Yesteryear as Tomorrow

Nostalgia seems to be the order of the day in the art and fashion world. Everywhere I look things are so retro it appears we are accelerating forward into the past. Fashion cycles are so common that speaking about them has become a cliché, but these retro things seem to have legs, due partly I suppose to the fluidity and impermanence of the present.

Or the oft-repeated lament that things were so much better in the past.

Maybe they were, but I’m not so sure.

Things were different, but better, for me that’s a tough sell.

When we talk about photography in the past tense it’s usually about film and the special intangible it has, which is true, but then it was also true that to get a good print it needed to be printed on very nice silver rich paper. What’s also true and often forgotten is that the waste from the process was also one of the world’s major water pollutants.

Such is memory.

This picture for all intent and purposes looks like it was shot on film, but it wasn’t.

But it could have been, although it I would have then  needed to get everything right in the camera to be able to print the glowing skin tones like you see them.

Today it’s comfortable chairs and glowing screens.

Back then it was darkness, chemical smells and stains and headphones.

Sometimes I miss the way-back-when, but not at this moment in time.

The picture was shot with a large 1200 x 600 cm soft box as the light source. The flash was about 3 meters from the woman, this reduces contrast and eliminates hot spots on the skin. Technically this is due to the Inverse Square Law and this lighting style was very popular in the bygone days of the silver screen and with fine art photographers of the not to distant past.


50mm, f11, 1/100sec, ISO100


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