The one thing I miss about shooting on film is the various color properties available to you from various manufacturers’ film stocks (i.e. Ilford’s HP5 or Kodachrome or Fuji Velvia). When I happen to drop by flea markets or estate sales, I always make it a point to glance through people’s photograph. I want to enter into their bygone world, and photos are great time capsules that way. One of the things about old photos I love is the truncated color palette; it’s nowhere near as vibrant and rich as what we have today in film stocks or what you can achieve on a digital camera with an overabundance of megapixels.
I have some photos from my friend’s bar in Hollywood, just detail images that are fairly interesting images, mainly due to the super-saturated colors.
Something that is hard to avoid directly with a digital SLR or even a digital Point-n-Shoot. And while my friend’s bar happens to be in the same physical location of an old Hollywood haunt from the 1950s, I wanted my images to invoke that era and which ones are ripe for finding a way to represent the bar through that vintage era skein.
Here’s the same image with the VintageColor Effect (4) used to enhance the photo. Notice the differing, narrower color palette that metamorphoses this super-saturated photo to an unique image.
The hyper blue is still there, but it’s been punctuated with a green tint that happens to reduce the specular quality of the glass. In reducing the glow, we’re not able to see more details through the glass and there’s a discovery of more details in the shadows.
The VintageColor Effect pushes this image’s coloring scheme such that it’s reminiscent of some sort of slide film stock from the 50s and 60s or color Kodak prints that weren’t stored properly and the color has began to shift and fade.
Now it might seem that the overall, final affect I want from the last series of my images that I’ve blogged about have a nostalgic feeling, which I will say is true… and the BeFunky Effect filters do provide that option, that aesthetic… and I think that has to do with the analog nature of pre-digital photography has the tendency to instill a sense of anticipation… what’s the exposure going to look like? How are the colors going to be reproduced and rendered? Those questions are removed from the process with today’s digital cameras and digital workflows.
Again, you can readily see in the below image, after applying VintageColor (1), the intensity of the hyper blue from the fluorescent bar light is muted, and the depths of the shadow detail in more pronounced and give more nuances to the picture.
The recessed lighting is barely visible in the original, yet those lighting fixtures interrupt the deep shadow area and the intermittent spacing of the fixtures breaks up the darkness just enough to create a pattern, a motif that seduces your eyes all the way back to the corner where the “Exit” sign is; which is also muted, yet is more readable.
The VintageColor Effects Filter also subdues the vivid, blood red of that God-knows-what wall installation (and its details are enhanced); this balances out the photo by reducing the high color contrast. In the original, the red is almost garish and it immediately grabs your eye, causing you to skip over the hanging cocktail glasses – the true subject of the photo.
Vintage is an oft-used term these days as people find a different level of respect and craftsmanship & design from products and qualities from 30 or 40 years ago. And it’s no different with the color palettes from those early days of consumer color photography. It brings these photos to life in a much more apparent and powerful way than their original incarnations.