View Full Version : Mom's Photo

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Worker 11811
05-10-2010, 01:06 PM
My mom wanted me to shoot some photos of her flower garden on Mother's day, yesterday. I took some photos and it was near the end of a roll so I handed her the camera and let her shoot a couple.

I don't think my mom has EVER used a 35mm manual camera in her life. She's always had a point-n-shoot Instamatic. So I set the exposure, showed her where to turn the focus and said, "Press the button when you're ready."

Before you look at the photo, you should know that this film is some old, expired Tri-X Pan 400. It came inside one of the film loaders I just bought, second-hand, from eBay. It's at least 10 years old but, I thought, "What the hell? It's free film. I might as well shoot it."
Processed in D-76 @ 8 min. Everything pretty much normal.

I scanned the photo and e-mailed it to her, this morning. She replied and told me she doesn't like it. I disagree with her. Although I don't think it's the "Great American Photograph," I think the image stands on its own.

Maybe it's beginner's luck but Mom still hates it, no matter what I say. I think she's too used to shooting that "everything in focus" flat kind of picture that she's always gotten from her Instamatic.

I like the "old fashioned" look and I think it's kind of "dreamy" looking.
I think I'm going to print it and maybe sepia tone it to make it look "really old fashioned."

I just thought I'd post the photo and see what other people think.

05-10-2010, 01:09 PM
She has a good eye! What a nice mother's day gift!!

Existing Light
05-10-2010, 01:56 PM
I think it's good photo. She has a better eye than I did during my semester of Intro Photography class....and at least half of my second semester of photography classes :)

My mom likes having everything in focus, too. A lot of times when she's looking at my pictures, she's says "Why is everything back there fuzzy?" she's used to point and shoot digital cameras, and they seem to like to get everything in focus unless you set it in portrait or macro mode or something :)

05-10-2010, 02:03 PM
I would hazard a guess that your mother was expecting (or would have preferred) that her colourful flowers be shown on colour film and in a colour picture :).

05-10-2010, 02:15 PM
Looks like a good candidate for some careful hand tinting.

05-10-2010, 02:28 PM
Great. Love the older look to it.

05-10-2010, 03:18 PM
Hand tinting is a neat idea. I hadn't thought of it, but this does seem like an image where it would work well.

I really like the photo too. To my eye, sepia toning would be a bit much---you might just try printing it warm first. Or go full-on pictorialist and print it on a heavily textured surface?


05-10-2010, 04:02 PM
a great shot! Mom did well!

05-10-2010, 05:08 PM
I love it :) It looks like a shot from the 30s or 40s. Or something you'd find in an old text book. Fabulous.

05-10-2010, 05:51 PM
Your mother knows it's good to be self critical :)

Have her keep it up and I'm sure she'll soon be happier with her work - also keep in mind that the more control she has over the whole process the more rewarding it becomes.

Best of luck carrying on!

Worker 11811
05-10-2010, 05:56 PM
Thanks! I really appreciate it! :)

Mom does prefer color photos. She keeps asking my why I use black and white and I keep telling her that I can't do color in my darkroom... yet... ;)

I thought about toning but maybe you are right. Hand tint would be better.

This is just a complete "spitball" idea...
What if I got Mom a hand tinting kit and printed her off about a half dozen copies of the photo?
After all it is her photo. Why not let the original artist finish it the way she sees fit?
What's a color kit cost? $30-$40? Once the photo is made, it's a lot like "paint by numbers." Isn't it? (Okay... a simplified way to put it but the concept is the same.)

Who knows? Maybe we could form a team? :D :D

Jeff Kubach
05-10-2010, 06:00 PM
Looks great to me! Tell her to keep up the good work.


05-10-2010, 06:31 PM
hope you are going to forward this thread to her ;)

she did a great job ... tint would look really nice!

05-10-2010, 07:09 PM
Nice pic! Methinks it would translate beautifully to gum-dichromate; it's already got that 'antique' look - gum printing would be the finishing touch

Worker 11811
05-11-2010, 10:02 AM
I sent Mom a link to this thread. She's very happy to see that people like her photo.
I made her a couple of prints last night. I'll take them to her next time I visit.

Thanks, everybody! :)

05-12-2010, 11:18 AM

My humble opinion is that the image lacks "POP" which translates to contrast, and that translates to how you prepared the scanned image.


05-12-2010, 12:07 PM
I love it too. Especially B&W is great in this picture :) You should give her a nice camera for her birthday.

Worker 11811
05-12-2010, 12:39 PM

I agree with you. The film I used for this photo is very old. Well past expiration date. (I took other photos with better film that day. This is just the one that Mom took.) The film has a lot of base fog and lacks a lot of contrast. The image you see on-screen is AFTER I compensated during scanning and added contrast via Photoshop.

I would have preferred to have Mom's photo on fresher film but this is what came out. Even so, the photo has its own qualities.

Now that Mom has had a good experience with taking "good" photos, maybe I can get her to take more. :)

05-12-2010, 12:44 PM
She has a good eye! What a nice mother's day gift!!
I agree with Susanne. Multum in parvo, is it not. Was it Walt Whitman who wrote "the universe in a blade of grass?' This is her garden in fronds of wisteria? Perhaps she is not accustomed to the feeling she has done well.
Your idea of printing and sepa-toning, methinks, is a good one."

05-12-2010, 01:32 PM
Frankly I suspect that it was not scanned as well as it might have been.

Anyway, we should probably never fight this battle of trying to convince someone what is a good photograph. If you like it then hang it on your wall! With relatives and friends, I just shuffle through some prints and watch the eyebrows and that's it. I learned this after years of trying to please people :rolleyes:

I do think it's wonderful that you are discussing this with her, and let's hope that her interest continues!

Incidentally I have some old digisnaps of wisteria that hang in a place of high honour at my parents' place. Those shots drive me nuts, they date from before I got [back] into film. But the parents love 'em, much more so than other shots I gave them which were much more successful. You can't argue, just go with it!