Louis Trocciola :: Phototrope Studio :: Leaving The Station Photo Blog

December 13, 2008

I Digress – From The Archive – Homeless In Midtown

Homeless In Midtown, NYC

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In the days before Photoshop, when shooting 35mm film was standard, I was always looking for ways to alter images in camera. Not being a darkroom kind of guy, I was on a mission to make my images look like paintings. I tried many different techniques, but I always started with Kodachrome 64, possibly the best film ever made, imo. It’s a shame that Kodak couldn’t find a way to keep that filmstock viable…but that’s another story. Anyway, one of my favorite techniques to try and turn an image “painterly” was to employ very slow shutter speeds [anything <= 1/30 of a second], shooting at the smallest apertures [ f16 – f32] and, rather than attempt to keep the camera still I would use camera movement to intentionally blur a scene. The trick was, of course, to learn how much camera movement to use at which shutter speeds and to understand that the necessary camera movement, to create the right blur, was usually a lot less than initially thought . Ultimately,  I wanted to blur a scene without removing all detail. I wanted just enough blur to give the impression that there were paint strokes in the image. There was lots of trial and error with this technique, and in the days of film, you really wouldn’t know the results for at least 24-48 hours.  “Homeless In Midtown” was always one of my favorites. It showed the horror of being homeless while not completely invading the privacy of the subject.

This image is from a scanned Kodachrome 64 slide, shot over 30 years ago. Click image for larger view.

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