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Thread: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis technique

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    City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis technique

    Hi, I just received this awesome book "City of Shadows - Sydney Police Photographs 1912-1948" and was just wondering if anyone had seen it and had an idea of what process might have been used at the time to achieve it? The portrait images are the ones that really interest me and I like that there seems to be an extremely shallow D.O.F used..

    Here is a link to a few of the images..

    http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/...ey-police.html

    In searching for images I also came across this site which as used current Australian actors to sort of replicate the "look" I guess..

    http://www.theloop.com.au/lukestambo...ns-of-interest

    So I would be completely guessing but it looks like it is shot with a 5x7 format on film? Or would it be some other alternative process? In a lot of the images either one or more people are slightly blurred (motion blur) which suggest either really slow film or another slow process.. Any ideas? Where early forms of black and white film much slower that what we have today?

    I also have his other book called "Crooks Like Us" and found this link to it

    http://www.reportageonline.com/2010/...-in-a-mugshot/

    in it, they state "Crooks Like Us is a collection of glass negatives featuring mugshots taken of criminals in Inner city Sydney in the 1920s."

    I also love how white, the whites in the eyes get, is this a common feature of such a glass negative?

    Ok, thanks so much, look forward to hearing any thoughts anyone has..

    Best Regards

    Mandon

  2. #2
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    I know this sequence was posted before, and I think it includes a link to the Australian repository for those photos.

    These were photos made using available light, either from a skylight or a window. The super-white eyes are an artifact of the emulsion's response curve, from being used in low light, and from just being printed like that. You can get something similar by pushing a film, and then using a dilute developer.

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    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    The super-white eyes are an artifact of the emulsion's response curve, from being used in low light, and from just being printed like that. You can get something similar by pushing a film, and then using a dilute developer.
    That doesn't seem right. How would that work?
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 73:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    My results come from Kodak TMax 400, pushed two or three stops, and developed in Xtol 1:3 for 25 to 30 minutes.

    What happens is that you get a shoulder like Quasimodo and a toe like Peg Leg Pete. I have a scan of a test strip I did. Highlights are OK, mid-tones are falling, and shadows are off a cliff like Disney lemmings. So something absolutely white, like eyes, comes in OK, and everything else is headed downhill.

    On the test strip there's a few squares below middle grey, and that's it.

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    Kirk Gittings's Avatar
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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    a shoulder like Quasimodo and a toe like Peg Leg Pete
    Thanks,
    Kirk

    at age 73:
    "The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
    But I have promises to keep,
    And miles to go before I sleep,
    And miles to go before I sleep"

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    Death Before Digital matthew klos's Avatar
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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    those are plates, not film.

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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    Hi, Thanks so much for the responses! So when you mention that they are plates, what does that actually mean? What was the common practice around that time? Wet Plate? Tintype or something like that? Or is too hard to tell from just looking at the images?

    Ok, thanks again.

    Best Regards

    Mandon

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    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    Glass plates, either wet or dry. Based on the dates they were made, the photographer probably used dry plates. It would be the same emulsion that would be used on celluloid film, it's just on a sheet of glass.

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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    And the plates are likely to have been orthochromatic, not panchro. Try a cyan gel filter to mimic the ortho look.

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    Re: City of Shadows crime photos? Anyone know what technique was used herethis techn

    After having seen "America's Least Wanted" mugshot gallery on Flickr, I wanted to make my own "vintage" mugshot.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/leastwanted/sets/

    "Sliding carriage" split-backs are very common and cheap. For my B&J Grover, I found an affordable 5x7 B&J back on ebay, and a second split 4x5 on LFF from Richard Rankin.

    The two samples shown were on 5x7 HP5 developed normally in HC-110 dil. H, with a coated 135mm/f4.7 Xenar. Lighting was two 60 watt bulbs in cheap reflectors mounted low for the "perp walk" effect.

    I put on a ratty missbuttoned shirt and messed up my hair more than usual...

    Too embarrassed to ask someone else to trip the shutter, so I used a little screw-in self-timer, which went off TOO QUICKLY. In the first attempt, I knocked over one of my lights, and was moving when the shutter went off for the second-half exposure. In the second negative, I did not even make it to the chair for the "profile" half--the black blob on the right is the chair...

    Did these a year ago; will put more effort if I do them again. Maybe even get a blind friend to trip the shutter.






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