4260 is a versatile and dynamic guild celebrating the fine art of black and white photography created using film negatives and traditional darkroom methods.
We are lovers of the handmade, the instinctive element of guesswork, the alchemical process, the mysteries of the darkroom and the magical qualities inherent in a piece of film. Perhaps the thing we love most about this processs is the same thing that has captivated so many photographers for over a century: film's ability to be manipulated by hand. From the earliest contact prints to today's silver gelatin enlargements, the film process has remained essentially a mechanical one. Film is not necessarily superior to digital, but it is unique - a beautiful object in and of itself. A strip of negatives holds more than bits of information; it is a composite of shadow and light, the literal, physical slice of an artist's vision. It readily responds to our direct hand manipulation of it, and requires a person to roll up his sleeves and work with an array of materials - film, chemical, water, light, toner - to bring that image to life.
It is these aspects – the physicality of the medium and the direct engagement with materials - which is central to the idea of 4260 Guild. When the printer works in the lab, he uses his hands to develop, enlarge, expose, dip, soak, wash, dry and press the photographic print. The immediacy of this handiwork has a value that transcends functionality or aesthetics. A piece of furniture can be designed and built by computer and may be beautiful and well made, yet we still desire the woodworker to craft for us pieces of furniture solely by hand. We value these hand-crafted works because the hand of man is evident in the final product. And we invest these finished works of art with added appreciation. As artists, viewers and collectors of film photography, we value the film photograph not only because of the power of the image but because we appreciate the process used to create it.
It is our intent to keep film photography alive and in the minds of viewers, artists and collectors alike - in spite of the digital revolution - not so much out of romance nor nostalgia, but out of a belief that film is a gorgeous thing, as worthy of preservation and admiration as any other handmade effort. As worthy of our respect and appreciation today at the dawn of the 21st Century, as it was at the dawn of the 20th.
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