Old-style portraiture on color-blind slow emulsion - an example :)

Discussion in 'Alternative Processes' started by eumenius, Jul 1, 2006.

  1. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Hello friends,

    while I got hold on a box of 4 ASA unsensibilized film, MZ-3 (Russian, made by FoMos), I tried to reconstruct the early-style portraits with it. It came in 13x18 sheets, that can be cut in two and loaded in standart 9x12 holders. A halogen light, 150/6.3 Tessar made ca. 1939, a patient model (1 second exposure, ewww), and f/8-11. The results are pleasing me - but do you notice this fuzziness? :smile: Right, I've made a mistake on this test - loaded the film backwards, so it's exposed through its base - thanks to absent antihalation layer :smile: I wouldn't post a defective scan, ever - but my blunder has created some interesting diffusion, so I've decided to show it here anyway :smile:

    Picture 1
    Picture 2
    Picture 3

    How do you like the tonal rendition of skin and eyes, eh? :smile:

    Cheers, Zhenya
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Hi Zhenya, The flesh tones look very good especially in the last two shots. It's amazing that these shots turned out so well considering that the plates were, apparently, exposed wrong way round. Thanks for sharing.
     
  3. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Hi zhenya. These have a very excellent look. Well done. Men are "redder" in complexion to women it seems so these films always seem to see them darker than the ladies. What will happen if you expose 2 sheets in the same holder emulsion to emulsion then register the 2 identical negs back to back so the light difuses even more. You'll need to double exposure time if you try it I think.
     
  4. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I really like these, Zhenya. The slight fuzziness contributes to the image. Thanks for sharing.
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Good work, Zhenya!

    I may have to get you to get me some of those films - I've got a grand old 13x18cm camera, and a few grand old (portrait) lenses!
     
  6. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Hi Brad, glad to see that you liked it! In fact, that's only the first try - I promise to shoot something better just to explore this old-style color space :smile: The MZ-3 film has no anti-halation layer at all, so it's even difficult to understand which side is emulsion while cutting and loading - that's why I made a mistake :smile: It mimicks exactly the old regular plates - a fine-grained contrasty color-blind emulsion, slow enough. And the flesh tones are very pleasing indeed - I like them better than ortho rendition.

     
  7. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    If they look as good as they do on the truly awful monitor on my internet computer, they must be pretty good!

    Oh; and I checked the visa stuff. Still pretty Soviet, I'm afraid. But as soon as it changes, I hope to see you.

    Cheers,

    Roger
     
  8. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Hi Jim, it's a real pleasure to hear it from you - I am glad that you like the look of my test pictures. I have a feeling that I've overdeveloped the negs, later I would reduce the time in third - just not to step on the same rakes with contrast, the film itself is quite contrasty. I am planning to go and try shooting some urban landscapes on this film - I expect something interesting and unusual, like dark brick houses etc.

    In fact, MZ-3 is a positive film, made for film copying, making masks and diapositives from it - it's thin, so I can try to expose it the way you propose, both sheets should fit the holder nicely. I thought to put a sheet of undeveloped wasted sheet of FT-41 film back to unexposed MZ sheet in holder, just to suppress halation with it - if I would ever want to subdue this wonderful effect, so wanted sometimes :smile: In your scheme, double exposure and shorter development should do. I would try it :smile:

     
  9. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Eric, I just didn't expect that my blunder would come out so nicely - dark skin tones were not completely expected to this magnitude, and I was so fortunate to have no antihalo layer, plus the film base was relatively clear :smile: I found out that I've exposed the film reversed only when I printed the first contacts, by letters on T-shirt of Lesha :smile:)) In fact, these pictures are just a small miracle - they happen sometimes, to much fun of people outside :smile: Thanks for good words! :smile:

     
  10. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Thanks Ole, I would be glad to help you with these - they're very good and quite cheap. I can't even think out the foreign analogue for MZ film - is there still any? BTW, what does the postal service say about sending undeveloped films - is it okay? This film is quite slow, and I doubt that any reasonable X-rays could damage it...

     
  11. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Hi Roger,

    they look even better, I think - you see, I didn't fiddle too much with all those scanner controls, I'm seriously afraid of electricity :smile:

    And foreign visa stuff is the same here - pretty Cold-War, I must confess... I shudder when I recall my appeal for US or French visa - and that's all this bad even when I live in Moscow, can't imagine how many pain in ass should it be to someone from another 6 time zones of Russia! :smile: And we've got two passports, one internal and one foreign... your case is not the worst, definitely :smile:

    Hope to see you soon, good luck - Zhenya

     
  12. phfitz

    phfitz Member

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    Hi Zhenya,

    "I can't even think out the foreign analogue for MZ film - is there still any?"

    A direct replacement is Kodak Aerocon II 2422 'Direct Positive'.
    They also make 2425 negative film. There is some 2422 on ebay now, it comes up often. Nice for lens tests, it's rated to 500lpm and can be handled under safelight. I never thought to use it for portraits.
     
  13. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Zhenya,

    My father was in the 1960s the Electrical Officer on HM Royal Yacht Britannia (in fact I spent my 16th birthday on board). He is a steam engineer by training. His comment on elecricity: "I don't trust it. You can't see it, and it bites."

    Yes, the EU (and US) visa requirements are absurdly restrictive too. Never mind. As soon as we can get back in easily, we'll see you in Moscow.

    You wouldn't be going to photokina by any chance?

    Cheers,

    Roger

     
  14. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    Zhenya,
    They all look pretty darn good to me, I wonder how you got the young Yul Brenner to pose for you? :smile: Really a "Good job", If you try Jim's suggestion I hope you will keep us informed.


    Charlie..........................
     
  15. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Heh, specialty Kodak films... still made, that's good! :smile: I don't think they could be imported to Russia, I remember my story with Kodak and electron microscopy film - I still get shivers sometimes :smile:

     
  16. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Roger,

    if there is any help I might offer, let me know - and I hope you would get the visa anyway, so I and my darkroom would welcome you :smile:

    Photokina should be a nice place to visit, but I'm afraid I'm too busy and too poor to go there :sad:

    Cheers, and see you in Russia soon - Zhenya

     
  17. eumenius

    eumenius Member

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    Charles,

    I'm very pleased to hear from you that the effects I inadvertently created with unsensibilized film and uncoated lens are pleasing to your eye. It definitely beats the pants off that long sought-after ortho film effect - the main drawback is a low film speed, but it still works :smile: Everyone around kept asking me which Photoshop filter did I employ for such a dark complexion, hehehe :smile:

    Yes, Yul Brenner was originally from Russia - so my dear friend Lesha should be his reserve copy, no doubt :smile: They look really similar in many ways, that's right - and I'm really itching to do more good LF portraits of him, maybe even for a small friendly exhibition :smile: He's a very nice guy, too - not only an excellent model.

    Thanks, Charles, and I promise to keep you informed about this Jim's trick - that could be very interesting, an in-camera masking.

    Cheers,
    Zhenya

     
  18. PHOTOTONE

    PHOTOTONE Member

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    I think you have it wrong in relation to your lighting set-up. Most classic portraiture in the era of blue-sensitive emulsions, and wet-plate photography was done with diffused sunlight comming through skylights and modified with cloth diffusers and reflector panels to fill in the shadow side.

    I have often wondered if the same "blue sensitivity" only effect could be achieved on panchromatic film with a deep blue filter?

    Phototone
     
  19. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    You say that that's direct positive film?

    So that's a direct, non-invereted scan from the film?
     
  20. Christopher D. Keth

    Christopher D. Keth Member

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    I don't get what you mean by "color blind" emulsion. All emulsion reacts somewhat to color, it's just how physics works.
     
  21. htmlguru4242

    htmlguru4242 Member

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    Its not precisely correct usage of the term, but he is referring to blue-sensitive only film.
     
  22. Christopher D. Keth

    Christopher D. Keth Member

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    Oh, OK. So orthochromatic. Cool, thanks!
     
  23. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    No, ortho is sensitive to both blue and green. That's why it's the new-fangled stuff. :smile:
     
  24. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Nice work Zhenya! When I have time I will keep experimenting with Kodak print film 2302. I posted a scan of a print I did with it in the Technical gallery. I think it's looking promising. I also had halation, but I'm sure that the film was positioned correctly in the camera. (I wonder why).

    http://www.apug.org/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=19529&cat=502
     
  25. noseoil

    noseoil Member

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    Wonderful examples with this film! I like the look it brings to the images and the softness is "just right" for me. I'm not so sure I would reduce development much, it might take away from the subtle skin tones. Perhaps just a shirt which isn't as white might be better on the next try?

    The only "modern" film I know which gives somewhat similar skin tones is Efke 25, not the same, but it is less on the red end, contrasty, and still pretty slow to shoot. Very nice work, want to see more. Best, tim