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  1. #1
    Gatsby1923's Avatar
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    Old Pre War Color Look. I’m Impressed. Can it be done today?

    I just picked up a 1940 book of Kodachromes entitled “Kodachrome: and how to use it” by Ivan Dmitri. The colors in the book have impressed me. Heck all Pre ww2 color photography has impressed me at some level. The colors are just surreal in a way. I would like to do some photography as close as possible to that old Kodachrome of the late 30’s look. Aside from buying some Kodachrome 64 and maybe using an uncoated lens how can I come close to that classic Retro look?

    Dave M.
    I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
    Carl Sandburg

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gatsby1923 View Post
    I just picked up a 1940 book of Kodachromes entitled “Kodachrome: and how to use it” by Ivan Dmitri. The colors in the book have impressed me. Heck all Pre ww2 color photography has impressed me at some level. The colors are just surreal in a way. I would like to do some photography as close as possible to that old Kodachrome of the late 30’s look. Aside from buying some Kodachrome 64 and maybe using an uncoated lens how can I come close to that classic Retro look?

    Dave M.
    Dear Dave,

    I have the same book.

    You're not gonna like the answer.

    D*g*t*l manipulation.

    And I speak as a committed B+W film user.

    Cheers,

    R.

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    First off remember the book is printed 4-color CMYK, so the look of the images might not match what the film actually recorded. To make the look of pre-war Kodachrome it is important to view an actual transparency.

    That said, no modern film will give you the look and feel of that era. The easiest way is by creating a set of actions in PhotoShop to adjust your image quality from a modern film stock to the "retro" look, and apply the actions to the scanned digital image.

    Good luck. I'm sure that other ways in camera but I don't have the energy to experiment.

  4. #4
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    Those old prints also had color correction and contrast masking as well. Actually, all magazine prints have both, even today but the masks are done digitally for the most part.

    PE

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    You might want to check out the photographer 'Outerbridge' if you are interested in early color. He did all of his as carbro prints.
    art is about managing compromise

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    Gatsby1923's Avatar
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    Yes after thinking about the pictures in the book, and other books of that era, I realized a lot of that color look has to do with the way they where reproduced. Maybe I should shoot some kodachrome and see if I can find a local fine art printmaker to hook up with.
    I don't know where I'm going, but I'm on my way.
    Carl Sandburg

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    I have a lot of 1940s photo magazines with color reproductions. Indeed, very different from those we see today. The last time I saw anything that looked like the magazine photos was some color negative photos shot through a lens from sunglasses.

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    has anyone tried bleach bypass for E6

  9. #9
    DBP
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    I have a book here from 1939 entitled Making Color Prints". Apparently the standard at the time was to do separation negatives, either in camera or from a chrome film, then employ any of a variety of processes such as carbro to creat the layers that were then sanwiched back together. That is not, of course, the precise method that a magazine would have used.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by DBP View Post
    I have a book here from 1939 entitled Making Color Prints". Apparently the standard at the time was to do separation negatives, either in camera or from a chrome film, then employ any of a variety of processes such as carbro to creat the layers that were then sanwiched back together. That is not, of course, the precise method that a magazine would have used.
    Not precisely, but very close. The orignal transparency (and Kodachrome could have been shot up to at least 5x7 at that time, I think), would have b/w separations made on b/w negative film, from which printing plates would have been made. The printing plates would be inked with color process inks. Cyan,Yellow, Magenta and black. and printed in succession to form the full color image.

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