Sunday, July 27, 2008

Outer Banks, Time Exposure of Shells

Click the image above to get a larger view

OBX Shells

The cottage we stay at Avon, on the North Carolina Outer Banks, is obviously a popular rental for parents of young children. We found these shells and other found items from the beach carefully arranged between two panels of boardwalk leading from the house. The pink plastic bracelet probably wasn’t from the beach.

This was shot at night, on Fuji NPX-160 film, using a Rapid-Omega 100 camera with Koni-Omega 60 mm lens. The 6X7 cm negative was scanned. This was a time exposure, determined by the amount of time it took to paint the subject with light from a small flashlight. As you can tell from the shadows, the flashlight was mostly used from the right side, although the boardwalk was lit with it from above.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Robert Frank, Ruth Orkin, Young Photographers Award - Life Magazine

I’m a bit of a “collector” of old Life Magazines. Collector is in quotes because I don’t collect them in the usual sense. I buy ones covering interesting time periods, or ones that have unusual photographs. The way in which events are described and photographed are often as telling as the stories and images themselves. The biases and culture of the time are revealed. Oddly enough, sometimes the advertising can reveal how different people were.

Recently I picked up one from November 26th, 1951, which had the results of the “Young Photographers Contest.” The second and third prize winners were none other than Robert Frank and Ruth Orkin.
A bit surprising to find them in Life, but they certainly were both among the most interesting photographers of the era. One of the frequently quoted quotes of Frank appeared in this Life Magazine; "When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice." Robert Frank, LIFE (26 November 1951).

It was Ruth Orkin that I was most familiar with, since my Daughter and Son-in-Law had a wall size poster of “An American Girl in Italy.”

In this photograph, a pretty woman is walking through a group of men in Italy on a street corner. Her face is contorted in disgust as two of the men clutch their pants suggestively, while the others appear to be calling out to her. I read later that this was a friend of Orkin’s who she asked to walk down the sidewalk so she could get a photograph. The expressions really convey everything immediately.
The other photograph of hers that intrigued me was “Comic Book Readers.” In this case it’s the rapt attention of the children who have obviously been transported into another world.

Robert Frank is better known, and his book The Americans is perhaps what he is best known for. The photo I linked to is one of my favorites. I won’t attempt to interpret this photo, but I do like how the figure on the right loses identity to the waving flag.

I bought the magazine just based on the cover, and had no idea these two photographer were amongst the winners until I started paging through it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Board Walk, The Outer Banks of North Carolina

Click above for a larger image

This is another photograph in which the image was formed during a time exposure by “painting” light with a flashlight. It was taken on wooden walks constructed as a path through the dunes, in the Outer Banks.

This is the side of the dunes facing away from the ocean, where the growth can get dense.

In this case, the flashlight, taped over with black tape with the exception of the front, was used within the frame to add very directional light to the boards. As long the front of the light is kept pointing away from the lens, and the light is kept moving, its image will not show on the film. I also used it sparingly to keep a darker, shaded look to the image.