How to achieve this look/tone
Hello all- Long time reader, occasional poster here. I have a question/seeking some advice. While at Barnes and Noble this weekend, I discovered this book called “Its complicated: The Life of an American Teenager” by a photojournalist named Robin Bowman (link: http://www.amazon.com/Its-Complicate.../dp/1884167691) and I was completely floored by it (Im actually hard to impress). She basically drove around America for 4 years photographing teenagers using a simple Polaroid pathfinder 110b (adapted for sheet Polaroid of course) and having them tell their stories. Its rather gripping.. but what I was most impressed by was the tone and overall look of the images …I assume they were taken with Polaroid 55? So, anyways… it got me very interested and I started looking into getting a 110b and mod’ing it out..but then I realized how pricey Pola 55 and thought better of it.
My question is this: I currently shoot with a Roleiflex 2.8, a Pentax 67 and a SQ.. is there a film/developer combo that would come close to this look? Im sure most of you that are far more experienced than myself will say that just about any film would work.. but I know for myself I can spot this film in a line up.. maybe it’s the 4x5…. Either way, Im not super interested in getting a 4x5 at the moment (had a Crown, and never used it..and my scanner wont accommodate the size at the moment) so I would love to stick with what I have and just learn a new process.
Heres a link to an image page of the tone I mean: http://resourcemagonline.com/2012/05...-robin-bowman/
Pentax 67 with 105, 135, or 165 close to wide open, non-directional overcast/diffused ambient light...maybe push the film one stop, and then print 1/2 to 1 full grade harsher than you normally would...image color on the print looks similar to Fomatone MG classic fiber paper (smooth base type) toned in a light selenium dilution...just enough to make the image a chocolate brown, rather than rusty orange/red.
That's probably your best bet for approximating the technical aesthetic with what you have available.
You could shoot B/W instant film in one of your MF cameras... fuji still makes it, and it's not very expensive.
You could also try making it with normal film. The old polaroid sheet films for LF (I have a few boxes left myself) have a high contrast. It shouldn't be too hard to get that with film if you overexpose slightly and/or adjust the development.
Based on what I know for equipment, I'd use my rolleiflex automat tessar for that particular background look, using a fairly wide aperture. They are generally $200-400. It's possible there are lenses for the p67 that could do that, but I don't have much experience with different P67 lenses.
Based on those little photos, the film looks kinda normal, like tmax 400 or tri-x in d76 1:1.
You can see the photographs better here:
The 'look' you mention is quite easy to achieve.
As others have mentioned you need to shoot at a wide aperture.
To achieve the tonality you need to use a 'traditional' combo such as Tri-X developed in D76.
The key is that, without manipulation, Polaroid always rendered caucasian skin a mid grey if the highlights and shadows were to be retained (rather like the general printing style common when Polaroid first came out) and you need to replicate this. You can achieve making your prints like printers in the 50s and 60s commonly did. That is to say you choose a base exposure that ensures that you retain highlight detail and then only dodge any shadows that are near to the subject.
Let us know how you get on replicating the look you are after.
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6x7 right around 130mm and f5.6 - at this focal length (127mm) on my RZ, wide open can be razor thin. 5.6 or even f8 will give you a beautiful DOF and super sharp.
If you're looking at the tone on that prom photo, I get that exact look from Eboni6 (which should not be discussed here but may be worth a Googlin').
I'm pretty sure these are all Type 65 (pack film) negatives. Type 55 has a very different emulsion edge.
Originally Posted by bibowj
Still have one pack of Type 65 in the fridge. One of these days it will find a good project!