Friday, March 8, 2013

The Good Old Days, or Maybe Just The Old Days.

I have been a professional photographer for a lot of years now. Recently, in cleaning out a storage room in our studio, I found some of my older work.

I am glad that I came up in this profession prior to digital. When you had to shoot something complicated, you had to shoot it onto a piece of film. Not several pieces and have the cute girl in the back office put them together in her computer in a hour or so. One piece of film.

This photo was shot by hanging the 4x5 camera upside down on a boom bolted to the sealing. The boom was attached to hand winch. First was an exposure for the overall shot. Shot in a dark room the tops of the reels were lite and the camera cranked a certain distance and an exposure made. More that 15 exposures.

It worked.

Sometimes we had to rely on the skills of another artist to finish the job. A case in point: these pigs:
First we had to find some guys that knew how to hold a guitar. Put pig masks on them. (They brought there own hair!) After processing the black and white film, a large print was made (in our darkroom) and sent to a good air brush artist. He blended the masks into the models own skin. The complete job took five days from start to finish. Yes, days, not hours.

Other times the effect was made by using a filter on the camera and actually moving the back of the 4x5 camera during a long exposure:

The legs were the legs of a manakin. We went to a display company and rented the sleigh and my stylist wrapped a bunch of phoney Christmas presents.

So the question has to be asked: Would I ever throw away my digital cameras and go back to film? The answer of course is no. I was one of the very first studios in San Diego to 'go digital' and have never looked back. But I am glad that I learned how to think through a shot and figure out how to do it with whatever means were needed. I still try to do that with complicated shots in digital. Then the cute girl in the back office makes me look really good.

Actually there isn't a 'cute' girl in the back office at Atkinson Studios. There is an attractive mother of two and Jack. And Jack is not 'cute'.


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