Sunday, November 24, 2013

Improvements From The Past

Evelyn Hart - 2000

In 2000 I was invited to take some snaps backstage at a Vancouver performance called Dancers for Life. I took a particular delight in taking pictures of two of my favourite dancers, Evelyn Hart and Crystal Pite.

Only very recently did I finally acquire a digital camera. All I had back in 2000 were my Nikons (an F-3 and two FM-2). I loaded a couple of them with very fast Kodak 3200 ISO film. My results were dramatic and awfully grainy.

It was more or less at this time that with an early Epson scanner I discovered (before I could do this simply by working with an RGB scan) that by scanning the negatives and telling the scanner that it was a colour negative, I would get a fine red/orange colour. With little skill the tone of skin could almost be made to resemble skin tone.

Evelyn Hart & Rex Harrington

 Even then I decided I did not want to spend (throw) money dealing with a desk top inkjet printer. I had a couple of the Evelyn Hart, one with dancer Rex Harrington, pictures done as fine gicl√©es by one of the first labs in town that did them. I asked the lab to make images that were small. They made them 3 by 4 inches. A year later I photographed a Japanese/Canadian friend with fine grain film loaded on to a medium format camera, an RB-67 Pro-S. I used a powerful studio flash for these.

Having investigated the standards of propriety of, and firm in my resolve to not show bits in my personal blog or in my facebook or Twitter links I decided not to take any chances and place here one of those images without modification. Odri (how a Japanese person would pronounce the Audrey of Audrey Hepburn) as the image is called, here, is a censored version. 

Odri - 2001

 But important for the thread of this essay, a thread in which I put forth that in some cases an improvement is not so I would like those who have gotten this far to examine the images and note the wonderful (for me!) bits of sprayed ink. This look has disappeared with the new inkjet machines and the only way to get similar results would be to resurrect one from that past. The Odri pictures (they were five in a long frame and each one was very small, almost two by two and a half inches). You had to get close to discern and admire the bits of ink!