Fuji FP-3000B & Revolving ChandeliersSunday, March 09, 2014
Before the advent of Photoshop and my photo suite of choice Corel, photographers had to resort to, in some cases, elaborate convolutions to achieve stuff that was different from the norm. One method called posterization was so time consuming and difficult that I never tried.
We photographers suspect that somewhere in the 80s a photographer left slide film (or colour negative film) to be processed at a lab. The lab would then make the fundamental (but in the end happy) mistake of processing the slide as colour negative and the colour negative as slide. This happy mistake instantly labeled cross-processing saw the light of day in avant-garde fashion magazines and in Vogue when is soon became mainstream. One of the quickest moves, from art to commercial, were the Polaroid transfers. I remember seeing these in local magazines and within months I saw BC Telephone ads using the method.
Now special effects are so common and with phone apps converting the banal to the almost interesting I sense a shift.
In this week’s NY Times Sunday Review Maureen Dowd interviews California governor, Jerry Brown. The photograph used is a square picture (surely a Hasselblad) with a rough edge showing that the film used is Ilford HP-5 which can be rated at ISO 400 and higher. The photographer used no lights and the lighting that is visible is window lighting from one side. I noticed the picture because in its retro way it was different.
I am reluctant to sell my valuable house (with no other assets in the bank) because that would probably kill my having a darkroom. I go to my darkroom with some frequency to process my b+w film. But I find that I scan the negatives and make digital contact sheets. But I insist on printing the negs of my choice on photographic paper not as inkjets or their justifiably nicer version called a giclée.
But then there are the special effects not possible with Photoshop and digital cameras. You might imitate the effect but you still have to know what to imitate.
Consider the double image here. This is a scan (and one is reversed in Photoshop) of the peel from Fuji’s sadly discontinued (I have 10 boxes, 100 exposures) FP-3000B Instant Film. It is rated at 3200 ISO. It is fabulous. The prints, with the advent of good scanners provide prints that can go to 8x10 with no noticeable grain.
The peels randomly go through a shift from negatives to partial positives. This in film is called the Sabbatier Effect.
The double image here consists of the two scans combined, one next to the other with Photoshop layers. Since I always scan my b+w negatives and prints in full RGB colour the colour you see here is automatic. Because the peel has aged somewhat (I took these pictures last year) the resulting effect is most interesting. I used a Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD with a 90mm lens.
I feel that at age 71 I am too old to adopt the art darling of the times, conceptual art. I am not going to come up with replicas of the Hollow Tree or suggest hanging and revolving plastic chandeliers from city bridges. I am happy to capture (in a pre-digital meaning of the word) something of the inner being (the soul, perhaps) of my subjects. In this age of out and out pornography I am a fan of my own personal take on eroticism. I think that it is elegant and subtle. I think that Eros in our age can do with some elegance and subtlety.
The model in question was one of the best I ever had. Unfortunately with the proliferation of social media my pictures of her might jeopardize a possible career. I have removed her name from all my blogs and I have been careful to make sure the metadata which is part of the code and name of her pictures give no clue as to who she is. What a pity!