Carole Taylor - A Presence In SpadesFriday, October 01, 2010
By the mid 80s I had arrived at the conclusion that a telephoto lens would flatten perspective and make noses smaller and the human face much more attractive particularly with women’s portraits. But if you got really close what you lost in perspective was gained by the immediacy of being very close to your subject.
I found the style almost by accident by purchasing a second lens for my Mamiya RB 6x7 cm camera. I had used the 65mm wide angle (equivalent to a 35mm wide angle in a 35mm film camera or a full frame digital SLR) for some years as my only lens. Mamiya lenses were expensive because they had the shutter in the lens. Every time you bought a lens you bought a shutter. The second lens was a 140mm floating element lens. This is equivalent to about a 70mm lens. It has a bit of telephoto effect but I am really close to my sitter. The floating element means that I can focus and then re-focus to precisely the distance and the lens will gather all its sharpness for that distance. Most lenses are designed to be sharp at infinity and deteriorate in sharpness as you focus out to get close. The opposite situation is the true macro lens which will be really sharp close and will deteriorate as you focus to infinity. The floating element lens does both. And to top it all the 140mm is a macro lens which means that if you focus on a one inch stamp the one inch stamp will be exactly that size in the viewfinder and in the film.
Because I took this picture perhaps around 1984 there was no Photoshop. The only way to clean up Carole Taylor’s hands (perhaps she had been pruning roses or peeling potatoes!) was to make an 11x14 inch colour print and have an expert retourcher use that now ancient device called an airbrush. But the rest of Carole Taylor was perfect as you can see here!