Love and Photography

Love and Photography

The beautiful and slightly strange

11 October 2013

Revisiting older works often have that “wow, look how far I’ve come” feel. Occasionally you unearth a gem.

For me, one of the things I’ve always admired about photographers (like Sarah Moon, for an example) is the ability to use the medium in a painterly way. I have also had a long time love affair with actually painting on the photographs themselves, trying just about everything to imbue a b&w photo with that painterly quality: acrylics, food coloring, tea and coffee tinting, water colors, and of course, the popular Marshall’s photo oil paints and pencils.

It wasn’t an effort ever made to disguise a photograph as a painting. Transparent oil color could be used to create a vintage mood in a modern day photo. It could guide the viewers eye to certain elements of the image (look, selective color wasn’t totally overdone in those early photoshop days), or influence the overall mood portrayed in the picture.

After I finished college I was lucky to find a part time position hand coloring images for a childrens portrait photographer. A woman in her seventies worked there too, and told me some wonderful stories about the Goode Olde days before the widespread use of color film. She worked full time as a hand colorist for portrait studios, as did many young women of that era I was told. What I learned from her was invaluable, and I still enjoy hand coloring b&w prints the old fashioned way.

This particular image was made on a 4×5 b&w negative. It was printed on emulsion coated canvas and hand painted. Today I took it out of a portfolio box, rephotographed it, and added some texture I created in photoshop. I’m quite pleased with the result-more than 10 years after it was originally created.