School Photographs

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Michel Hardy-Vallée, Apr 12, 2010.

  1. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    In the thread about oversized proof sheets, someone pointed to a repeating easel, which allows one to print multiple images on the same sheet of paper.

    It suddenly brought back the memory of my own school photos, that I received as sheets containing multiple copies of various format. And it made me realize another thing: throughout all the years that I was in primary/secondary school (until 16 y/o), I never paid any attention to the kind of cameras school photographers were using.

    Funny, since now I spend so much energy and time on photography, and my dad has been a dedicated amateur for years as well.

    So what was used in the analog days to make portraits of us little critters? How did you deal with such a huge volume of negative? What films? Formats? Lighting sets? My own school years go from the mid 80s to the mid 90s, but I would be interested in other eras as well.
     
  2. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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    Well Mike, I spent 10 years processing, and printing those school portraits at a now defunct lab in Edison NJ. The camera most of our contract photographers used was the Camerz system. They came in two formats, 35 mm long roll (no sprocket holes), and 70 mm film. They were (and still are if you can find one) big heavy twin lens reflexes, which had a slot to insert a card that had the childs name, and what "package" of photos they had ordered. Now the printers at the lab were a whole different story. I worked on a "Hicks multi format" machine. Biggest piece of crap ever produced in the world of photo. Every now, and then one of these beastly cameras comes up on "the bay", but I can't imagine why any one would want one. Unless you have need of a boat anchor.
     
  3. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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  4. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    I used to work for Olan Mills Inc., we used Photogenic 70mm roll film cameras. I dont remember ours being TLR's, but they were cumbersom brutes, and a bugger to load in a changing bag. The up-side of the experience was all the money I made working on the road for them.
     
  5. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    So how did the Camerz system work, it's just a big bulk roll that you load up, and imprint with the client's order?

    I still see 46mm (35mm unsprocketed film) available here and there over the internet, so I guess it's for these cameras?
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I knew someone whose parents were retouchers who did a lot of school photo work. They were in NJ, so it's possible that they were connected with that lab in Edison. The setup for this work was an Adams Retouching Machine with a long rollfilm holder, so the retoucher could spot out all the zits on the negative with brushes and dyes.

    Camerz is still around making other things--

    http://normanlights.com/camerz_video_viewer.asp
     
  7. rthomas

    rthomas Subscriber

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    I worked as a color QC technician at Delmar Photography in Charlotte, NC back in the mid-90's. We processed and printed 35mm and 46mm long roll - the film was generally Kodak VPS, which is also what we used for our control negatives. I think the seniors dept used 70mm but I didn't work in that dept and it's been a while. The printing was done with custom-built package printers that had pneumatically-controlled lens boards for specific sets (4-up in a 5x7 space, or a 5x7 and then an "L" of wallet prints in an 8x10 space, for example), and (if I remember correctly), they got the package info for each frame from a computer network. Some of the printers used 10" roll paper and some used 4" or 5" - I can't remember which. With all 30 or so machines going, it could be quite loud in that room, as each machine pushed the various lens boards around and moved paper and film automatically. We also did titles (for example, for senior prom shoots) by hand, with clear material and adhesive lettering. Another area they worked in was composite photo printing with a variety of machines; one of these was a huge Omega F enlarger known as Godzilla.
     
  8. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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    David, we didn't have any negative retouchers, but we had upwards of 3 people in our busy season, spotting prints. rthomas, our machine were air powered too, God they made a racket when they were running. The printing dept I worked in had 11 of the beasts, plus 2 of the old Kodak "S" printers for the group shots. All our package printers used 10 wide, by 500 ft. long paper. Around early August we would get at least 2 tractor trailers of paper, and chemistry from Kodak. I do not miss that job!
     
  9. nyoung

    nyoung Member

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    As of this year, I'm working with a school photographer who's still using the unperfed 35mm in the Camrez camera. Most unusual school rig I've seen was a guy shooting seniors for me who had an RB67 modified to take a 70mm long roll. That was at the very dawn of the D**** age and he had a video rig mounted with the RB so that he could show the clients real-time (video) proofs on a 36 inch monitor.
     
  10. Konical

    Konical Subscriber

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    Good Afternoon,

    Back in the mid-1970's, when I was yearbook adviser at my high school, the local pro who did student portraits used a 5 x 7 view camera with a movable back which allowed (I'm guessing here) twelve exposures on a single sheet of film. I have no idea how he managed to concentrate adequately to avoid blanks and/or double exposures.

    Konical
     
  11. Terrence Brennan

    Terrence Brennan Member

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    I worked for a lab for six years in the 80s that did a lot of school photographs, as well as student ID cards for the local transit company.

    The photogs were mostly independents, although some were on staff. They used a mix of Camerz and Nord long roll cameras, and the film was all 35mm unperforated.

    We printed the negatives on Nord package printers, equipped (as all of the pro division printers were) with Hazeltine additive lamphouses. Later we moved some of the production to Kodak PMP printers, with the KDCPU drawers. The PMP was actually a slightly modified Lucht V-7 printer.
     
  12. IloveTLRs

    IloveTLRs Member

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    In Japan around the 1950s (Japanese) TLRs were used for class pictures. When I brought my Yashica 44 into school one day an older teacher told me that.

    For whole class pictures, the Fuji 690 was used, in all its incarnations. Now that just about everyone has switched away, the 690 can be found, in various conditions, at most cameras shops and shows. When I can, I try talking to school photographers when I see them. Most are happy to talk gear, and although they don't use film anymore, there are still some photographers out there with a 690 in their trunk :smile: A lot of them miss film.
     
  13. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    B/W group shots

    Interesting thread. I remember in grade school in California in the early to mid sixties only group class pictures were made. I remember distinctly that the photographers used 8x10 view cameras for these large "group portraits". They would usually take 2 exposures. These guys worked well with us wiggly, silly kids and usually managed to get shots of the whole class with everyone looking cute and somewhat civilized. The photographs were shot with black and white film and the students were asked to wear a dark sweater and slacks for "picture day". I recently came across an 8x10 of my third grade class from Emerson Elementary School in Burbank, Calif. The print was glossy and made on double-weight fiber paper and in absolutely perfect condition.
     
  14. DanielStone

    DanielStone Member

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    I work occasionally for a school dance check-in company, scanning student's ID cards as they enter. Generally the photographers are within walking distance, so after we've packed up our computers and equipment, I walk over and watch, if possible.

    quite a few people I've noticed lately have been using P&S digital cameras, no wonder the pictures look like sh!t!

    my little brother just went to his 1st prom, and he got the pictures about 2 weeks later. Boy, the skintones were all nasty(too yellow), and SUPER LOW CONTRAST, way to low to be acceptable.

    this digital crap that passes as "ok" is bringing down the school photographers a lot

    -Dan