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  1. #1

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    pros in the olden days

    Hi,

    lately I've been interested a lot in the history of fashion photography. But there is very little information available about the technical aspects of the work of major photographers prior to around 2000's. What I am most curious about is whether E4/E6 or printed C22/C41 was the "standard" (most usual) submitted material for magazines like Vogue, Elle and Bazaar in the 70's and 80's.

    I think I've read somewhere that Guy Bourdin used Kodachrome, but I might be imagining things. Can anyone confirm or deny this?

    I'm not just asking this about fashion magazines, but for other types of photography too, like National Geographic (I'm pretty sure they used a lot of 35mm E6, didn't they?), advertising, books etc. I'll exclude wedding photography here, because it was always oriented toward making a small amount of prints for the customers, so C41 was a natural choice (not to mention that the white gown and the black suit call for the extended latitude of negative film).

    I remember that years ago, in the mid 2000's there were still some photographers on photo forums that considered E6 to be the professional format, vs. C41 to be somehow amateur. I'm not sure how much this was based in reality. I was never a pro photographer, so I have no clue.

    Then another thing that I'm wondering about is; in the field where reversal film was used, was Kodachrome the pro standard (and Ektachrome, the second choice...), or vice versa. I'm asking because later on, Kodachrome became a sort of "special look" film, and E6 were the "standard" films. But it might have been the other way around because, I'm sure there was a time when Kodachrome outperformed Ektachrome in terms of (I'm talking about 60's maybe?) color accuracy. That changed later of course.

    Well any insight shared would be valuable, especially from oldtimer pros who have priceless first hand experience.

    thanks

  2. #2

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    Note for mods:

    Sorry, I made a mistake. I wanted to post something here too, and I opened two reply forms in different tabs, but I didn't see which one was which, so I posted this in the wrong forum. I meant to have posted this in the film and processing forum. So can you please move it there, and delete this post when it's done. Thanks.

  3. #3

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    Ntl Geo used to be one of the biggest users of Kodachrome on the planet, and it showed. When they went back and shot that Afghan girl 20 years later, or whatever it was, with a digital camera, the difference was stark, and a huge decline.

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    In fact, National Geographic had their own in-house Kodachrome lab in Washington DC, and the volumes in that lab were the highest still film volumes in the world.

    They would also use local Kodachrome labs where appropriate - I can remember my father, a long time Kodak Canada manager, expediting some processing for a National Geographic photographer who was shooting a story in British Columbia in the mid 1970s.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5
    chriscrawfordphoto's Avatar
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    Most color fashion work was done with slide film. By the 90s, when I got my start as a professional, it was all E-6. Very little Kodachrome was used commercially by then. E-6 was basically the standard for anything that was going to be published (advertising, fashion, magazine editorial, catalogs, etc.), except for Newspapers. They usually used color neg films.
    Chris Crawford
    Fine Art Photography of Indiana and other places no one else photographs.

    http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com

    My Tested Developing Times with the films and developers I use

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    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  6. #6
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Oh dear...

    "70's and 80's" = "olden days?"

    Surely you are referring to the 1870s and 1880s?



    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    By the way, I would be cautious about referring here on APUG to times like the 60s, 80s, 90s and 2000s as the "olden days".

    The "Golden Era" is permitted!
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

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    olde time

    For a long time, into the 1970s and 1980s at least, color negative film was not very sharp and most pros used color transparency film. Kodachrome was hard to beat for sheer high quality images but the early stuff was pretty gaudy and the colors were not real. The original Kodachrome was ASA 10. It went to 50 and 64 and the colors were better. Early Ektachrome was not that sharp but got better. I sold color to magazines and newspapers in the 1960s and 1970s all over the world and most foreign publications preferred 120 film over 35mm. I would shoot b&w with a Nikon F and a Leica M2r and color with a Rolleiflex or a Yashicamat. I shot Tri-X and Ektachrome.

  9. #9
    MattKing's Avatar
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    A lot of published Kodachrome was shot on Kodachrome II - ASA 25. In its day, it was considered fast!

    Transparency film had the clear advantage as well in that it served as a reliable reference to the pre-press operators and other individuals involed in the production of published work. Their systems were set up with transparencies in mind.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  10. #10
    benjiboy's Avatar
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    Most studio fashion colour photography was done on medium or large format slide film, it was young guns like David Bailey that persuaded the picture editors of Vogue and Harpers to reluctantly accept stuff shot on 35mm cameras.
    Ben

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