Circling the Wagons & Facing the ZulusThursday, January 23, 2020
|Olena, January 22 2020 - Rollei Infrared Film|
I am not sure if I can see myself inside a circled wagon situation that old American West of film or in that 1964 Cy Endfield film Zulu depicting the Battle of Rorke's Drift between the British Army and the Zulus in January 1879, during the Anglo-Zulu War. It depicts 150 British soldiers, many of whom were sick and wounded patients in a field hospital, who successfully held off a force of 4,000 Zulu warriors.
Most of my mentors are gone. I have four first cousins left and all their parents (my uncles and aunts) are all dead. My American classmates from my years in a boarding school in Austin, Texas are dead or unreachable.
A very good friend who some years ago moved to Memphis and we suffered a bit of distancing I called up a few months ago. I called him to apologize and he told me that he had one of his daughters visiting and that he would call me. He has not. His phone is no longer in service. His tweets and Facebook postings are at least 8 years old. Is he dead?
Here in Vancouver former friends like Associate Vancouver Magazine Editor Don Stanley cannot be reached. He ditched his landline and does not participate in any social media. Is he dead? The last time I saw him he rang the bell at our former Kerrisdale home and handed me an annotated version of Nabokov’s Lolita. If I were to find him he would represent one of the few that I know who reads and with whom I could discuss my plan to read Julio Cortázar’s Rayuela (Hopscotch) in both Spanish and English this month.
The few people that may know me when I run into them in the street they invariably ask me, “Are you still…” It would seem that a photographer has to stop clicking while writers can continue to write and lawyers to practice law.
Many of the few of my contemporaries are happy to shoot sunsets or night cityscapes with their smart phones and will write in their social media postings, “Shot with my iPhone10 without a filter. Isn’t it amazing?” Most would understand and know that modern phones have built-in programming that includes those filters not used.
|Olena, January 22 2020 Fuji X-E3|
I have found the delights of using an iPhone3G (without aSIM card). It has a look that when properly used produces results that cannot be readily mimicked by “better” phones or by resorting to Photoshop. My argument to the latter is that you have to see an iPhone3G image before you can imitate it with your advanced Photoshop.
Recently (just a few days ago) I presented a local darkroom club with a personal take (via Powerpoint) on the now discontinued Kodak Black & White Infrared Film. Because I wanted to be thorough I tested a Rollei brand film called infrared that really isn’t so the club members could decide.
In testing that film I discovered a film with an extended red sensitivity that when mated to a deep red filter in the front of my camera produced extremely clean and luminous skin. And best of all when this film is overexposed it shows an aura or halo around portraits and body that looks much like the Kodak film. This is because my friend, Portland baroque bassist, Curtis Daily who came for this weekend’s lecture found out that the Rollei film does not have an anti-halation coating (just like that Kodak film).
I am excited and I will soon buy rolls of this film in 35mm and 120 format. I must repeat, “I am excited.”
What person in my tightened circle can I share this with? - Nobody. My contemporaries have long abandoned film. They might even attempt to convince me that an MP3 file listened through earbuds is much more immediate and wonderful than my CDS played through my JBL Studio Monitors.
The colour picture you see here of Olena is a deliberate and massive underexposure with my Fuji X-E3 digital camera. I take these calculated errors with a magical f-stop, f-7.1. And here there is another of what I call the f-7.1 effect!
Some of my contemporaries would look at the photograph and the effect and say, “If you shot RAW and not JPGs you would not have those problems.” It seems that they are blind to anything that is not conventionally sharp.