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color in old photographs


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#1 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 12:15 AM

Some interesting photos in this Library of Congress exhibit:

http://www.loc.gov/e...ry-exhibit.html

There's something very beautiful about old color processes, faded color, etc. especially when the colors fade evenly, not turn all magenta.
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 12:41 AM

Some interesting photos in this Library of Congress exhibit:

http://www.loc.gov/e...ry-exhibit.html

There's something very beautiful about old color processes, faded color, etc. especially when the colors fade evenly, not turn all magenta.



That is a strange coincidence. I was just browsing that exhibition this morning. I was also looking through the ASC's still photography exhibit, whyich is really quite outstanding. It's located here.
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#3 Tim J Durham

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 10:10 AM

Old Kodachrome slides are one of my favorite photographic "looks". Like any good wine, they really take on a character with age:

http://webapp1.dlib....8&action=browse

The way the reds still pop while the rest fades is very evocative and the demise of the Kodachrome line is
not unlike the Dodgers leaving Brooklyn.
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#4 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 10:36 AM

Some of those photos in your link don't look like Kodachrome, or they look like the early non-3-color Kodachrome, more like a 2-color process (no true blues.)
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 12:21 PM

Hi,

I assume we've all seen the very early Russian RGB stuff?

Phil
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#6 Tim J Durham

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 06:34 PM

Some of those photos in your link don't look like Kodachrome, or they look like the early non-3-color Kodachrome, more like a 2-color process (no true blues.)

The site says they are all Kodachrome:

http://webapp1.dlib....ollOverview.jsp

The Slides series comprises about three cubic feet, or a little more than 14,400 color Kodachrome slides shot from Sep. 3, 1938 to April 20, 1969. The slides have all been removed from Cushman's original slide storage cases and reboxed in Gaylord brand slide file cases. Slides that had originally been glass-mounted were removed and transferred to Wess brand plastic slide mounts.

There is also an archive of the guys notebooks on that site where he lists details about each roll he shot. It starts in 1938 and continues until he died. Interesting reading. I also have a suitcase full of old (mostly) Kodachrome slides my Mom's twin sister took over the years. They go back to the early 1950's. One of these days I'll catalogue and scan them all but that's a major project.

Don't worry, I won't make you guys look at all my old vacation pictures...

Edited by TimJBD, 17 December 2005 - 06:38 PM.

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#7 Joe Taylor

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 06:46 PM

I have a large collection of autochromes. I'd love to find a way to capture that "look" cinematically. I'm sure there's a plugin filter floating around out there that you could apply in Photoshop or FCP.
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#8 Jason Debus

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 06:57 PM

I also discovered this site about a week ago. I think there's about 1600 color photos from that era, 1939-1945. This link has hi-res TIFFs that are 50-200 MB each:

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
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#9 Joe Taylor

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 07:01 PM

That site is amazing. It's really incredible to see early America (1900's that is) in a medium tha tmost are use to seeing only in B&W. I often try to imagine what a period B&W setting would look like if I could travel back in time. I guess for now this is about as close to fantasy as you can get.
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#10 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 17 December 2005 - 08:45 PM

I just bought the companion book to the "Bound for Glory" Library of Congress exhibition and the color reproductions in the book of these old Kodachrome photos are much less faded than what you see on their website, more the way Kodachrome should look.
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