One of my favorite photograph wasn’t shot by me. I got a job from someone wanted to print some old negatives on Craigslist. I wasn’t going to do it at first, but with a little persuasion from my friend Joe, he said “what do you have to lose?”. Jim turned out to be an excellent client unlike most people. He asked me to clean up the negatives if possible, print about 30 5×7 or smaller prints (contact prints for odd size negatives) And he came back and get couple 8x10s on the second time, and everything was done via mail. When I received the negatives there were about 30 in the package, they weren’t in bad shape, but I decided to re wash them anyways. It came with assorted sizes, 120/620, 127, and some Kodak folder ones. They all look really interesting to begin with, my guess would be from the 30s to 50s, all kinds of different scene, but mainly people. I didn’t discover this gem until I spent 8 hours in the darkroom printing 5x7s. I regret I did not keep an 8×10 for myself, but then, it’s unethical without asking for permission. But since I printed it, I took the liberty to scan the print for my own viewing pleasure. I wasn’t going to share this with anyone, but then it’s a shame not to do so.
One of the best photograph I’ve ever seen and printed. This is a scan from an 8×10 printed by an Omega B-22 on Kodak Matte VC expired 1965 (Printed this year – 2010) with Dektol. The negative seems to be either 620 or 120, there were not marking on the frames to tell what kind of film it is. As far as I remember I found the best way to print this was not using any contrast filters. This scan highly resemble the tonality on my original print. I spent quite some time to get this one right, there were no burning or dodging required. The only thing I did was to put the negative upside down, so the print is actually mirrored. I asked Jim about the story on this photo later on, here is his reply from an email.
“I think it is a photo of my Brother shot in Seattle in the late 1940’s. Photographer is unknown to me, it was a very close-knit apartment building where everyone knew and helped each other.”
While we’re at it, I’m going to show you another scan.
It wasn’t as perfect as the last one, and I think this is a scan from, not the final print, but nonetheless the vibe of the print is excellent. Printed on the same paper and enlarger as mentioned above, and once again, the edges has no markings, this could well be from the same roll of film, but I am not 100% sure. As far as I remember the final print should have less contrast.
We do not know who the photographer was. Later on Jim hinted that It wasn’t a rich people area. All I can tell is, this is taken on 120/620 6x6cm, judging by how sharp the objects are, it should not be a fixed focus camera, now we’re starting to narrow it down a little bit. If it’s not a rich folks area, this ‘shouldn’t’ be a Rolleiflex, Ikoflex, Super Ikonta. And ‘IF’ it’s not a fixed focus camera, that would mean they are not from a Kodak Duraflex or similar cameras. So, what is it? Is it something like an Argoflex, Isolette, Ricohflex, or some awkward folders? Judging by the second photograph, the photographer wouldn’t have time to meter the scene, so it’s either pre-metered or he’s just that good. My point is, I already established that these 2 photographs are incredible and so as the photographer. But if he indeed used something like an inexpensive Argoflex to produce these results, why are you bitching about your camera for? – Technology has little to no meaning.