Again, some more exhibition news:
In the 1960’s, color photographic prints were usually made from color negative film, the exposure from a darkroom enlarger on light sensitive paper with dyes so unstable that we all were treated a few years later to the spectacle of hideously purple renditions of ourselves on prom night. But I mostly shot slides which would require a costly film internegative be made to then print to paper. Except for the relatively new but very difficult to use Cibachrome paper, which allowed direct printing from slide to paper. The azo dyes of its thirteen layer emulsion produced a depth and brilliance of color some say is still unmatched today. But oh, the long exposures and reciprocity, high contrast to control, dark shadows almost impossible, and a chemistry to gag on.
Mystic Photo at the Mystic Art Center was actually one of then few exclusively photography juried competitions. I had prints accepted in 1979 and 1981. I began making larger prints that were recognized by Ciba-Geigy in Switzerland as finalists for their International Grant Award. You had to ship them. And these were included in Mystic Photo in 1989.
That’s “Mystic”, as in pizza, in Connecticut, the movie, Matt Damon’s film debut.
Cibachrome was renamed Ilfochrome in 1992 after a change in ownership and discontinued in 2012. The color today in those vintage color photographic prints is as good as when they were made.
That’s “Mystic”, as in the river just north out of Boston, with Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon etc., the 2003 Clint Eastwood movie.
From the introduction to the Crappy Negatives series:
Of course, 45 years ago any serious introduction to the magic of photography began with a developing tank in a darkroom. Thank you Ralph Mercer. But even then with LIFE Magazine predominantly in color, my interest wasn’t great and patience less for the tedium of Ansel Adams’ zone system. All that note taking. Those negatives accumulated slipshod, loose or variously sleeved in what was to become a battered and broken cardboard box, masking taped–up, and too small for its contents. Stuffed on a shelf somewhere. More recently, a free HP flatbed scanner was provided with the new iMac – a good excuse to at least make a digital record. Some negatives were well stuck to their glassines, if that. But the struggling front light low res scans of crappy negatives did occasionally provide an intriguing result. What opportunity would digital provide to control the chaos? Especially tone. Now an archival pigment print. But with some effort, pushing pixels does feel a bit like painting Mudhead portraits for Charles Hawthorne on a Provincetown beach sometime early in the 20th Century.
To see more visit Crappy Negatives on the Reimagine New England website.