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Equipment & Techniques => Pro Business Discussion => Topic started by: Rob C on December 16, 2012, 02:08:43 pm

Title: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 16, 2012, 02:08:43 pm
This isn't supposed to be a leap back to the days of glass plates, or anything as quaint or even esoteric; more, as a space for anyone out there who did live the life back then or, still working, has some old stuff he/she likes. It might be fun to limit it all to film, but that might be a natural outcome since digital is rather newer.

I don't want to impose any format restrictions at all, because in those happy days we used anything we thought suited or, perhaps, we owned. Yes, I meant owned: hiring was an option few of us were able to access if we didn't live in some Big Smoke. It used to be the same with studios: you had one or you didn't, and if you didn't you were destined to work outdoors for most of your life, or for somebody else.

It would be amusing to debate whether the fashion for hiring equipment and studios was born of the 60s thing or not; in many ways the great times that lots of us enjoyed back then came with painfully unexpected stings in the tail. But I don't wish to moralise, so maybe best not to get into that, even if renting some things seems a bit iffy.

I feel uncomfortable with putting this topic here because I think it's more suited to the other part of the forum which, unfortunately is limited (in theory if not practice) to MF and LF... Neither do I think it has a place over there near the Coffee or Critique zones. Perhaps if anyone else takes it up we might find a new home for it? Without others' contributions, it's pretty much dead in the water. Jeez! maybe I really am the only old snapper left?

I'll kick it off with a shot from a calendar for Tennent's Lager from the early 80s. Kodachrome, naturally.

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 24, 2012, 12:41:13 pm
Okay, I'm convinced: I am the only old pro around!

;-(

Season's greetings,

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 24, 2012, 01:10:34 pm
Rob, I'd take that low-tech picture over gazillion digital ones any day.

I started with a Kodachrome 64 (though not a pro), and to this day nothing beats the heart-pounding feeling of opening a yellow box weeks later and finding that one shot (or, if lucky, more) where everything came together just right: exposure, framing, subject, expression, light, etc. There was no post-processing, fiddling, cropping, twisting and turning, improving... you either got it or not. And no printer to claim his stake in the final result, mind you ;)
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: petermfiore on December 24, 2012, 03:30:13 pm
And no printer to claim his stake in the final result, mind you ;)


Very Good cross post!!!


Peter
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 24, 2012, 04:09:23 pm
Ah, Slobodan, you've been paying attention in another thread!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Craig Lamson on December 24, 2012, 05:54:59 pm
Not the only old one, just that my images of boats, cars and rv's will never measure up to that wonderful tush you posted.  You had a really good gig.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Eric Myrvaagnes on December 24, 2012, 11:56:27 pm
A great start to an excellent new thread, Rob. I hope it does inspire some other Old Pros to share their memories here.

Eric
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 25, 2012, 03:57:39 am
Not the only old one, just that my images of boats, cars and rv's will never measure up to that wonderful tush you posted.  You had a really good gig.

Hey, Craig, it's not a competition and no rules exist about subject matter; more, I hope it's about the history of professional photography and what we used to do. Today, I think many lose sight of even the recent past and imagine that they are creating something new. Mostly, they are not. What they are doing is using a different set of techniques that have, with them, brought a different look. Not better, not worse, just different. If I do have a sentry at the door, he keeps out affection for the craze for plastic skinned girls: they don't look human, so who wants a doll? (I appreciate that many do - for whatever reasons, but being Christmas, I remain of charitable disposition for the day.)

Anyway, I love cars and boats, and cellograph little else!

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Craig Lamson on December 25, 2012, 10:05:55 am
Ok Rob, here is an old one...1988, Horseman 4x5, Nikon 360mm lens, film... don't remember, some Kodak reversal film.

Great story though.  I was the newly hired in-house photographer for Starcraft Inc, and we made boats, campers and conversion vans.  I convinced the powers that be to send my friend and also in-house art director and me to the west coast to shoot campers.  We had no crew or even a plan.  These two young  bumkins from Indiana borrowed a truck and a camper from a local dealer on this day and set off down highway 1.  Finding this open space at Pigeon Point, we stopped to shoot.

Sadly, when we set up the camper and the camera, the camper was mostly hidden by the tall grass in the foreground.  Luckily the truck we had borrowed has a set of oil change ramps in the bed and we had the bright idea to back the assembled camper up on the ramps to get it above the grass.  We backed it right up...over..and OFF of the ramps and almost over the cliff!  

We finally got it right.  We only had one more problem...no models.  So while the AD got in the truck and went to the next scenic turnout and hired a tourist couple for Germany for 50 bucks to come down and pose for us.

Anyways..an image that was used for years...and we laugh about it now.

Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 25, 2012, 10:40:02 am
Nice story, Craig, and just about sums up what life can be about when you are trying to do something without a mega-budget. My early shoots were usually bereft of any plan as well, and I have to say, not generally any the worse for it. In fact, when clients etc. started to come along for the ride, it usually became much more difficult, if only because they felt obliged to add their tuppence-worth of lack of understanding of what photographers can reasonably do.

For example: on one leg of a world-wide shoot for a beer client, we were in Mombasa for no logistical reason other than that the client wanted to go there; we arrived in the evening and the guy decided that we were going to do a stroll along the beach outside the hotel as a sort of recce, upon which 'we' would decide what to do the next day when the work began. The waves were lapping the shore and the palms were rising to spectacular heights in the background. You guessed! Come morning, the tide was about a hundred metres out! Such bullshit; we ended up shooting near some painted fishing boats marooned on the sand, and then wandered out to the water and shot some bog-standard wet girl numbers. What a waste of money some people cause their firms. I could have done far better at home in Mallorca and avoided Africa, its spiders and other problems altogether.

Not so bad in retrospect, but hell in the doing.

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: kirktuck on December 25, 2012, 01:43:38 pm
I remember that some of the funnest shoots were portraits on 4x5 transparency film. Here's one from a Texas Highways Magazine assignment on the (sausage rich) city of Elgin, Texas. A man whose job was....making sausage.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 25, 2012, 03:16:51 pm
Reminds me of a moment in the Rick Stein series during his cooking cruise across from the Atlantic to the Med using the French canal route; in one segment he is mightily impressed in a market and goes on to buy a couple of metres of sausage there - probably Toulouse or Castelnaudary or thereabouts - and decides to cook it uncut. Half-way done, he realises that he has to turn it. His solution: use another pan Ó la omelette, and there you are!

Is Texas Highways Magazine a similar idea to Arizona Highways? I saw some of them in the 70s...

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 26, 2012, 04:24:58 am
Another old Kodachrome, this time from a Teacher's Whisky calendar in Cyprus:



Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: haefnerphoto on December 29, 2012, 09:30:21 pm
Here are a couple of shots from the early 90s.  Both were shot 8x10, the snow shot was a set at Universal's backlot and the Citroen motion shot was a technique where the vehicle was on a stationary flat bed truck while another truck with tree branches on it moved back and forth during the exposure, a smaller ground row in the foreground was on casters moving while the tires were being spun by assistants pulling string wrapped around them.  It took all day to do each shot (actually the snow set took three with prep and wrap), the film budgets were probably 1500-2000 per image.  Budgets are not the same these days.  Jim
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: wolfnowl on December 30, 2012, 12:32:42 am
Rob, I'd take that low-tech picture over gazillion digital ones any day.

I started with a Kodachrome 64 (though not a pro), and to this day nothing beats the heart-pounding feeling of opening a yellow box weeks later and finding that one shot (or, if lucky, more) where everything came together just right: exposure, framing, subject, expression, light, etc. There was no post-processing, fiddling, cropping, twisting and turning, improving... you either got it or not. And no printer to claim his stake in the final result, mind you ;)

Ah, the good old days. K25 for me, but I remember that feeling well!

Mike.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Schewe on December 30, 2012, 02:18:56 am
Budgets are not the same these days.

Which sadly is why really innovative solution to problems happens far, far less these days...
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: 32BT on December 30, 2012, 04:01:47 am
Which sadly is why really innovative solution to problems happens far, far less these days...

Which fortunately is why really contorted solutions to problems happen far, far less these daysů

FYP
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: haefnerphoto on December 30, 2012, 09:32:14 am
FYP


It's no more contorted than this example shot in September.  The Viper shot is a minimum of a 4 way strip, I'll post the parts later, they aren't on my home machine.  There was sense of accomplishment that I felt in making an image that required little (if any) retouching which is the case in the Citroen image.  Perhaps I was incorrect in my comment about budgets, the client might spend as much now as before per image but at least half of it is retouching.  Nothing wrong with this, I happen to embrace this workflow, it's just a different approach then in the past.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: 32BT on December 30, 2012, 11:59:36 am
It's no more contorted than this example shot in September.  The Viper shot is a minimum of a 4 way strip, I'll post the parts later, they aren't on my home machine.  There was sense of accomplishment that I felt in making an image that required little (if any) retouching which is the case in the Citroen image.  Perhaps I was incorrect in my comment about budgets, the client might spend as much now as before per image but at least half of it is retouching.  Nothing wrong with this, I happen to embrace this workflow, it's just a different approach then in the past.

Well, it wasn't directed at you specifically. And I agree that, even for the current age of retouching, it is still good to start with the best possible source material. However, in general, lack of budget produces more innovation, in contrast to unconstrained spending. This is true for pretty much any industry and all areas of life. 

As an anecdote from the past: I once heard a rumor that some high-profile brand of beer used to have this one bartender dude specially flown in on advertising shoots all over the world, just to create the perfect sized foam in every shot as required. I don't quite know the truth value of the story but I do remember it was meant to be illustrative for the kind of advertising expenditure in those days. That mindset clearly doesn't generate innovation...
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 30, 2012, 12:45:20 pm
Well, it wasn't directed at you specifically. And I agree that, even for the current age of retouching, it is still good to start with the best possible source material. However, in general, lack of budget produces more innovation, in contrast to unconstrained spending. This is true for pretty much any industry and all areas of life.  

As an anecdote from the past: I once heard a rumor that some high-profile brand of beer used to have this one bartender dude specially flown in on advertising shoots all over the world, just to create the perfect sized foam in every shot as required. I don't quite know the truth value of the story but I do remember it was meant to be illustrative for the kind of advertising expenditure in those days. That mindset clearly doesn't generate innovation...



But I bet the bartender was one happy guy!

That advertising expenditure was high was hardly a problem; if anything, it led to some most memorable ads, the likes of which have sadly vanished even from tv commercials. Why fake what you can do for real, in some cases? I'm not thinking of cars, obviously, but when you think about the many location shoots that happened, what's better about faking it all in a machine? Nothing: folks lose work as well as the pleasure of being there. Going off somewhere and living high on expenses was one of the prime attractions of the business. The budgets took all of that into consideration... sweet bird of youth - where the eff are you today?

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Schewe on December 30, 2012, 06:09:45 pm
As an anecdote from the past: I once heard a rumor that some high-profile brand of beer used to have this one bartender dude specially flown in on advertising shoots all over the world, just to create the perfect sized foam in every shot as required. I don't quite know the truth value of the story but I do remember it was meant to be illustrative for the kind of advertising expenditure in those days. That mindset clearly doesn't generate innovation...

It wouldn't surprise me...beer advertising gigs are pretty special. There are some really hard and fast rules about how the beer companies want their product to look in ads. I used to do a ton of Budweiser ads...there was a golden ratio of head to beer and some tough to achieve rules about color and lightness of the beer (and lack of bubbles in the beer). It is really tough to learn how to get a great beer pour.

For a period of time in the later 1980's I owned Bud beer ads because I could achieve the perfect head, perfect color and the right amount and type of moisture on the glasses. I would spend days and days of setup & testing (something advertisers really don't pay for anymore). I designed beer aquariums and used an airbrush to add moisture. Pretty elaborate special effect riggings too, just to get the right head on the beer...I'll have to drag out a fe tear sheets and scan then to show you guys...

The bottom line is, innovation is a function of personal creativity not a function of budget. But the lack of a budget will hamper the creative process...if you have the time & budget, all sorts of creative solutions are possible...if you have little time and money, you are very limited in what you can produce. If you look at major print advertising these days, I see little innovation (and actually little good advertising).

Are good print images still being produced commercially? You betcha...but print advertising pretty much sucks these days because of a severe lack of budget for both production as well as media buys. Magazines are dying these days...(or going only digital which still pushes print budgets downward).

I haven't done a commercial shoot for about 5/6 years...but I have a couple of good friends who still shoot here in Chicago. Their lives suck...very demanding (and whiney) clients with emaciated fees and expenses...some guys take jobs they will end up breaking even on (or even loosing $) just to  be doing something...hard to compete against that. Innovation in that environment? Well, the biggest innovation many have is how to produce something cheaply...not good mind you, but cheap. Is that a good thing?
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 31, 2012, 05:17:11 am
Schewe

I wish you would show some of your work here; I did calendars for Tennent's Lager for, I think, at least six consecutive years. I never did studio shoots for them - I was a people shooter by interest and wish. Carting lager cans around the world, even though most were dummies with very good printing on them, wasn't much fun, and then trying to get spray onto them in sunlight and have it remain believable (in small sections of images) was a bitch: mostly, the drops were far too large and soon ran and/or evaporated. Similar problems existed when using the logo-ed glasses containing product. The girls were the main thing, but usually even they were very limited by the rather stict morality that dwelt in northern minds in parts of corporate Britain at that time.

It was all rather frustrating: I had budgets and access to the country's best model agencies and girls, but the corporate mindsets often reducd the value of all that. It was a shame, really, because the fears were all in the official minds and not in the heads of the public. But hell, it all paid for everything else, so thanks for the ride, even if it got bumpy at times!

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Craig Lamson on December 31, 2012, 08:50:42 am
It's no more contorted than this example shot in September.  The Viper shot is a minimum of a 4 way strip, I'll post the parts later, they aren't on my home machine.  There was sense of accomplishment that I felt in making an image that required little (if any) retouching which is the case in the Citroen image.  Perhaps I was incorrect in my comment about budgets, the client might spend as much now as before per image but at least half of it is retouching.  Nothing wrong with this, I happen to embrace this workflow, it's just a different approach then in the past.

I do miss the 'hard way" of old, actually getting it all on film.  It was a lot of fun finding a way to do things that at first seemed impossible and the solutions were often a work of art themselves.  I suspect that the new photographers of today are missing some really interesting times.

That said the new ways are just as rewarding, just in different ways.  It is possible to do things with an image that were simply out of reach with the old workflow.  I too fully embrace it.

Different times to be sure.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Craig Lamson on December 31, 2012, 09:43:46 am
Some very old kodachromes...from the late 80's.  Sorry for the poor quality of these scans, I really need to find the film again and redo these...

Nikon of some sort...Kenlabs gyro, camera boat with photo tower.  From my in-house days.

Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on December 31, 2012, 12:47:39 pm
Hi Craig,

The third shot down, against the golden water, was something very popular in boat catalogues at the end of the 70s: I used to look at them, and boating magazines, very closely at that time because I entertained the notion of selling the house, buying a boat and living in it on the Med. Fortunately, my wife had more sense! A boat that cost the same as a house would have bankrupted us in a couple of years! I never bought a ski boat, either, because nobody here would say where and how much a mooring was going to be... another lucky escape. But, the very first winter of living here by the sea, seeing all those boats up on the hard, with the workmen buzzing away underneath, told me all I really needed to know. If you have to ask, your really, really can't afford it.

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Go Go on January 04, 2013, 10:58:03 am
Here is one for your consideration.

This was shot 6x6 after a very boring catalog shoot in studio. I shot it on B/W film distressed the negative, did some hand painting with pigment dies and then printed it on pre fogged colour paper.

I was in Toronto at the time the models name was Teri ??? and the year was 1984 to 1986 ish.

At the time I was totally into this technique, looks a little muddy now.

Ciao,
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Go Go on January 04, 2013, 11:29:38 am
And one for Rob!

Shot in Roma for a Canadian designer (Roger Edwards) 35mm loaded up with Agfa Chrome 1000. I loved that film, it made my pulse quicken.

The courtyard of some building that I talked my way into, shot from a second floor apartment, I tried to have model smoke a cigarette but she was from California and refused, so I threw a but into the frame. 1987 was the year.

I never did get a tear sheet from the ad, too bad.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Go Go on January 04, 2013, 12:29:57 pm
One more from the Roma trip, same model.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 04, 2013, 02:21:41 pm
Look: No Moire! From an annual report shoot. What I remember most from the shoot was how nice everyone was.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on January 04, 2013, 05:25:53 pm
And one for Rob!

Shot in Roma for a Canadian designer (Roger Edwards) 35mm loaded up with Agfa Chrome 1000. I loved that film, it made my pulse quicken.

The courtyard of some building that I talked my way into, shot from a second floor apartment, I tried to have model smoke a cigarette but she was from California and refused, so I threw a but into the frame. 1987 was the year.

I never did get a tear sheet from the ad, too bad.


Hi Giorgio,

If you like grainy colour, then you must have loved Sarah Moon!

She was probably one of my greatest influences in her time shooting Vogue stuff; my favourite model of the time was also a fan of hers, and the irony was that we never got to shoot anything with grain. Doing fashion advertising, they wanted to see every stitch and I suppose I could have used a store dummy for all the difference they thought it made. Thank goodness they didn't think of it or see Helmut Newton doing it!

In fact, the fastest transparency film I ever used was Kodachrome 200. It was sharp and grainy, but I'm sure they tried their best to keep the grain as low as possible.

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on January 04, 2013, 05:27:09 pm
Look: No Moire! From an annual report shoot. What I remember most from the shoot was how nice everyone was.



Moire be damned: you might get attacked for pixel peeping with blowups like that!

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Ellis Vener on January 05, 2013, 01:59:19 pm


Moire be damned: you might get attacked for pixel peeping with blowups like that!

;-)

Rob C
regarding moire: In all candor once this photo was in pre-press moire became an issue. I do not think this film and lens combination is necessarily sharper BTW than a D800 or higher res digital camera (and a good lens) but even very carefully processed digital images have a different feel to the appearance of sharpness / real world detail resolution than film does , along with a larger dynamic range.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Go Go on January 16, 2013, 07:44:53 pm
Paolo Pilartz for Fenzi, distressed B/W negative printed on color paper.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on January 17, 2013, 04:04:32 am
Nice one, Giorgio, and nice client, too!

The guy in the picture looks like I used to imagine that I looked in the late 50s... almost-Tony Curtis hair, etc. etc. Trouble is, this blower styling ends up killing the roots; I distinctly remember sitting in the barber's chair with the dryer burning my scalp as the comb did its best to pull the hair out, all of it accompanid by the smell of the burning 'friction' liquid that was used to torture the poor old hairs into perma-place. This pain, I might add, was hidden by controlled, casual conversation with the barber about jazz greats...

Now, what little's left gets pulled back and held in place with a band. Strangely, the longer it gets the less thick it feels, which is in direct conflict with what I observe on some others sporting the same conceit.

Oh well - c'est la  vie.

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: haefnerphoto on January 26, 2013, 10:55:18 pm
I'm in the process of revisiting my website design and think I'll incorporate an "Archive" gallery.  Here are a few shots I'll be including when it's up.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on January 26, 2013, 11:23:06 pm
These are better than any recent car shot I've seen!
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: Rob C on January 27, 2013, 05:03:16 am
Lovely stuff, Jím; I particularly like the bottom shot with the evil look!

Rob C
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: SecondFocus on January 31, 2013, 09:08:45 pm
Wonderful photographs!

I'm in the process of revisiting my website design and think I'll incorporate an "Archive" gallery.  Here are a few shots I'll be including when it's up.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: jjj on January 31, 2013, 09:47:04 pm
The bottom line is, innovation is a function of personal creativity not a function of budget. But the lack of a budget will hamper the creative process...if you have the time & budget, all sorts of creative solutions are possible...if you have little time and money, you are very limited in what you can produce. If you look at major print advertising these days, I see little innovation (and actually little good advertising).
I think lack of money can really spur innovation as rather than buy your way out of a problem, you may have get creative.
My favourite example of this is in the film 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail'. Because their budget was shall we say sparse, they couldn't afford horses for the knights of Camelot to ride on. So instead of that they had their manservant follow them with a coconut making horse noises, which was far funnier and more suited to the absurd goings on and was even referenced within the film itself.

Are you suggesting Coconuts migrate? (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4_9kDO3q0w)

The film director Terry Gilliam [who plays the servant in this scene] has also commented that having money makes you lazy.

Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: jjj on January 31, 2013, 09:55:07 pm
I'm in the process of revisiting my website design and think I'll incorporate an "Archive" gallery.  Here are a few shots I'll be including when it's up.

(http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=73336.0;attach=73934;image)

Very striking shot Jim.
How did you get the elevation in that shot? Did budget include helicopter rental, a lot of scaffolding or a convenient water/fire tower?
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: haefnerphoto on January 31, 2013, 10:18:07 pm
Thanks for the compliments!  The overhead truck shot was made in 1998 just south of San Luis Obispo in the coastal range.  I was on a 60' boom lift and shot the photograph on 8x10 bouncing around in strong winds coming up the mountain side.  At the time I had a motor home with a Jobo to process tests and we ran the film making fine adjustments to each sheet in hopes of getting a sharp, correctly processed/exposed one.
Title: Re: Old Pro Images
Post by: jjj on January 31, 2013, 10:36:22 pm
Looks like you succeeded.  :)