Friday, July 3, 2009

Inspirations #11: Warhol

Gale Smith, 1978, Andy Warhol

When I was a senior in college I found a book at the Whitney Museum in New York that I became fascinated with. Andy Warhol: Portraits of the 70s. It was the companion book to the exhibit at the Whitney several years earlier. In particular, the image of Gale Smith reminded me of my girlfriend at the time, Sharon.

As I had started working with a 4x5" camera at this time I wondered what would happen if I shot with litho (film that printers used to make plates for printing presses) film. Litho film is inherently high-contrast but it can be tamed to a certain extent by use of low-contrast developers. So, I asked Sharon if she would pose for me and she agreed. I developed the film in Dektol, Kodak's basic print developer. The negative is high-contrast but still has a soft edge to it. I made a print on Grade 5 paper and hand colored it using food coloring and PhotoFlo. The result is below.

Sharon, 1982, Richard M. Coda

Now, this is SO easy to do in Photoshop or Photo Booth today that it's not even worth mentioning, but it was fun way back when.

When school was out I asked my brother and sisters if they would pose for me so I could do something similar as part of a gift to our parents. Below is the result.

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