Another image in my Women and Cameras series, and the second to feature a friend who is not a model. My friend Jo-Anne is holding a Kodak Duoflex, a simple camera made from the mid 1940’s to mid 1950’s. To me it seems like a “friendly” camera, and I think Jo-Anne’s warm expression suits it to a T.
This image is from my antique lens 4×5 portrait series, but is definitely different from most of the others in the series so far. Instead of a dreamy soft focus look, I felt that for Lauren (a bass player in a Goth band) a grittier, tougher look would be a more honest portrayal, so in post processing of the negative scan that is what I emphasized.
Typically, photographs that are noted for texture tend to be sharp, with a lot of detail. The image in this post is from my brass lens portrait series: the combination of the old lens, long (4-5 second!) exposure ensure that these images will not be sharp. Also, the photo paper that I use for the negatives in this process tends to emphasize skin blemishes, so in post I need to further smooth things out a bit, further reducing detail.
However, I still like the texture in this image, particularly in the hair, and the way the light plays on it.
In a perverse sense, it is refreshing to get a sense of adventure with this film project, not being sure if images will even turn out. Such a change from the bland perfection of digital. Another session where I got one barely usable image, requiring a lot of work in post. Still very happy with the image; amazing eyes!
Another image from my Vintage lens portrait series, of model Memento Mori, shot on a 4×5 paper negative, an exposure of about 4 seconds or so. I only have 4 film holders for my 4×5 view camera; with each holder two taking sheets, that gives me 8 shots before reloading (in the darkroom!). I’m happy that with eight images, I got three, perhaps four keepers. I never get that ratio with digital.
I tweeted yesterday that large format photography is like playing the French horn or the oboe: both these instruments can produce beautiful music, but are absolutely unforgiving if you make a mistake. One difference in photography though is the tools available to rescue a photograph, and the image in this post is an example of what can be done to “fix it in post.” The original image (taken yesterday morning using by 4×5 view camera, antique brass lens and paper negative) was severely underexposed, and was not flattering in terms of skin texture, but through the use of scanning and image manipulation tools I was able to bring enough of the image back to create a portrait I quite like.
When I was in Ottawa for PAB2011 in June one evening I walked by a store called The Camera Trading Company one evening, after closing time. The store looked fascinating, and I resolved to visit the next morning. What a store! Focussing on film/vintage photography gear, it is the kind of place I could spend many hours (and many $$$). Today’s image is of the proprietor, in front of a wall of classic cameras.
What I found encouraging was that the store was busy when I went in, and while I was there a women in her late teens/early 20’s came in and bought a film camera. It’s great to see the next generation picking up film 🙂