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  1. #61
    Sparky's Avatar
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    I seem to recall they had kind of a sketchy elevator at one point - kind of like the elevator at lens and repro... you know... makes you think about mortality a bit...?

  2. #62
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    It used to have an elevator operator, but it depended on which side of the building you entered. On the other side there was a narrow stairway.
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  3. #63

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    As for easy ways to obtaining graphite powder - every hardware and auto parts store carries it in smallish tubes (for lubricating locks etc). I use it for shutter and camera lubrication (gearworks, pistons,...).
    BTW, can anyone recommend a good starter manual for getting into print and neg retouching (have just bought TWO tetouch tables :-) )?
    [SIZE=1]Tiptoeing through life's grand theater - and falling down flat.[/SIZE]

  4. #64
    Christopher Nisperos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    I forget exactly where I read this, maybe in one of Vieira's books and possibly elsewhere (I have a few old retouching manuals that may mention this technique), but the blending stump is also used for charcoal drawings and I would imagine pastel drawing to create smooth textures. I've done a bit of this, and I definitely haven't mastered it, but it's a technique that has potential. As to whether it leaves "visible results"--well if it's done right then the visible results are smooth and clean, and if it's done clumsily then the visible results are clumsy.
    I seem to remember something about this too. I'll fish-around in my old retouching books also and post what I find.

    My doubts come from thinking that such a "global" coverage of an area with graphite would wash-out the subtle tonal differences (read "gradation") and create one, flat tone . . . but I could be wrong.

    My experience with retouching has taught me that even the careful and precise use of a tiny brush tip on a negative might give results which show-up in a final print, if not done "just right". Hence, my concerns about "visible results" have nothing to do with sloppy technique, but rather the thought that a tool as large as the blunt-tipped blending stump might not be precise enough to give "invisible" results, no matter how carefully handled.

    Speaking of this, I wonder if Hurrell's famous job of cleaning-up the freckles on Joan Crawford's face wash done freckle-by-freckle, or as a "wash-over"? Honestly, I suspect the former. I suppose that Mark Vieira would have the answer.

    Anyway, thanks for your reply. The info search is on!

    Best,

    Christopher
    Last edited by Christopher Nisperos; 04-28-2007 at 04:52 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #65
    Christopher Nisperos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by big_ben_blue View Post
    can anyone recommend a good starter manual for getting into print and neg retouching (have just bought TWO tetouch tables :-) )?
    Kodak's Photographic Retouching (publication no. E-97, by Vilia Reed). A gold mine.

    Also, there are lots of older books available out there, but Kodak's is the most complete and concise.

    If you ever find the 1960's version of the EK retouching book —or an earlier version, if it exists—, it would be the biggest favor if you'd send me a Xerox of it. I'd gladly reward you with a great glass of Bordeaux if you ever come to Paris! (ok..two. And if you don't drink...um, a Perrier!)

    Best,

    Christopher

    .

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky View Post
    Thanks Christopher and David, for your responses. Chris- while you're certainly an expert on the subject, where as I know precious little... it seems to me rather odd that they would contact print for production. Given the culture at the time, I'm sure enlarging (1:1) would be held in far higher esteem than lowly 'contact printing' (certainly people feel different now!) - it's just very surprising to me. You think he did his own printing also? -and not hand the job off to a lab? Regardless - if he was using azo (not disputing it - just think it's odd) - surely, you'd want to keep the negs thin for production with that process, too! Anyway - thanks again for your feedback. I'm just trying to absorb all this within the context of 'print production'.

    ps - I'll pick up a copy of the book!
    Hi Sparky,

    This is an easy one . . . the "the culture at the time" (and place—Hollywood), was called "business".

    Printing 8x10 negatives on a professional contact printer, especially using photographic paper on long rolls, was (is!) faster and easier than enlarging prints, one-by-one. As David has already pointed out very clearly, there are lots of production advantages —and technical necessities— to contact printing.

    I'm almost sure that Hurrell wouldn't have had time to do all his printing himself. Don't know if he used Azo, Velox or both. As well, I don't know what his negatives looked like. I suggest you contact Mark Vieira for all of this info, if you can get him to answer your email.

    By the way, up until very recently there were even photolabs in New York and Los Angeles who specialized in this kind of mass-quantity contact printing (David, do you know if they still exist?)

    Best,

    Christopher

    PS - nice of you to tell me that you're buying the "Hollywood Portraits" book.. but just so you know, I don't make a penny from it! What's important is that it help you reach your creative goals. Enjoy!
    .

  7. #67
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Yes there are headshot labs in New York that specialize in repros, but I'm not sure how much they are using contact printers. Modernage (http://www.modernage.com), which handles a lot of headshot work, probably can still do it this way, but they seem to advertise more and more digital services, I suspect because they are getting more and more digital originals. Precision Photos (http://www.precisionphotos.com/) I know has two DeVere Digital Enlargers for this work. I haven't dealt with Kenneth Taranto for a long time (I used to shoot headshots when I was a grad student to earn some extra money), but they do a lot of work for the best headshot photographers in New York, and I suspect they can afford to shoot film.

    I like older retouching manuals, because they include many pencil and knife techniques and often include information about making materials like retouching fluid and retouching dyes that you might have to make for yourself.

    The Art of Retouching and Improving Negatives and Prints by Robert Johnson went through many editions. I have the 14th edition published in 1941.

    The Photo Miniature, vol. XI, no. 122, January 1913 is entitled "How to Retouch Negatives" and contains some good illustrations and instructions on older techniques, including using "stomps" (a blending stump) with black chalk on the base side of a glass plate for smoothing out fabrics and draperies.

    The opposite technique of the stump and graphite powder or black chalk, by the way, is abrasive reducer, which I've managed to reverse engineer by grinding brown tripoli with a mortar and pestle and adding mineral oil to make a paste. You can use this to thin out dense spots on the emulsion side of the neg.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
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  8. #68

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    Just out of interest.....According to David Brooks(somewhat anti-Hurrell), old Hollywood masters used Kodak Tri-X ASA 320, the old film is red sensitive which is "favorable to skin tones, brilliant highlights, and soft contrast shadows" :

    http://forum.shutterbug.com/forum/sh...age=2#Post4845

    He noted:
    If I may add, although Hollywood classic B&W portraits were often retouched (rather easy to do with a pencil on an 8x10 inch negative) the tungsten light (reddish) and a B&W film that is biased to red sensitivity does not penetrate skin and exposes it to produce relatively high density recording red blemishes so there was little density difference from the surrounding complexion tones.

    Very flattering compared to what electronic flash on fully panchromatic film does, recording every little skin irregularity and every pimple like a crater on the moon. Electronic flash without very efficient UV flash tube coating is even worse, and will even penetrate street makeup.
    If you stick a light red filter (not deep red) on modern B&W panchromatic film, you can imitate the red sensitivity of old Kodak Tri-X right? Maybe not a good thing to do in practice because it darkens the viewfinder plus loss of light...also lightening the lip tone of women.

  9. #69
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Does anyone use green lipstick anymore?
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  10. #70
    Christopher Nisperos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    Yes there are headshot labs in New York that specialize in repros, but I'm not sure how much they are using contact printers. Modernage (http://www.modernage.com), which handles a lot of headshot work, probably can still do it this way, but they seem to advertise more and more digital services, I suspect because they are getting more and more digital originals. Precision Photos (http://www.precisionphotos.com/) I know has two DeVere Digital Enlargers for this work. I haven't dealt with Kenneth Taranto for a long time (I used to shoot headshots when I was a grad student to earn some extra money), but they do a lot of work for the best headshot photographers in New York, and I suspect they can afford to shoot film.

    I like older retouching manuals, because they include many pencil and knife techniques and often include information about making materials like retouching fluid and retouching dyes that you might have to make for yourself.

    The Art of Retouching and Improving Negatives and Prints by Robert Johnson went through many editions. I have the 14th edition published in 1941.

    The Photo Miniature, vol. XI, no. 122, January 1913 is entitled "How to Retouch Negatives" and contains some good illustrations and instructions on older techniques, including using "stomps" (a blending stump) with black chalk on the base side of a glass plate for smoothing out fabrics and draperies.

    The opposite technique of the stump and graphite powder or black chalk, by the way, is abrasive reducer, which I've managed to reverse engineer by grinding brown tripoli with a mortar and pestle and adding mineral oil to make a paste. You can use this to thin out dense spots on the emulsion side of the neg.

    Thanks, David, for the resource information and the update on labs which used to do a lot of contact prints. I'll add one great source of information from the olden days: The (older) British Journal Photographic Almanacs, issued yearly, seemingly beginning from the death of Jesus up until the death of Marilyn Monroe. There-abouts-after, they are too "updated".

    Wow...You are in my head! LOL... I was just about to ask you if you knew how to make abrasive reducer! Thanks for the recipe. You're right about the old retouching books being a great source for DIY products. Too bad the off-the-shelf products have almost all disappeared (SpotTone, etc.), however I see that you can still get dope from B&H, and here in France you can still get a few Pebeo products.

    In another post you mentioned green make-up. Jeepers, you're revealing your
    fine connaissance of the era (and what a dinosaur you are! ... welcome to the club...yabba-dabba-doo!). In researching the Hollywood Portraits book, I interviewed someone at the Max Factor make-up museum (you read it right). He mentioned the green (and gray!) make-up to me and also told me that it was normal in those days for Max Factor —or even individual photographers— to have photographed a "color chart" of make-up colors, so they'd know how a particular film would respond to a particular color. Forgive me if this seems obvious, but today perhaps few of us would think to do this!

    What the heck... why not black lipstick?

    Best,

    Christopher

    .
    Last edited by Christopher Nisperos; 04-29-2007 at 09:31 AM. Click to view previous post history.



 

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