You might contact Mark Vieira and ask him
You might contact Mark Vieira and ask him
Seriously, it is very possible that Hurrell was guessing as the book was being written, based on his experience, about what he probably-sorta-kinda-possibly-maybe used for that special shot of "X", on that special day years earlier.
I don't know if there were notes taken by Hurrell or not, but I do know that I don't keep any camera setting records and only very crude notes penned on the boxes of my materials on hand.
The practical question is probably not "is the book is a true historical record?" though, but instead "is the information contained a reasonable guide?"
The latter seems likely and given the current market availability of Super X, at best the book gives you a reference of the type of film he may have chosen, liked, or got paid to say he used. Given that uncertainty, it would seem the specific answer is purely academic in nature.
Also given the maliability of most any film's/paper's characteristics/responses though development and exposure and filters on the lighting and Filters on the camera and ... It gets to the point where what Hurrell actually used no longer matters.
Most masters, in any trade or craft, get to a point where they can make various tools do the same work.
Thank you Mark, I guess you are right, that is a likely explanation. To confirm that I guess I can, as suggested, try to contact Mark Vieira, but I think your guess is correct. I would need now to find technical info (spectrograms and sensitometric curves) of Super-X, Panchro Press and Super Sensitive Pan, which I can't find in any kodak book (my oldest one is from 1939, which seems "too modern"). Maybe it is better to open a new topic for that.
You are welcome Darkbluesky.
Mark Vieira may be able to add info to the mix that is worthwhile, don't know.
Ansel Adams, The Negative, had a variety of curves in the back, don't know if what you are looking for is there or in similar texts but a trip to the library may help.
So, with the historical question waiting on more research, enquiring minds want to know; how are you planning to use the info?
The reason I ask is that, if this is a practical exercise, it is very possible given what you already know to backwards engineer from the works Hurrell left behind to get a very, very, very similar result.
This is in theory simple, just define the qualities you want to replicate and look at what's available to see what might work and start practicing/experimenting.
What I'm getting at is, for example, that film curves are maleable. We can make say Delta 100 print more like TXP by adjusting exposure and development.
The manipulation of the curve of any film uses techniques that Hurrell, or his assistants, would have applied but that would have been highly problematic to record or replicate, like how much agitation a specific sheet of film should, or did, get and how accurately the developer temp was regulated on any given day.
It also begs the question of what the water quality was as that would and will affect development if there were or are certain impurities. Impurities aren't necessarily a problem at a local level, as long as they remain constant, but can be very problematic when translating that info out of that locality.
Agitating your films exactly like Hurrell did his and recreating his water quality isn't going to happen. The good thing is that it probably doesn't have to.
I'm of the opinion that you could get very close to Hurrell's look by just getting the big things right and then seasoning to taste.
What I'm saying is that;
If you want the smoothness, texture, and detail of a Hurrell contact print, then using the same film size and contact printing probably matters much more than which film or paper gets used.
If you want the lighting to match it is probably more important to understand the direction and size of the lighting source than it is to get the same brand of hot light. In fact if I were going to try this I'd use the studio strobes I already have rather than buying old theatrical lights.
If you are willing to compromise a bit on texture and manipulate the process Pan F or even XP2 in 67 format might be workable for enlargement.
So what are your plans?
For what it's worth, here is a section in "Hurrel's Hollywood Portraits" by Vieira.
"Nineteen thirty-one was approaching and George Hurrell was runing out of orthochromatic film. He could have ordered more, but the range of film stock now available in the newer panchromatic was too tempting. (It included Par Speed Portrait, Portrait Pan, and Super Speed Portrait). Panachromatic means "all colors", and indeed this film saw the entire spectrum. The ortho film that Hurrell had used for portraits of Joan Crawford (1930) and Norma Shearer (1930) had made their eyes too pale and their lips too dark. Hurrell took a chance on Par Speed Portrait. He found it's tonal rendering an improvement over the ortho; it gave skin tones a creamy rather than burnished look, as in the Norma Shearer portrait for "Strangers May Kiss" (1931).
Pan Film, introduced in 1928, was easier for both photographer and subject because it was faster than ortho film. This increased sensitivity to light allowed Hurrell to shoot at exposures as short as one second. He couldn't shoot much faster than that, though, because his beloved Verito lens had to be closed down further to get those sharper edges he liked. Instead of using a faster lens, he poured on more light. In order to do that, he adopted a radically new lighting scheme. With it's innovation, he began his third period of artistic development."
It seems that after about 1931, Hurrell switched film types and went away from Ortho film. At that time, he also changed his approach to lighting (using higher powered lights) and started using a 16" Goerz Celor lens at least for some of his work. So it looks like at that time, he was less worried about the film type and more worried about light and lenses than before.
Did a quick search and found http://www.thestarlightstudio.com/hhppage.htm
Imagine my surprise when scrolling down the page I see Hurrell using "my" 4x5 camera.
What does strike me is that he went through phases driven by both prudence/practicality (working through the stuff he had on hand and as it seems was typical until recently, using a very limited stable of lenses) and by taking advantage of improvements in the tools available as the old film ran out.
I do agree fully that the light and lenses had to be of primary concern, the lighting choice does seem driven by practicality as much as anything, the constraints the slow films imposed had to make it tough for both Hurrell and his subjects.
It really is a luxury to be able to shoot at 1/400th with bright strobes and faster films.
Pan film wasn't introduced in 1928. Maybe it's a particular pan film Hurrell settled on?
Stieglitz needed pan film for his equivalents/songs of the sky series which started in 1923.
wikipedia claims pan plates were commercially available in 1906.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panchromatic_film also claims kodak's ortho motion picture film was discontinued in 1930. Perhaps Hurrell wanted to use the same film characteristics as would be used in the motion pictures his subjects would be better known in? Perhaps he was forced to change because of this?