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Author Topic: Old Pro Images  (Read 8502 times)
Rob C
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« on: December 16, 2012, 01:08:43 PM »
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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
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 01:51:32 PM by Rob C » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #1 on: December 24, 2012, 11:41:13 AM »
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Okay, I'm convinced: I am the only old pro around!

;-(

Season's greetings,

Rob C
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #2 on: December 24, 2012, 12:10:34 PM »
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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 Wink
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2012, 02:30:13 PM »
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And no printer to claim his stake in the final result, mind you Wink


Very Good cross post!!!


Peter
« Last Edit: December 24, 2012, 03:17:31 PM by petermfiore » Logged

Rob C
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« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2012, 03:09:23 PM »
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Ah, Slobodan, you've been paying attention in another thread!

;-)

Rob C
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Craig Lamson
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2012, 04:54:59 PM »
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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.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2012, 10:56:27 PM »
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A great start to an excellent new thread, Rob. I hope it does inspire some other Old Pros to share their memories here.

Eric
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Rob C
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« Reply #7 on: December 25, 2012, 02:57:39 AM »
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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
« Last Edit: December 25, 2012, 03:00:00 AM by Rob C » Logged

Craig Lamson
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« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2012, 09:05:55 AM »
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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.

« Last Edit: December 25, 2012, 09:11:09 AM by Craig Lamson » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2012, 09:40:02 AM »
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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
« Last Edit: December 25, 2012, 09:41:45 AM by Rob C » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2012, 12:43:38 PM »
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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.
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Rob C
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« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2012, 02:16:51 PM »
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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 ŕ 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
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Rob C
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« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2012, 03:24:58 AM »
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Another old Kodachrome, this time from a Teacher's Whisky calendar in Cyprus:



« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 07:36:42 AM by Rob C » Logged

haefnerphoto
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« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2012, 08:30:21 PM »
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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
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2012, 11:32:42 PM »
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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 Wink

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

Mike.
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Schewe
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« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2012, 01:18:56 AM »
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Budgets are not the same these days.

Which sadly is why really innovative solution to problems happens far, far less these days...
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opgr
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« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2012, 03:01:47 AM »
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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 days…

FYP
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Oscar Rysdyk
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« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2012, 08:32:14 AM »
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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.
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opgr
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« Reply #18 on: December 30, 2012, 10:59:36 AM »
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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...
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Oscar Rysdyk
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Rob C
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« Reply #19 on: December 30, 2012, 11:45:20 AM »
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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
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