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Thread: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

  1. #11

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    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Yep—staff of experienced assistants to anticipate your every need.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    Looks like all you need is a Saltzman Studio tripod holding Ansco tailboard, with 5x7 slider, 2 spot lights, 1 bouncing off black flag as bounce card, 1 as hair hair light and 2 big dummy's to hold the backdrop. The rest is all show and no go.

    Oops, I forgot 1 lady movie star dressed to kill.

    Am I missing anything?

  2. #12

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    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Like Peter says, Hurrell had his subjects to come to the shoot without pancake makeup and just eye and lip makeup. If you saw one of his photographs with and without retouching you would be amazed at the difference. Those Hollywood retouchers sometimes had a very "heavy" hand.

    Karsh mostly used a 14" Kodak Commercial Ektar on a Calumet C1 8x10 camera. Commercial Ektars are sharp without being "clinically" sharp. They are definitely not a soft focus lens.

    Like said earlier, both Hurrell and Karsh were masters at lighting but quite different in style. I'm a big fan of both.

  3. #13

    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    The film retouching department and print making department.

    All of these glamor stills made and published as publicity images had their film negatives significantly altered. This note was from a photographer I knew who worked at these studios in Hollywood during this era.

    It was not the lens/film alone that produced these medial images, there was an entire department and crew related to their production.



    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    Looks like all you need is a Saltzman Studio tripod holding Ansco tailboard, with 5x7 slider, 2 spot lights, 1 bouncing off black flag as bounce card, 1 as hair hair light and 2 big dummy's to hold the backdrop. The rest is all show and no go.

    Oops, I forgot 1 lady movie star dressed to kill.

    Am I missing anything?

  4. #14
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Hurrell switched from soft lenses to a sharp Goerz Celor fairly early on. The rest is all lighting, and pencil and knife on the negative. Karsh's Commercial Ektar, as mentioned, is also not a soft lens. Retouching is part of the art.

  5. #15
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    2 big dummy's to hold the backdrop.
    Two big dummies in crisp white shirts, press-pleated trousers and spit-shinned black shoes.

    Dummies? More likely professional photographers collaborating.

  6. #16
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Let's then add the Mad Men who used the images, with their words, to sell us anything and made us fall in love with the 'Look'.

    I still subscribe to W magazine for the photography, as I have since WWD first published it in 1972.

    W also has pretty good Art features once in a while.

    And now it's a miserable APP!

  7. #17

    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Which involves stuff like scraping, pencil action and a lot more.
    The film alterations were not minor, they were a very significant aspect of these images. Much like how Photoshop could be used today.


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    Retouching is part of the art.

  8. #18
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    Two big dummies in crisp white shirts, press-pleated trousers and spit-shinned black shoes.

    Dummies? More likely photographers assisting a friend.
    Jac, I knew somebody would object. I was kidding, but I am sure they felt 'used' as simply backdrop holders. With all that gear, they 'needed' 2 grown, well dressed men to hold a doily? PR shot for sure.

  9. #19
    lenser's Avatar
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    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Strad,

    Here's a run down on some of the "filter" techniques I used on both RB67 and Haselblad lenses back in the portrait studio days.

    All are home made and work very well in their own ways.

    Heavy diffusion: a very small amount of Vaseline or even skin oil from the side of one's nose can be smeared in a circular fashion around the edge of filter (NEVER THE LENS FOR GOD'S SAKE) in to about a half in from the edge to combine both a heavily softened overlay of the sharp center image. In the right light, this also gives a bit of swirly bokah effect to the background.

    Moderate and light diffusion: Two essential ways to approach this. One is the home made Softar style. The Hasselblad Softar filters are essentially plano parallel filters with several raised bumps molded into the plastic to create defocused regions to overlay the sharp areas. The Nikon soft focus filters were of this same style. They could be found in grades one through three for more of the diffusion. Few little bumps on grade one, many on grade three. Do the same general thing by using drops of model airplane cement randomly placed on glass filters. I've made them with the bumps, with a general spiral, and with intersecting lines like an old Kodak diffusion disc. All worked very well indeed.

    The other method is to use black netting (tulle fabric) in one, two or three layers stretched and locked between two filters or mounted on some sort of plastic or cardboard mount and used in your matte box like a Lindhal bellows shade. The netting alone does a good job of general diffusion. Even better is to use something like the end of a lit cigarette in size to burn a few holes through the fabric to allow sharp areas to intrude over the diffused field. Use black netting for low key and white for high key. I think my favorite of those was one with a central hole about the size of a quarter and several smaller holes about the size of a cigarette tip.

    In all cases, on a portrait, have your focus point on the catch lights in the subject's eyes. With diffusion, facial skin can fool you an a good focus point.
    "One of the greatest necessities in America is to discover creative solitude." Carl Sandburg

  10. #20

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    Re: technique to get the "Karsh, Hurrell" look from sharp lenses??

    Quote Originally Posted by kmack View Post
    Try a piece of panty hose stretched over the lens.
    This may be the best answer you get. I can remember portrait photographers in the 40's and 50's who commonly used a piece of hose stretched tightly with a cigarette hole burned in the middle. This gave an underlying sharp image with nice soft flaring. Film is also important. During this period and before, orthochromatic film was much more prevalent than panchromatic. You might try Ilford Ortho. My personal preference is Kodak Ektascan B/RA X-Ray Film, which is a true orthochromatic film and can be handled under a red safelight.

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