1.16.2014

Once On This Island. With a Hasselblad....


I can hardly believe that we used to shoot show promotions in the studio with a Hasselblad. We'd shoot ten or fifteen or twenty rolls of 120mm film to get the images we wanted. If you look at the background of this image the curtain on the right side of the image had its own lighting while the three colors on the far background were made with three more flash heads covered with filter gels, firing through tight spot grids, and we had several lights on the subjects in the foreground. 

Twenty rolls of film with development would cost about $400 if you threw in the cost of Polaroid test materials. Wow. That's real skin in the game.

What did it buy us? At the time it was the only way to do the process and it bought us marketing impressions and ticket sales. But looking back and seeing the images again I can see that it (shooting medium format transparency films) brought us smooth, deep and believable skin tones, the likes of which I rarely see today. 

What have we lost? I'll leave that up to your imagination. The race to the greatest economic efficiency doesn't always have clear cut winners...

4 comments:

Kaspar said...

Thank you, Kirk! I love those pictures and it is interesting to learn about the workflow of a professional photographer using film. When you look for cameras on ebay or search for pictures on Instagram, film photography and especially medium format photography experience a big comeback these days.

James Pilcher said...

I continue to read that, even with todays digital backs, the MF claim to fame is a smoother gradation of tones than any smaller sensor or film format can deliver. The problem: I can remember not that long agon when the cost of entry to the film MF game was $3000 for a Hasselblad and lens; less for Pentax and Mamiya. Today digital can be $40,000 for the back alone; less for Pentax. So, you are correct. We've lost something, if for no other reason than the economics of superior digital imaging.

Would the results be as satisfying with a Sony RX10?

Andrew Middleton said...

Which film stock was used for this photo?

Kirk Tuck said...

Fujichrome 100.