richard avedon portrait

Discussion in 'Portraiture' started by blindpig, Jan 16, 2014.

  1. blindpig

    blindpig Member

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    This has bugged me for many years and it's probably a dumb question with an obvious answer....
    Has any one figured out how he made that Bridget Bardot portrait with sharp features and hair thats sharp but moved somehow?
    Love to know........
     
  2. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    Kicked the tripod possibly. Worked for Steichen by all accounts.
     
  3. brucemuir

    brucemuir Member

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    can you link said portrait?
     
  4. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    I think that is just the way her hair was done. Alexandre of Paris did a series of hair for portraits.
     
  5. blindpig

    blindpig Member

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    LOL! good one Mike but her eyes etc. would not be as sharply rendered IMHO.
    Bruce, try google Richard Avedon portrait of Bridget Bardot.
    Cowanw,I'm not up on hair do's but It appears to be moved in areas to me.again just MHO.
    I worked in the photographic department at Hallmark Cards (about 45 years ago) when my boss brought in Richard Avedon's book and this picture was full page about 8 1/2 "X 11",It was mesmerizing.
     
  6. patrickth

    patrickth Member

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  7. blindpig

    blindpig Member

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    Gosh it would have been worth while for me to tell you all which picture I was on about DUH!.sorry, wasn't thinking it through....
    Try Google VEST Brigitte Bardot by Richard Avedon Jan 27 1959
    It's a head and shoulder straight on shot and her hair seems to be moving. WoW! I got a little ahead of myself asking your opinions without any info.
    So let's try it agin....
     
  8. blindpig

    blindpig Member

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    Patrick,think you found a probable solution for my question (maybe) still wonder about the picture a little.
    I worked in a studio that had Saltzman hot lights and one was a 1500 watt flood which we always used on it's stand.It's hard to imagine anyone hand holding it let alone moving it around much(pretty big/bulky and heavy).Interesting idea though.
     
  9. Mike Crawford

    Mike Crawford Member

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    OK, he kicked the enlarger! However, was quite serious about Steichen kicking out. I can't remember which book I saw it in but there was a colour studio shot which had a similar shuddering look. Tried it myself with 5x4 and has to be done quite gently! I know the Bardot shot and right about the eyes. Perhaps a slight double flash with the hair swishing about from a fan or assistant nearby wafting a big board?
     
  10. ajmiller

    ajmiller Subscriber

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    At a guess was it some kind of diffused material held under the enlarger with a cut-out around her face? The print on the background behind her hair is the same so it's at the printing stage I think it was done.
     
  11. Claudia Moroni

    Claudia Moroni Subscriber

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    I agree with AJ, I think it was done at the printing stage as well.

    Looking at the picture, the hair isn't blurred, it's repeated over and over.

    They could have made a first exposure and then masked the face while making several other exposures, increasingly raising or lowering the enlarger. From the look of it, I'd guess three exposures in total for the hair.
     
  12. blindpig

    blindpig Member

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    I would agree with you about manipulating in the enlarger with masking but you can see her eye brow through her hair and except for the burned out area to the lower right of her face/hair the hair seems to be exposed the same (not burned out or transparent by multiple exposures IMHO).you have to admit it's pretty interesting.
     
  13. fastw

    fastw Member

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    Maybe he asked her to turn her head and stop. The face stooped but hair still moved a bit. The googled photos I found are a little small.
     
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  15. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I think it was done at the taking stage, as best effects are. Perhaps a swish of card to move the hair over a moderate long exposure, say 1/30th.
     
  16. doughowk

    doughowk Subscriber

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    It didn't seem that Avedon was terribly interested in darkroom techniques, so I also think it was in taking stage. Could it be multiple exposures with zoom lens, or just moving back? I was surprised that the "Assisting Avedon" assistant didn't include any tips/tricks on this portrait. Some of the other portraits that he did later also includes multiples of hair yet face in focus.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 18, 2014
  17. snapguy

    snapguy Member

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    Humbug

    In my humbug -- I mean, humble -- opinion it is just the hairdo, the lighting and the depth of field. The man did know how to use his tools and those around him did, too. That is why we are still looking at his photos.
     
  18. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    How does hairdo, lighting and depth of field blur hair?
     
  19. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Just so as we are talking apples and apples
    http://leosartsplace.files.wordpress.com/2009/07/sfmoma_avedon_08_bardot.jpg
    this is a copy that can be enlarged greater than life sized. There is no blur. there is an area in the left upper scalp with 4 lines apparently repeated, but on high magnification they appear different. I still think the highlighting of the blonde and a comb and spray did this.
    Isn't it interesting how we all see things differently.
     
  20. blindpig

    blindpig Member

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    Thanks for the link .Am amazed at the image and that I hadn't seen the obvious detail that you saw right away. Really perceptive of you.
    I agree about us all seeing things so differently,The other night I watched a TV show"Brain Games"and had the fact that we interpret things we see according to past experiences and training.Some times our brain jumps to conclusions which aren't factual but we are sure we observed one thing when another thing actually happened.
    The first time I saw this image it was probably about 8 1/2" X 11" in a Avedon book and there were several of us looking at it together.probably one of us said" her hair seems to be moving" and that was enough to imprint on my brain (about 50 or more years ago).Sadly it makes a statement about my memory,LOL!
    Again thanks, I believe you've answered my query
     
  21. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    I remember seeing this decades ago and thought it looked as though it was a multiple filter exposure using red, green and blue in combination with the triple exposure.

    This is normally done using colour film with the idea to make things that move look different and the things that don't move to look normal. I remember how some of the prints I saw and the small amount a couple of us did as an experiment in a studio turned out, the look isn't that much different.

    I pretty much assumed a long exposure, and the hair being moved by a man made zephyr.

    Mick.
     
  22. silberbromid

    silberbromid Member

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    Could it be that the effect in the models's hair has been achieved in a darkroom process? With her face being masked and the hair having been exposed more than once with slightly different magnification.
     
  23. Wayne

    Wayne Member

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    It just took a lot of practice. This is one of the earlier versions.


    delete.jpg
     
  24. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    ----
     
  25. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    That's a tough one.

    My guess would be a fan on a longer exposure but that could give you the "angel hair" type thing you get with water.

    There are very rather hard large comb marks in her hair and perhaps its could work with a lot of hairspray to make the hair not whispy, then with a fan, or a single card in one fanning motion may be able to create the look without creating any "softness" or angel hair.

    Since her face is in perfect focus with hard lines where her eyes makeup is, I can't see how kicking the tripod or shaking an enlarger would give this effect without creating issues with her eyes.

    It is possible her face could have been masked in the darkroom with a "kicked" exposure on her hair, for a slight period of time then the masked removed and a full exposure done.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 23, 2015
  26. OptiKen

    OptiKen Subscriber

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    I honestly can't see why he would have revised this earlier one. I think this one shows more creativity as well as a hint of mystery.