer than the days and I'm all caught up with my darkroom printing!

    I hadn't really looked at it before, but it seems to very comprehensively run through most of what an Ovine Film Photographer might need or, indeed, want to know.

    ReplyDelete
  16. That's a lot of canning and is probably similar to Ephraum's book . . so, not worth it. But thanks for checking!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Aaaargh! Theres's another Fogblog, or rather fog blog. It's about caravanning in Australia. Beware of imitations! oz fog blog. You may find it interesting, of course.

    ReplyDelete
  18. There's a number actually David - a nice one about birding too. The Oz camping one has shut own though, so we are safe.
    Phew!

    ReplyDelete
  19. No problem at all posting the old Craftbook, I'm sorry the original I posted on the Silverprint site had such a grubby cover, however I still haven't got a better one.

    But someone who does deserve credit was Peter Goldfield, the pharmacist who started the Goldfinger enterprise which led to the conception of that book. Strongly influenced by US photographers of the 1970's, including Paul Caponigro & Ralph Gibson, & aided & abetted by Paul Hill over here, Peter's aim for the setup was to get the UK 'up to speed' in the attitude to photography as a serious art form.

    It might have suffered a bit from a 'Don Quixote' mentality, rather than laying down a firm financial base for long term survival, but at least the heart was in the right place. We were so strapped for cash that I printed all of those booklets in-house on a power ink duplicator, and they were then hand trimmed & hand collated before comb-binding them. Sounds a bit strange now, but the 70's was still a vaguely post-hippy time & it was possible to combine dedication to a business with also having some fun along the way.

    Unfortunately Goldfinger was a company held together by one company's products, Agfa-Gevaert, & we built the company on importing these into the UK starting in 1977, when Agfa Germany had abandoned monochrome over here. We must have done a good job, as a few years later Agfa UK came back in & pushed us aside.

    Subsequently it was to be Silverprint, & we kept the base a lot broader, so we were never again reliant purely on one agency.
    I moved on a few years ago, the current SP management operate pretty much along the same lines - some of the history went by the wayside, though.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi Martin - thank you very much for adding a comment and filling in some details - that's appreciated. And I hope you don't mind, I've added you into the text too.

    How did you stumble across FB if you don't mind me asking?

    ReplyDelete
  21. It sounds a bit egotistic, but I searched under my name + Silverprint, to see what got trawled up, good or bad! Glad to find only good stuff.
    Thanks for keeping those old days alive.

    ReplyDelete
  22. It's a pleasure Martin - you know I look at photography now and can't help feeling a MASSIVE loss.
    I've ranted about the digi takeover in this blog quite a few times - as far as I am concerned it really isn't the same at all - the young photographer and potentially great photographic artist is missing out on a huge amount of creative learning. Up here in Dundee (at the Art College), photography is now called, wait for it, 'Time-based Art' . . Pshaw! Bring on the half-plates and Pyrogallol is all I can say to that ';0)

    Thanks once again for commenting - very nice of you to do so.

    ReplyDelete

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