This is a frame from a 35mm portrait sitting. I'm sure I used a 90mm or 105mm lens to take the image. I don't remember what camera it came from and I don't really care. At the time I was experimenting in the darkroom with a technique that involved the use of a device called a Pictrol. You used it in between the enlarging lens and your printing paper. Was essentially an iris with bubbly, distorted, plastic blades that could be dialed in or out making sections of the print softer or even haloed. Used to aggressively it destroyed all the sharpness in a printed image. Used with discretion it took the edge off the details and made for very flattering skin tones. The shadows would "bleed" into the highlights and the effect was also one of cutting down highlights that were printing too bright.
Given that I was actively reducing sharpness and contrast in pursuit of a specific kind of image, to speak about the pristine and scientific qualities of whatever lens I was using seems... churlish.
What I like about the photograph is the calm and direct engagement that Michelle gives the camera, and by extension, me. I also like, from a design point of view, the exquisite contrast between the light skin tone, her white tank top and the inky dark shadows to one side. The result of one big light used at what I considered to be just the right angle.
Even before PhotoShop existed photographers have manipulated their images to fit their vision. Especially in the black and white darkroom.
This is my Pictrol (which stands for Pictorial Control).
I couldn't bear to get rid of it when I closed
Interestingly enough, it fits on the front of my Olympus
45mm 1.8 lenses. I'll have to do some portraits with that.....