What Was I Thinking?

Blog_vignette

Vignettes, I have had a few…….. remember the distant eye in a profile should NOT be seen!

Miss 4KQ_blog

The black vignetter is not necessarily better than the translucent……

It seemed like a good idea at the time, but with no formal photographic training, my development as a photographer was by trial and error.  Usually more of the error process.  I have always been an advocate for formal photographic training, as the informal pathway is a litany of errors, mistakes and time wasting missteps.  The year is 1975, Leon Kennamer from Guntersville Alabama USA is teaching subtractive lighting at Brisbane’s Park Royal Hotel; and I am a callow young photographer – full of the imagined skills that only a teflon-coated, ill-educated young man can possess.  Kennamer was a gifted teacher brought to Australia by the Townsend Colortech Laboratory organisation, and amongst the products he sold was a set of vignetting devices that fitted into the compendium lens hood on my Hasselblad.  It took a while to find a setting that was actually usable – remember, this was a time when the image had to be made in-camera (not in post-production).

BF Goodrich_blog

It is often a good idea to check that the model is NOT sun-burnt!

In an attempt to ingratiate oneself with an Art Director from a world famous Advertising Agency, late one Friday evening; this lesson was learnt the hard way.  The model (well actually a friend of a friend found, with difficulty, over the weekend) and the images to tantalize a room full of BF Goodrich salesmen have to be delivered before the day is finished.  This is not the time to factor in a sun burn problem of nuclear proportion.  Persuading the model to pose is only half of the problem – finding an un-burnt replacement model in the time frame is out of the question.  Remember, this IS Brisbane in the mid-1970s, the Premier of Queensland is Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen!

Jenyns_blog

Shooting on 5×4″ transparency film, doesn’t hide the fact that it is still a multifaceted filter in front of the lens; and the concept was dated BEFORE it became dated!

Jenyns, was a long well known Brisbane based corset manufacturer, and I was keen to include them in my client base.  Not having any skills in this area, I decided to extend my portfolio with a series of images that would bring this famous name knocking on my Boundary Street, Spring Hill Studio door.  Despite using one of the city’s premium models, my camera technique left a lot to be desired; and thus I was not destined to become a rich and famous lingerie fashion photographer.

bikini in Warren St Courtyard_blogThe best laid plans of men and mice (and photographers)!

Despite the organisational skills worthy of a Royal Command Performance – getting backgrounds into outdoor locations, cabling electronic flash in a manner not to kill anyone, producing water at a temperature that would enable more than one image to be made, finding a model with a sense of adventure – all this pales into insignificance when you encounter a wardrobe malfunction.  The client rejected this image, despite it being a popular item on the “trophy wall” of the darkroom for almost a decade!

IDP778_blog

…and, in closing, a sexist shot has been, and ALWAYS will be, a SEXIST shot!

8 thoughts on “What Was I Thinking?

  1. “What were you thinking” when you used the vignetter at f200!!! Should be used at f4 or so, to not create the “key hole” look that you have posted. If used correctly, the corners go somewhat darker and the background is blended…both effects almost forces all the attention on the subjects face, making for a great portrait.

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    • Paul, Paul, Paul – I obviously didn’t express myself clearly. I was a young, ill-experienced photographer with a piece of equipment that had little in the way of instructions and my knowledge was insufficient to grasp the vignetter’s usefulness. The exposure was probably f8-11, but the problem was the incorrect positioning of the Hasselblad Compendium Pro Lens Shade – something that came to me in time. Your comment is appreciated, but I need to re-assess the use of irony and self-deprecation in my writing.

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  2. I reckon vignetting devices, multi-image filters, quirky models, and cringe inducing tableaux have an honoured place in advertising illustration. They are all tropes carrying a commercially valuable “command to look”.

    The delicious variations Ian offers in his blog are exemplars of the genre. They pique curiosity but do not nourish it. That’s what advertising copy is for. They are interesting but not memorable enough to confound tomorrow’s ad campaign. And long after the mercantile aspects are done with they are still worth a good chuckle.

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  3. IT’S ALWAYS REFRESHING TO SEE A “MATURE” AND ESTABLISHED PHOTOGRAPHER HOW THE ‘HOW EMBARRASSMENT’ WORK FROM THE ARCHIVES. WE ALL SHOOT WHAT’S ON-TREND THROUGH OUR CAREERS – JOHN ELLIOTT MAKES A GREAT COMMENT THAT RINGS TRUE WITH ALL GENRES OF PHOTOGRAPHY. THANKS FOR SHARING DAD

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