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Business / Philosophy of Photography Taking pics is one thing, but understanding why we take them, what they mean, what they are best used for, how they effect our reality -- all of these and more are important issues of the Philosophy of Photography. One of the best authors on the subject is Susan Sontag in her book "On Photography."

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Hand made vs manufactured
Old 01-21-2014   #1
FrankS
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Hand made vs manufactured

For some people, it doesn't matter how an object is made. They only consider its function. Take a knife for instance. If its cuts well, that's all that is important to some.

For others, how an object is made is also important. Given that it also cuts well, some people would place greater value on a hand made/forged knife.

Why is that? Is it mere artifice? Is it fetishism? There can be more than one reason, and different people will have different reasons. Are there any defendable reasons with merit?

Consider also a house. It keeps its occupants warm/cool, dry, and secure. It could be a prefab house, a cookie cutter subdivision house, or a largely hand crafted timber frame house. Is there a difference in inherent (non-commercial) value?

What do you think?
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Old 01-21-2014   #2
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Sorry, artifice was the wrong word to use.

I meant something shallow, frivolous, misguided
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Old 01-21-2014   #3
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I talk out of both sides of my mouth on this topic.

For the most part, functionality and economy of design drives my buying decisions.

Then again, I do love, buy and cherish hancrafted things. (My coffee mug collection is a good example of this.) The handcrafted character of something makes it a more personal item to me, and a good coffee cup is very personal .
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hand-built values
Old 01-21-2014   #4
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hand-built values

I am not sure how this pertains to RF photography, but living in a timber-frame home that I largely designed and finished myself, I know that I would never be as happy in a prefab as I am in this place.
In my photography, I find myself constantly struggling with balancing the ease and speed of digital vs. the slow, exacting demands of a RF film camera. Yet, I will not give up film, or my RF cameras. I think that part of this, as with the demands of a hand-built home, is that very demand for my care and attention. Perhaps we value something more because it requires our focus and attention, and our minds. WES
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Old 01-21-2014   #5
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Thanks Dave.
Thanks Wes - I'm happy that my post has resulted in a rare post from you!
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Old 01-21-2014   #6
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The odd contradiction to me is that we associate products that are hand made as luxurious and exceptional, when in reality being handmade can be a liability. As the complexity of a system increases and error tolerances decrease, mechanization is the only way to achieve consistency. Think of exotic automobiles that are "hand assembled" and how they are known for costly upkeep versus the hordes of cookie cutter "sensible" cars. Throw in a bit of lore and you get stories such as how pulling back the upholstery on a British TVR sports car and you might find crass scrawling from one assembly worker to the next!

I think once you get past the practicality of it, it comes down to the warm feeling that you know that a literal person (and probably a skilled one at that) actually spent time making something for you. There was effort, attention, and care - and in a sense, validation that you are worth it. A product made by machines - while possibly costly - is without direct effort, and therefore not special.

Multiply this by a large factor if it is your own effort, as then the validation is that you made the thing, and are fulfilled in its accomplishment.
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Old 01-21-2014   #7
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I'm guessing that there is an assumption that something handmade will be better made than a mass-produced item. I'm not sure about that. If the materials, design, and quality control of the mass-produced item are of a high standard, I think it will be as well made as the handmade item (and probably easier to fix at that). One of the great advances in industry has been the development of mass-production techniques that help ensure a repeatable level of quality.

I think the concept of "handmade" can only really apply to simple items, such as a knife or a piece of pottery or furniture -- none of which is a "mechanism." When you are dealing with a mechanism, which has a series of interdependent (and moving) parts, I think you need to have a high degree of interchangeability of parts and subassemblies. Without that, I'd argue it's impossible to keep them in operation.
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Old 01-21-2014   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sejanus.Aelianus View Post
I watched a programme many years ago, about "the Japanese Way" of manufacturing. This programme featured engineers who claimed that, for complex products such as cars, the Japanese methods were far superior to "hand building".

They related this to the Portsmouth Block Mills, which started using machine tools in a continuous assembly process around 1802. They claimed that the quality of blocks used in Royal Navy ships improved reliability over the previous process of hand manufacture.

They also pointed out that, if the quality assurance regime was not adhered to, the manufacturer ended up with great numbers of faulty products. Those of us who bought British cars before 1990 can attest to the truth of that!

... not sure one can trust propaganda from the military-industrial complex myself
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Old 01-21-2014   #9
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i like that we can all enjoy life differently and make no judgements about others.
i prefer living in a city and prefer living in an apartment compared to a house.
the idea of living in the 'country' is nice for a short holiday but it would drive me crazy full time.
i like the idea of handmade but don't like paying the extra costs involved in buying such an item.
are my on film wet printed images worth more than a digitally created lab produced print?
to some perhaps and others not so much!
my step-father would only drink his regular coffee made from a percolater coffee maker…his espresso from a small coffee maker placed on a gas flamed burner…

we are a diverse breed…enjoy us!
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Old 01-21-2014   #10
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Is there anything these days that is genuinely hand made? That is, without the use of any machine tools? James Krenov was a woodworker who did everything by hand, even hand sawing great planks of wood, but I imagine that dedication to hand made is rare now (he died in 2009). Individually made pieces are a different matter IMO, but whether or not the degree of hand making in the final product is important is moot IMO. Products that are finished or fine tuned by hand can bring pleasure from knowing that individual care and attention has been paid. There may also be a certain cache to individuality. However, while I would prefer to support a small scale operation if I had the choice, the main driver for me is the enduring quality and utility of the product, not its method of creation.
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Old 01-21-2014   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankS View Post
For some people, it doesn't matter how an object is made. They only consider its function. Take a knife for instance. If its cuts well, that's all that is important to some.

For others, how an object is made is also important. Given that it also cuts well, some people would place greater value on a hand made/forged knife.

Why is that? Is it mere artifice? Is it fetishism? There can be more than one reason, and different people will have different reasons. Are there any defendable reasons with merit?

Consider also a house. It keeps its occupants warm/cool, dry, and secure. It could be a prefab house, a cookie cutter subdivision house, or a largely hand crafted timber frame house. Is there a difference in inherent (non-commercial) value?

What do you think?
It depends, Frank. Romance and fetishism are a nice luxury unless your life depends on it. When I drive my R1100S at full speed, I kind of like the idea that its fork, frame and ABS system are "manufactured".

Note that I also drive a vintage car (and I've driven it far), but I did swap the breaks against modern disk breaks shortly after getting it.

I have a 1956 Summicron, the first Leitz computer optimized lens design. Was it hand made or manufactured ?

Roland.
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Old 01-21-2014   #12
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Products that are finished or fine tuned by hand can bring pleasure from knowing that individual care and attention has been paid. There may also be a certain cache to individuality.
That's what makes the difference for me: you hold something where you can say "that person made it". But for appreciation of the object it is how it is designed and how it performs its function that does it for me. Far lees how it was made. I can appreciate just as well a crude, rough tool that does a simple job but does it perfectly and without problem each time.

Quote:
Note that I also drive a vintage car (and I've driven it far), but I did swap the breaks against modern disk breaks shortly after getting it.
Is this a pun or just an error? Can"t make up my mind Just great!
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Old 01-21-2014   #13
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Frank, good thread - you know my position from my response on the interesting argument about Gibson.

Appreciate your viewpoints on this really central topic.

Randy
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Old 01-21-2014   #14
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I can be on both sides of the fence depending on what type of product we are talking about.
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Old 01-21-2014   #15
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Quote:
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Is there anything these days that is genuinely hand made? That is, without the use of any machine tools? James Krenov was a woodworker who did everything by hand, even hand sawing great planks of wood, but I imagine that dedication to hand made is rare now (he died in 2009). Individually made pieces are a different matter IMO, but whether or not the degree of hand making in the final product is important is moot IMO. Products that are finished or fine tuned by hand can bring pleasure from knowing that individual care and attention has been paid. There may also be a certain cache to individuality. However, while I would prefer to support a small scale operation if I had the choice, the main driver for me is the enduring quality and utility of the product, not its method of creation.
I own a Cris Mirabella jazz guitar that is a prototype. Hand made to me means crafted by one person and not "bench made like say a "Santa Cruz" guitar which I consider a "boutique" guitar even though the Santa Cruz I own was a custom order.

Large premiums and value added if the item is both custom made and basically a one off because mass production is avoided rarity inflates the cost. My friend Cris cuts a neck dovetail by hand that cant be performed by a machine (his dovetail is both large and deep like a De'Angelico).

Musical instruments at this level I deem hand made and the craftsmen are really artists. The enduring quality is there.

Cal
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Old 01-21-2014   #16
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Quote:
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I own a Cris Mirabella jazz guitar that is a prototype. Hand made to me means crafted by one person and not "bench made like say a "Santa Cruz" guitar which I consider a "boutique" guitar even though the Santa Cruz I own was a custom order.

Large premiums and value added if the item is both custom made and basically a one off because mass production is avoided rarity inflates the cost. My friend Cris cuts a neck dovetail by hand that cant be performed by a machine (his dovetail is both large and deep like a De'Angelico).

Musical instruments at this level I deem hand made and the craftsmen are really artists. The enduring quality is there.

Cal
Guitars. Now you're talking. A good friend of mine made me a superb acoustic guitar in the 70s. I watched the process and saw the amount of skill and effort put into creating the finished product. Very little machine work. I agree that this is as close to hand made as you can get.
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Old 01-21-2014   #17
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I think the question is very dependent on the item and price range.

Something can be manufactured to fairly high standards, but because of mass production, the cost can be kept down. With handmade products, if low cost is a big factor, then quality usually suffers.

With guitars, one can go out and buy a fairly decent mass produced guitar for around $500, and chances are it is likely a better guitar than a $500 handmade guitar.
At the other end of the spectrum, a $5000 handmade guitar is probably going to be a better guitar than a $5000 manufactured guitar.
Handmade items will usually have a lot more character than manufactured items.

There are also very different levels of manufacturing. Take Lie-Nielsen Toolworks for example. They are a small handtool manufacturer in Maine, yet they consistently manufacture hand tools that are every bit as good as their handmade counterparts. Ever single part of every single tool they make enters the shop as raw materials.
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Old 01-21-2014   #18
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Consider "manu" (from "by hand") and "factured" (from "made") and ask if the proposed distinction is not a continuuum.

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Old 01-21-2014   #19
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I base most of my major purchase decisions on longevity and the probability of getting my money back out of something.

for what it's worth my pocket knife is a Strider SJ75. I bought it at a brick and mortar and it was the only knife I could find that had a decent combination of actually cutting, size and safety. I was quite sore I had to spend so much; I went in looking to spend maybe 100 dollars on a new knife. sometimes you have a list of necessary criteria and you tell yourself that any old thing will do and you're just wrong.
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Old 01-21-2014   #20
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oh and where hand made can mean a superior product is when you take random parts and modify them such that they fit together better not as two items in a vacuum but as a matched pair.

something a machine can do infinitely better but no one sets their machines up to do.
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Old 01-21-2014   #21
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Quote:
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. . . something a machine can do infinitely better but no one sets their machines up to do.
Highlight: Unsurprisingly. A selective assembly program would be quite hard to write, and would require either that the machine measured and stored the dimensions of all parts, or simply tried all parts until they met criteria for "smoothness" -- which would be even harder to program. Could a machine be "infinitely better"? I really, seriously doubt it.

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Old 01-21-2014   #22
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I think this is an interesting question..

Myself, I own a few guitars, one of them being a "completely" hand made Tim Kill custom Weissenborn-style guitar. It's handmade in the sense that no computer controlled machines are involved, but of course power tools are used to saw, drill etc, at least to my knowledge.

That guitar is also unique because he doesn't make two identical instruments, even if we would consider it possible to do such a thing by hand.

I don't own that guitar, or consider it better, because it is hand built, rather it's hand built because that was the only option I had to get an nicer guitar than the one I already owned.

It has higher affectionate value to me though because I know it is unique, but that has nothing to do with the process, but rather it's only the decision that the luthier choose to not duplicate designs.

I also own a semi-handmade Cole Clark guitar. It's just semi handmade because they use more computer controlled tools for higher accuracy etc, but to the best of my knowledge it is assembled by hand - but top and back etc are matched through computerized process.

Because this guitar still is assembled by hand I could also have it customized a bit, and therefor it is also somewhat "unique", but I would guess they'd do exactly the same for another customer.

Of course I think it is "cool" to own something that no one else owns, but it has absolutely nothing to do with quality for me. If I could, I'd rather pay less for a machine-manufactured instrument of equal quality.

Just because it is mass produced doesn't mean it is inherently of lower quality, it has nothing to do with the process at all, in my opinion. I do think however that mass production usually means people want to cut costs, and therefor also are more willing to skimp on quality, as opposed to a luthier making everything by hand perhaps. But it isn't always the case.

To be honest, if I ignore all the psychological aspects of uniqueness and respect for the craft etc, then handmade for me more or less means "imperfections". One thing I never understood is the argument that pops up sometimes where people say they prefer hand made stuff because of imperfections. I'm fine with people seeing it that way, but I don't get it myself.

I like stuff "perfect", I like that "perfect" fit and finish that in some cases only machines can produce (in my opinion). I do not like the "imperfections" created by the human factor, there is nothing romantic about that for me.

That being said, somethings machines are better at, other humans are better at, it is just the way it is. But I think the added value of hand made is largely psychological, or relating to things like uniqueness, emotional connection, personalization etc - and less about the actual product.

When it comes to cameras, I am pretty confident that Leica could automate 99% of the stuff they do by hand when assembling cameras, and at the same time lower the price a lot. They chose not do, which is fine, but I am not buying it is because of increased quality (in that case).
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Old 01-21-2014   #23
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oh and where hand made can mean a superior product is when you take random parts and modify them such that they fit together better not as two items in a vacuum but as a matched pair.

something a machine can do infinitely better but no one sets their machines up to do.
Well, fitting in the sense you describe is something that isn't needed if the engineers did their job of specifying and tolerancing as they should be (and phb let them do it that way). Because if you could do it, some/all components have to be "oversized" to allow fitting. (you can add material but it will never be the same as removing material)

And some people do have machines dedicated to matching components. Kef loudspeakers does (did?) this and had a computer dedicated to it. All the production went through it and the computer matched sets to go in pairs of loudspeakers.
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Old 01-21-2014   #24
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Quote:
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Highlight: Unsurprisingly. A selective assembly program would be quite hard to write, and would require either that the machine measured and stored the dimensions of all parts, or simply tried all parts until they met criteria for "smoothness" -- which would be even harder to program. Could a machine be "infinitely better"? I really, seriously doubt it.

Cheers,

R.
if you are doing it one piece at a time you simply measure the two parts and modify one to fit the other with the computer.

the machines are not set up to operate this way. they are set up to make the same part over and over again within a range of tolerance and parts outside of it get thrown away. then the parts are put together out of a bin without much effort put into matching them. benchmade is the worst ****ing example of this Ive never seen one where both scales line up right.

Ive seen computer controlled lathes operate; if you are willing to make things 1 at a time and spend tons of machine time to do it, it's very possible. that is kind of my point. not that you could easily mass produce things with a computer referencing every individual part and making 10,000 units that have the least mean squared differences between the gaps in the parts.
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Old 01-21-2014   #25
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For me, for some stuff it matters, and some not.

For computers, cars etc. we expect and understand that they've been assembled at least partly by machines, and are likely better for it.

On the other hand, I like the idea of people making things with their hands, and the level of skill required in that. I just read 'Longitude' by Dava Sobel, and that John Harrison built those sea going clocks/watches with his hands, I find unbelievable, and fascinating. A quartz watch will work better in it's task (keeping time at sea), but how can be not value the sheer skill level of one person in their abilty to build something like that?

Time and a place for both I suppose, but yes, hand made matters to me.
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Old 01-21-2014   #26
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It's an interesting question, and after having a look around my home I think the only hand-made item I could spot is my scrap-wood table.



Hand-made wooden chairs sound downright uncomfortable to me, I'd rather sit in my industrially-produced Eames chair really. Would I love my table as much had it come from a factory? Probably, if the materials used had been recycled as well. But maybe that's not possible on an industrial scale.

For everything else, there's probably chips and switches in them. Can I consider my M9 hand-made? I know Leica likes me to believe that, but it's not really an aspect of consideration to me. I'd love the camera just the same had a robot spit it out at the end of the line.
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Old 01-21-2014   #27
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hand made prints…

anyone have a hand made camera?
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Old 01-21-2014   #28
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I appreciate craftsmanship is some things I own like hand made knives and handles. My favorite furniture is hand crafted.
However this is defined by the end quality, not the method.
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Old 01-21-2014   #29
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hand made prints…

anyone have a hand made camera?
... me sir! ... I do!



... sorry, I'll get me'coat
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Old 01-21-2014   #30
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Quote:
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I own a Cris Mirabella jazz guitar that is a prototype. Hand made to me means crafted by one person and not "bench made like say a "Santa Cruz" guitar which I consider a "boutique" guitar even though the Santa Cruz I own was a custom order.

Large premiums and value added if the item is both custom made and basically a one off because mass production is avoided rarity inflates the cost. My friend Cris cuts a neck dovetail by hand that cant be performed by a machine (his dovetail is both large and deep like a De'Angelico).

Musical instruments at this level I deem hand made and the craftsmen are really artists. The enduring quality is there.

Cal
I have a Custom Shop L5 that I like a lot, I really wouldn't call it handmade but it's beautiful. A lot of these custom makers based their designs on guitars like this. Even De'Angellico did. If it was good enough for Wes then it's good enough for me. I guess my point is that even people who historically made things by hand always looked for tools to make their jobs easier. The same is true today, the tools have just gotten better. One could make the argument that nothing is really "hand made"..except for maybe a sandwich.

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Old 01-30-2014   #31
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I'm not sure handmade is better or higher quality; those wouldn't necessarily be why I choose handmade goods.
I think the reason to have handmade is often they are unique, all very slightly different or 'quirky' not uniformed like factory made goods.
Another reason would be to have something that is uniquely yours, for instance a bootmaker who makes boots that are fitted to your actual foot, they are unique in that they fit only you.
Handmade doesn't have anything to do with the tools used either, they just have to be made-by hand with human beings making them directly without machinery and other abstraction layers.
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Old 01-30-2014   #32
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I'm not sure handmade is better or higher quality; those wouldn't necessarily be why I choose handmade goods.
I think the reason to have handmade is often they are unique, all very slightly different or 'quirky' not uniformed like factory made goods.
Another reason would be to have something that is uniquely yours, for instance a bootmaker who makes boots that are fitted to your actual foot, they are unique in that they fit only you.
Handmade doesn't have anything to do with the tools used either, they just have to be made-by hand with human beings making them directly without machinery and other abstraction layers.
The question is, where do you start to define "machinery"? A guitar would be a good example. No-one is going to cut down a tree with an axe, hand-saw and adze the wood, mine, smelt and cast the metalwork (never mind making the strings)... "Hand assembled" would be a better term. My "hand made" boots were machine stitched...

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Old 01-30-2014   #33
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Quote:
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For some people, it doesn't matter how an object is made. They only consider its function. Take a knife for instance. If its cuts well, that's all that is important to some.

For others, how an object is made is also important. Given that it also cuts well, some people would place greater value on a hand made/forged knife.

Why is that? Is it mere artifice? Is it fetishism? There can be more than one reason, and different people will have different reasons. Are there any defendable reasons with merit?

Consider also a house. It keeps its occupants warm/cool, dry, and secure. It could be a prefab house, a cookie cutter subdivision house, or a largely hand crafted timber frame house. Is there a difference in inherent (non-commercial) value?

What do you think?
Depends on the specific object.
If we're talking cameras.... I've owned a bunch of Leica stuff. I've owned a bunch of gear from a bunch of other manufacturers. The Leica stuff, by far, has been more unreliable and/or temperamental. Canon and Nikon gear JUST WORKS. So, if the Leica is 'handmade,' and doesn't perform as expected, the 'handmadedness' is just a bout of wanking.

I didn't buy the Leica stuff because it was handmade. I actually don't care one way or the other with photographic equipment. I know some people sorta 'get off' on knowing an item was made in a certain country, by people with a certain distinction and all that. I always thought that was sorta ridiculous with cameras. But, i'm not 'anti-' whatever it is we're talking about. I'd much rather have a German car than one from Japan or Korea or the US. That's not a 'handmade' issue, but maybe one of the provenance/snobbery combo. Not sure if that's just because i prefer the aesthetics, engineering, and heritage, or if i have some prejudices at work.

Handmade, to me, isn't really an important distinction unless we're talking about art. And, in that, i might sometimes include furnishings. But, even with furniture, i'd still choose aesthetics and function over handmadedness.

Someone just mentioned guitars. I've bought a bunch, and never ever noted whether any were handmade or not. I assumed not, as i haven't bought any custom instruments. I do care where they're built, though, but only because resale value is a factor.

I can't think of much that i have that i expect to be handmade. I have some Sonus-Faber loudspeakers. Maybe they are? But, i bought them because of the sound and their physical beauty. I don't really care if they're made with the same machines as Bose. Watches? Again, i think it's all about design for me. I'm a graphic designer, and aesthetics take precedence much of the time. I don't know how my Panerai or Tag are made. And, fact is, i've had fakes that were as reliable as my real ones.

Oh- i once bought an old vase at a flea market in Rio. I have no idea where it came from, but it's beautiful. I hope very much that it is handmade and unique, and not something that could have been bought in their version of Crate and Barrel. But, that's back to Art and furnishings. With 'tools,' i really just want them to perform and give me an enjoyable experience while they're performing. Some people might get more out of the experience if they value the craft that went into that particular tool. I'm always much more focused on the task, though, and not about a 'fairy tale.' That last bit sounds dismissive and condescending, but it's not how i meant it. It's sorta like how people with Leicas sorta feel like they're 'channeling' HC-B when they're shooting, because they've got 'his' camera. We sometimes like to create stories for ourselves as it aggrandizes our lives, right?
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Old 01-30-2014   #34
Joao
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Interesting thread.
It brings to my mind the Japaneses Wabi-sabi concept

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wabi-sabi

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Old 01-30-2014   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by back alley View Post
hand made prints…

anyone have a hand made camera?

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Old 01-30-2014   #36
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Cameras, car break pads, guitars, suits - in terms of practicality and value the question is absolutely contingent on the item and circumstance.

Personally I prefer to buy things directly from the people who make them (industrially or otherwise). I know that when I hand over money to a tailor I am paying for their hard work, not the work of a marketer/advertiser/distributer/copyright lawyer/salesperson/administrator. An often misunderstood point to the arts and crafts movement is that it was a reaction not to industrialisation, but to the conditions that industrialisation aggravated; the alienation of workers from their goods, loss of worker rights, depersonalisation, the introduction of expensive administrative and managerial systems, the "capitalists" skimming worker profits, environmental damage etc. etc. For people like William Morris one of the founders of the movement, the reaction was to modernity, not the factory itself (he actually started his own mills - though according to his personal socialist ideals, a common theme in the arts and crafts movement).

Whenever I hear people talking about manufactured vs hand made, unless they're talking about something specific, I can't help but think generally they're not talking about the products or processes themselves, but rather the different philosophies the two production models have been associated with. For anyone to have a meaningful general discussion about it, the conflicting ideologies have to be disentangled from the production models (which are almost never mutually exclusive in the first place anyway).
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Old 01-30-2014   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nongfuspring View Post
Cameras, car break pads, guitars, suits - in terms of practicality and value the question is absolutely contingent on the item and circumstance.

Personally I prefer to buy things directly from the people who make them (industrially or otherwise). I know that when I hand over money to a tailor I am paying for their hard work, not the work of a marketer/advertiser/distributer/copyright lawyer/salesperson/administrator. An often misunderstood point to the arts and crafts movement is that it was a reaction not to industrialisation, but to the conditions that industrialisation aggravated; the alienation of workers from their goods, loss of worker rights, depersonalisation, the introduction of expensive administrative and managerial systems, the "capitalists" skimming worker profits, environmental damage etc. etc. For people like William Morris one of the founders of the movement, the reaction was to modernity, not the factory itself (he actually started his own mills - though according to his personal socialist ideals, a common theme in the arts and crafts movement).

Whenever I hear people talking about manufactured vs hand made, unless they're talking about something specific, I can't help but think generally they're not talking about the products or processes themselves, but rather the different philosophies the two production models have been associated with. For anyone to have a meaningful general discussion about it, the conflicting ideologies have to be disentangled from the production models (which are almost never mutually exclusive in the first place anyway).
Beautifully put.

And of course sometimes they're buying an image of "hand made" that was created by marketers/ advertisers/ distributors/ copyright lawyers/ salespeople/ administrators.

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R.
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Old 01-30-2014   #38
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I appreciate quality, tactile and aesthetic properties of the instruments I use, from my camera, through my car, shoes, bag.
If "hand made" is required to make it a better object (I think sewing thick leather is an example) so be it. If machines and computers are the best to do the job and improve the object, so be it too...
I would rather have a very precisely produced machine manufactured camera or lens than an average or less reliable one made by hand.
and as Roger as pointed out manu-factured etymology is "hand made"...
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Old 01-30-2014   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
The question is, where do you start to define "machinery"? A guitar would be a good example. No-one is going to cut down a tree with an axe, hand-saw and adze the wood, mine, smelt and cast the metalwork (never mind making the strings)... "Hand assembled" would be a better term. My "hand made" boots were machine stitched...

Cheers,

R.
Its about layers of abstraction if you use the machinery in your hand like a sewing machine then it is still hand made as your hand is directing the machine. So your handmade boots are still handmade if a machine stitches them so long as the machine is directed by the human hand.
If you load the pattern a computer program and have a laser cutter cut the leather while you go to the lavatory that is no longer hand made.

So it isn't the tools, it's the actual direction of the machine with the hand, hand assembled is hand made IMO irrespective of how the parts are produced
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Old 01-30-2014   #40
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'Manufactured' or 'handmade' for me would, like many here it seems, depend entirely on the item itself.

As a child born in the UK in the early 70s I've spent far too much time at the road side with my parents and sister whilst our 'Friday afternoon' British Leyland Allegro refused to budge to overlook the joy of jumping into a Robot built Mazda knowing it will simply get you to where you want to be, always. I also had a Triumph Spitfire and GT6 at one point or another and both had more character than the Mazda MX5 I had for a while but both required me to get my hands under the bonnet far more often than on the wheel, which as someone with no taste for tinkering and no ability for handcraft made it a miserable experience more than the joy it could, very occasionally, be. Whereas a tailored suit, designed and made to hide the flabby bits and make you feel great over an off the hook 'First Court Appearance' suit (as David Shepherd TopMan's head of marketing called their suits back in 2001) would be something I'd be far more willing to pay out for.

Which is kind of my second, albeit slightly obvious point, it also depends on the quality of the handmade item and who the crafts person is i.e. are they any good. I can make stuff by hand but you'd be a fool to try and use it. Homer Simpson's spice rack always come to mind when I think about making something.

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