View Full Version : Paul Strand's lens?

2-Feb-2005, 10:04
Does anybody know what focal length lens Paul Strand used on his 5x7 Graflex? TIA.

Donald Brewster
2-Feb-2005, 11:00
According to Richard Benson in the book "Paul Strand - His Life and Work," Strand used a 12" Dagor on both his 5x7" and 8x10" cameras exclusively (or nearly so).

Kevin Crisp
2-Feb-2005, 16:50
There's something to think about next time you think you need another lens.

Peter Collins
2-Feb-2005, 19:36
Kevin's pithy sentence reminds us it's about great vision and seeing....

2-Feb-2005, 19:55
Ya next time you think you need a new lens get a new format camera instead-)

Ernest Purdum
2-Feb-2005, 20:32
I'm not sure how serious Nick is in his comment, but I think there is a great deal to be said for reducing backs. They are very much cheaper than lenses.

2-Feb-2005, 20:38
It's your vision, not the millimeters. What does Sally Mann do with broken, poorly-corrected cast offs? If your technique matches your vision, the tools don't mater.

3-Feb-2005, 06:50
I was 50% joking. 50% serious. A reducing back is a lot cheaper then a new set of lenses. Even a whole camera can be cheaper then new lenses. All my lenses do double duty on 4x5/5x7. Now that I've got an 8x10 coming some will be doing tripple duty.

Paddy Quinn
23-Feb-2005, 13:45
I was interested to discover recently that Strand apparently had no qualms about manipulating his negatives/plates using reducer and opaque - removing unwanted figures or other aspects of a scene, or in some, adding details which he felt improved the composition.

23-Feb-2005, 14:30
I know about the deletion of everything up to whole figures, but can you fill me in on where/what he added?

Paddy Quinn
23-Feb-2005, 15:24
I'm trying to remeber where I clipped it from:

"In 1983, working on the introduction to an Aperture limited edition
re-issue of Paul Strand's 1913-1917 gravures, I noticed some things in
the pictures I thought Strand never would have done. So I went to the
Strand archives in Millerton, NY and looked at the glass plate negatives
and the gravure plates.

In the well known picture of people strolling through a park, seen from
above, Strand removed a dark figure from the picture. How? He used
opaque to bring the density of the figure on the negative up to that of
the adjacent sidewalk.

In a street photograph he used reducer to draw in a manhole cover and some other street detail.

In a 1916 portrait he used opaque again, this time to increase the
negative density in lettering on a sign behind the subject. In the print
the effect of this is to make the letters not more more but less
legible; more visual than verbal; more abstract."

Ken Lee
23-Feb-2005, 17:00
Looking at many of his portraits, I get the impression that he may have used bleach or reducing agent, to augment the tones on people's faces. Since most of the portraits are taken in shade, I find it surprising to see so much variation in skin tones. It's OK with me. Photography is, after all, "painting with light".