Old work surfaces from boxes and prompts another look. Seemingly at random, flipping through boxes, I pull prints out to place on the studio table. Just what strikes me, without seeming reason or awareness.
This time, I’ve put them into ‘method’ or ‘mindset’ groups. Several of these are from 1970; none are more recent than 2017. The oldest are the figures, which I saw/see as more line than life, although the model probably felt, even feels, differently about.
This slide set is given the same treatment, but subject makes them different, even out of place. A disrupted set.
the second show is all treated the same, but the imagery is such that a mindset is applied.
with color we gain another factor; is it a palette being worked, or is it some element of shape that makes the folio from the box. Notice the blue; bold, or very subtle (hiding in the black).
None of these are finished; worked out. They are being worked on. There are also about 8 orphans on the table that haven’t been posted.
Back in the day of dye transfer, photography was a trade taught in the US Miitary as well as private trade schools, many of which gladly accepted GI Bill tuition payments.
Large labs, processing hundreds of prints a week, divided the work into skill layers. As someone improved they were assigned to other tasks. Prove yourself often enough and you will have made it to a secure will paid career.
jobs. skills. steps
- load film, clean, mop
- soup film
- mix chemcials for lab
- make masks/seps
- make mats
- manage dyes and do rollup
The last task is key to the final result: rollup. This is primarily autographic; skill of hand, eye, timing with feedback. All the previous steps come together well, or the print fails.
Most of those who fail at dye transfer do so because they lack courage. They make the task harder than it is. Not even rollup is difficult, just needing attention.
Anyone who can teach dye, can teach anyone who can learn, in about 45 hours. This assumes you can get film in and out of a camera, and in and out of chemicals.
The hardest part about dye transfer was those who sold their weekend teaching skills to timid camera counter conversationalists.
Kodak’s Frank McLaughlin used to take people through the steps over the telephone. That’s how hard it was.