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Author Topic: On color as a temporal anchor  (Read 5423 times)
feppe
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« on: March 21, 2010, 06:22:51 PM »
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I've always been fascinated by how colors will connect an image to time, be it present or the past. Just take a quick glance at the galleries on here and I guarantee you will immediately ground the images to a certain decade - without even reading the copy or assessing the graphic design. Another example is the period TV show Mad Men - the blog entry talks about the use of red in an episode.

These days color trends are perhaps not surprisingly relegated under corporate control. I remember reading a fascinating article a few years ago how Pantone and fashion designers collude to drive certain colors for each season, each year. This was touched upon in Meryl Streep's monologue in Devil Wears Prada - here a rendition by a young pretty lady. If you talk to any graphic designer worth her salt, you'll get an immediate answer to the question "what's the color for this summer?"

While my google-fu wasn't strong enough to dig up the almost-conspiracy-theory article itself, I found out that PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise is the color of the year - official Pantone announcement. While perhaps not a conspiracy, there's certainly a concerted effort to promote select colors.

It would be nice to have a repository of not only "official" ones but also wider trends in colors of past years and decades - a more complete view than Plan 59 linked at the beginning offers. Fading inks and variations in trends between countries would certainly make such an endeavor inaccurate and infeasible. On the other hand, our sense of color is highly subjective, so perhaps the faded colors are how how we actually remember them, rather than how they looked hot off the presses.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 06:24:42 PM by feppe » Logged

bill t.
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 04:26:24 PM »
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Well Turquoise has pretty much been the Color of the Last Two Centuries here in New Mexico.



The only time I really felt passionate about color was when the US went through that unbearably dreadful time when BRIGHT ORANGE was popping up everywhere.  I just don't want to think about it.  I mean, whole interior spaces done in monotonic BO, gawd it was awful.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2010, 02:37:48 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.
The only time I really felt passionate about color was when the US went through that unbearably dreadful time when BRIGHT ORANGE was popping up everywhere.  I just don't want to think about it.  I mean, whole interior spaces done in monotonic BO, gawd it was awful.

I still have an avacado bathroom.  If you chip away at the white paint you'll find that the walls were BRIGHT  ORANGE.  Must have been festive once upon a time.  Now it just makes me wonder why I haven't budgeted to have it all torn out yet.
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Rob C
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« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2010, 02:15:54 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Well Turquoise has pretty much been the Color of the Last Two Centuries here in New Mexico.



The only time I really felt passionate about color was when the US went through that unbearably dreadful time when BRIGHT ORANGE was popping up everywhere.  I just don't want to think about it.  I mean, whole interior spaces done in monotonic BO, gawd it was awful.



Lovat image. Poor, colour-blind joking aside, I really do think that's a bloody great shot.

Rob C
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bill t.
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« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2010, 04:33:31 PM »
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Lovat image. Poor, colour-blind joking aside, I really do think that's a bloody great shot.
Yes, our mutual congratulations to "cinnamon61" who won the "Show Us Your New Mexico Photo Contest" sponsored by Fodor's.  Be careful what you leave laying around on the web.

http://www.fodors.com/contest/new-mexico/
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Rob C
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2010, 03:00:08 PM »
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It's an interesting concept, trying to date images by virtue of colour or, for that matter, style.

Two brownie points available for this one, then.

First, if you can give an approximate date for the shot and then secondly, if you can hazard a guess regarding film/camera/lens?

If you can nail date, then the rest might be a piece of cake!

Hint: almost full-frame crop of the image.

Rob C
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 03:01:14 PM by Rob C » Logged

bill t.
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2010, 03:29:08 PM »
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Total WAG's...

Hassy, 150 Sonnar, Ektachrome EPY, 1980.
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2010, 03:49:04 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Total WAG's...

Hassy, 150 Sonnar, Ektachrome EPY, 1980.



Sorry, no points!

Rob C
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2010, 09:57:38 PM »
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Early 80's....say 1983.

As a far as a camera, it looks like a normal lens with a very shallow DOF, so I'm gonna guess a Hasselblad 500C/M with an 80 f/2.8 (Planar, I think it was)


Oh...forgot the film...I would have guessed EPY as well, but that seems to be wrong.  Looking at the eye reflections, though, it looks you lit with a softbox as the main, so I'm gonna guess Kodachrome 25.

Points?
« Last Edit: April 01, 2010, 10:06:27 PM by ckimmerle » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2010, 03:01:07 AM »
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The tension is clearly slaying you all, so I feel obliged to put you out of this intense state of misery ;-)

The date was 1967; the camera was a Mamiya TLR with a 180mm Sekor and yes, the film was some version of Ektachrome 64.

It was shot for mutual portfolios - the model's and mine - though I think I held on to the best of the lot even though she was a real muse for several years.

I couldn't afford a 'blad in those days -  I could hardly afford the studio, never mind feeding the family, and the 120 outfit consisted of a used Rollei T coupled with a (new!) Mamiya TLR and 180mm for headshots. Though you could get good results with the lens, the parallax problem and working to the top limit of that little red indicator that marked the top of the frame was too much to bear. But once I did make it to Swedish stuff, I realised that 150mm wasn't quite as good a focal length (for my taste) as was the 180mm which, in the 'blad system, still did not exist at that time.

Oh - the lighting: as I couldn't afford Swedes then, neither could I afford studio flash units, so I took a large gents umbrella, gave it many coats of white paint and put it onto a wheeled stand off a spotlight that I had found somewhere (the stand sans light - how much luck can you expect?) and I fitted a domestic light unit socket to the wooden handle into which I plugged a 100W bulb as modeller. The actual power for the shots came courtesy a Braun F700 head that went into a shoe on the wooden handle and bounced off the white paint. The back light in the shot was an even smaller Braun - a grey thing - on another stand. It all worked via one of those double or triple flash plugs you put into the camera socket to synch them. Strangley, it all worked very well, and in fact, it gave me better moving shots in the studio than did the first real mono unit that I bought which was far more powerful, but only because of the very long flash duration. Drawbacks? Well, you couldn't fold it and take it anywhere.

The funny thing about all of this porfolio stuff is that though it did get me work, I wasn't usually given much opportunity to try out walks on the wilder side. In fact, it became rather frustrating. I can't remember if I mentioned this on LuLa before, forgive me if I did, but clients do have strange ideas of what they describe and what it really means. I had one very good client for whom I did many calendars, and for one of them he informed me that he wanted a 'painterly effect' as we were going to Provence to shoot it. Delighted, I returned to his office with illustrations from Sarah Moon's Pirelli opus: muted colours, huge grain structure and models in various stages of charming and casual déshabillé. I had been so wrong. Or he had. We didn't do painterly. Nor déshabillé.

I don't know if anyone here has the latest Pirelli book - various collections of the calendar have been produced - but they do seem to provide a pretty well observed world in microcosm of fashionable style over recent decades.

Thanks for taking part in the wee (if impossible) quiz!

Rob C
« Last Edit: April 02, 2010, 03:15:34 AM by Rob C » Logged

feppe
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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2010, 06:15:48 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
The tension is clearly slaying you all, so I feel obliged to put you out of this intense state of misery ;-)

The date was 1967; the camera was a Mamiya TLR with a 180mm Sekor and yes, the film was some version of Ektachrome 64.

Funny coincidence, I just bought a 180mm Super for my Mamiya C220 for portraiture. Thanks for reminding about the paramender, I've been meaning to get that.
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2010, 10:01:54 AM »
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Quote from: feppe
Funny coincidence, I just bought a 180mm Super for my Mamiya C220 for portraiture. Thanks for reminding about the paramender, I've been meaning to get that.




I used the red marker that slides up and down the inside of the screen as you rack in and out, though I do have a memory of some tripod mounting device that lifted the camera physically up and down - I never had that, just raised the central column of the Rowi a little bit to put the red marker on the top of the head or whatever else happened to be the top of where I wanted to cut the frame.

It was damn inconvenient, but the system was also pretty nice for medium close-ups of cloth texture swatches etc. Also, at full length on outdoor shots, it produced very nice fashion images - how little I knew the life-threatening change that the mirror on the much craved 500C would turn out to cause: all that friggin' bounce, and how do you M/U with living people shots?

Enjoy the lens - once you find the right subject matter for you and it, it should be fine.

Rob C
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