|Emily 20 August 2021 Fuji X-E3|
There I was walking from my dormitory to have lunch at the school cafeteria (St. Edward’s High School, Austin, Texas) when a short brother of Holy Cross with burly forearms beckoned me. He said, “Alex, I need an alto sax player for the school band. And you are it.” I protested by telling him I did not know how to read music. He told me he was going to teach me and that I was to show up at the band room on the next day on some appointed hour.
|Nikon FM-2 35mm lens Kodak b+w Infrared Film|
I was given an ancient nickel-plated instrument and $10 dollars. He said, “Tomorrow you are to go to town and buy a mouse trap. Your job will be to catch mice and to clean the band room floor. I will give you a salary.”
I did learn to read music and somehow I was able to get a sweet tone out of my instrument which in a later year Brother Edwin, Reggio, C.S.C. (that was his name) had re-plated. I was not only good enough for the school band but I became part of the more exclusive jazz band.
|Mamiya RB67 Pro-SD Rollei Infrared Film|
With the first 100 dollars I had Brother Emmett Strohmeyer at the PX write meup a money order for Olden Cameras in NY City. A few weeks later I was the happy owner of a Pentacon-F single lens reflex with an f2.8 50mm lens.
It would seem that Brother Edwin Reggio in 1958 made me the photographer I would one day become. He is now gone but the Pentacon-F works just fine.
That 1958 camera with which I made good money taking portraits of wealthy Mexican families in the 70s before Rosemary, our two daughters and I moved to Vancouver was the right camera at the right time in an age of journalism and magazines that hit its peak then and pretty well disappeared in the last 5 years. Nobody is going to pay me to go to Paris, London, Belgrade, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Lima, Madrid, Florida, Cancún, Mexico City or to fly in helicopters across Canada to photograph logging mills.
|Nikon FM-2 35mm lens - Kodak b+w Infrared Film|
I learned my profession well because I was inspired by very good art/design directors and the magazines that I worked for demanded quality that was also beyond the norm standards.
At age 79 I believe I will go to my grave with all that info that now would be considered old-fashioned. I don’t think style in photography has progressed from the excellence of the 20th century. We now have perfectly sharp images (no longer called photographs) that fit the needed situations and not much money changes hands.
My friend Emily, who lives in Victoria has posed for me several times. Because she is a good photographer in her own right I must do stuff that is (to use her word) different. I have to be on my toes with Emily!
This is why a month ago I photographed her in my little Kitsilano studio with four cameras:
1. A Nikon FM-2 with Kodak b+w Infrared Film
2. A Nikon FM-2 with Rollei b+w Infrared Film
3. A Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD with 120 Rollei b+w Infrared Film
4. A Fuji X-E3 digital camera set to 200 ISO in colour
|Nikon FM-2 35mm lens Rollei b+w Infrared Film|
I have been told my many photographers who shoot exclusively with digital cameras that I can convert any digital shot into to b+w from its original colour, it can be high contrast and with certain apps it can be made to look like infrared.
I have been unable to explain that I shot pictures that because I used four cameras were slightly different from each other while the ones my friends say is the better route would all be version of the same one.
It is almost like a musical studio recorded session with more than one take.
I did have some initial but funny problems. The viewfinder in the Nikons is in the middle while the Fuji viewfinder is on the upper left. I would place a Nikon at my eye and look through the left and I saw nothing! I did the same with the Fuji.
|Nikon FM-2 - 35 mm lens Rollei b+w Infrared Film|
One of the reasons for using both Kodak and Rollei film is that the Rollei is not true infrared film. But both have no anti-helation layers so that not all light hitting the negative penetrates to the emulsion. Some of it bounces off. When these films are slightly over-exposed you get these pleasant halos with portraits. For both films (and the one in the Mamiya) I use a deep red filter. This makes skin look like Limoges China. But the red filter would render lips white and make Emily look like a living dead. There is a quick remedy and this is the use of purple lipstick.
|Nikon FM-2 35mm lens Kodak b+w Infrared Film|
Thank you Emily, for inspiring me to keep taking photographs. Perhaps the next project will involve the use of Brother Edwin’s and my Pentacon–F. Yes?