Kodachrome Portraits from WW2

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by John Seaman, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. You'll find some other interesting large-format Kodachromes at this site (and elsewhere on the internet). I want a time machine so I can date #36.
  2. I was not critiquing the look of the linked photos. I was visually describing how surprisingly bad the color since I've seen better on Shorpy and there is a reason folks like Kodachrome because of its CONSISTENTLY BEAUTIFUL, VIBRANT COLOR PALETTE as Paul Simon's song describes and evident on Shorpy's site.

    Those in the link are clearly shot with studio lighting which suggests there should be more of a consistency across all of them but it appears as if each were shot lit through a variety of colored filters.

    Thanks for the interesting reply and all those questions my point didn't address. I don't know what 4x5 Kodachrome should've looked like back then. Only what I've seen on Shorpy's site much of which are from US Library Of Congress archives.
  3. You are very welcome.
    Enjoy the photos, they are a small piece of a Big History. :)
  4. The Shorpy pictures are definitely more stunning, - more artistic. The lighting is well done. In these pictures the lighting is uneven and not necessarily flattering. The colors seem muted which might have been intentional given the subject matter, but maybe not.

    In a way though, the flaws make the people more real. When you see pictures in B&W from this era, the people come across as historical figures. These pictures are more like somebody you could run into on the street or look like an aunt or uncle you may remember. In lots of the Shorpy photos, the people are like props.
  5. They were shot by Kodak's head photo finishing department technician.

    "The photographs were taken by John Cyril Redhead, who headed up Kodak’s Photo Finishing department in Harrow, north-west London, using the then-revolutionary Kodachrome."

    I suspect the person who scanned these didn't put much effort in processing and most likely didn't use a custom color profile. I could be wrong since I don't have the originals to compare, but what I see in those shots I could fix pretty quick in a digital image editor. I mean if I can teach myself to fix the color in the portrait below, I don't see why a paid scanning technician couldn't do as well on those Kodachromes.

  6. Nice editing Tim. Cute kid. I'm sure the family loved how it came out. I worked on some of my old slides and photos from 30-40 years ago and longer. I was happily surprised how well the Epson V600 scanner did in auto color correction bringing back all the bright tones and colors. Even eliminated some of the creases and wrinkles on the photos.
  7. How was that scanner and its auto color correction at reproducing Kodachrome slides?

    Thanks for the comments on the "Cute kid" restoration.
  8. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    Very impressive work!
  9. Tim, I think you did a really nice job and that most family members and people who know the girl would find your reworking a really nice refinement. I do as well. Assuming this is a photo you took or of someone you know/knew, and that you were doing the post processing for more than just an exercise, there's one area I'd bring to your attention before finalizing it or making a print, which is under her eye. What would you think of a little more blending of skin tone to avoid the blotchiness that resulted from the shadow under her eye in the original? There's a distinct jagged line on that whole side of her cheek from red to more flesh-color that might be finessed to a better-looking result. But in terms of your technical concerns in the thread, great job.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
  10. Not sure if you're making a note to alert me of my tone in this thread as some kind of teaching moment that I didn't ask for, Fred. I mean I didn't ask for a critique or pointers on how to post process the image I posted. I can't tell if you're just being tone deaf yourself about my points regarding why the Kodachromes in the OP's link aren't as wonderful as others claim. I've been made very aware over the years of the love of the look of this film stock only to find an article stating how wonderful it looks when it doesn't and the person (scanner operator, publicist or editor) who would post these portraits as presented tells me someone didn't care or doesn't have a clue what looks good.

    Don't know if you're aware of this, Fred, but I'm pretty hip to a lot of stuff about life and how to treat people and what is fair. And my views about the use of the internet are that this is not the best way to socialize with strangers in order to get to know them. This is not a real relationship. IMO the internet is mainly a venue to exchange views and information that people must first ask for. I didn't ask you for post processing pointers, Fred, so now I'm wondering what your intent behind what you wrote was for. It's obvious I didn't post it for your approval, but you put it out there anyway.

    As for the OP's posting the link to the Daily Mail article it is assumed that he wanted to start a conversation and get thoughts from others that aren't your run of the mill Facebook "Great post, nice find" type of boring answers. Ever get a Facebook alert from family or friends that's just a long list of "Happy Birthday" one liners filling up the FB timeline that almost scrolls on to infinity? It's a waste of technology IMO and I'm not here to waste my time answering to your BS, Fred.
  11. Thanks for the compliment, Sandy, but that's not why I posted the image.
  12. Tim, I'm not on Facebook so I can't speak to anything about Facebook. But I agree that I assumed the OP wanted more than a run-of-the-mill "great post, nice find." That's exactly what I was offering you. My only intent was to offer a helping hand because I thought maybe you hadn't noticed something and might appreciate the detail being pointed out. I didn't expect my hand to get swatted, but that's fine. It's the risk I take when engaging people whether on the Internet or anywhere else. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
  13. I didn't ask for it, Fred, and it's off topic and has nothing to do with the Kodachromes in the OP's linked article.
  14. Tim, this is the last thing I’ll say on the matter. The OP didn’t ask for you to show an example of how you would process a Kodachrome photo. Nevertheless, a generosity of spirit and I imagine some other well-meaning factors motivated you to show these examples. I know I and I'm sure many others here appreciated that gesture. Up until tonight, I had no problem at all with your tone and thought all your points were valid and clearly stated. I'm sure you're hip to how to treat people, but you may have blown it on this particular night.
    denny_rane likes this.
  15. I think I made it perfectly clear my intentions behind posting the post processing example. It doesn't require your analysis of my spirit.

    Folks who are in publishing such as those that made the OP's article have access to a lot of resources and should've known better. Doing a simple search on what's available concerning the look of Kodachromes makes it quite clear. Tons of gorgeous Kodachromes online especially on Pinterist and Instagram.

    I can only surmise that that site quickly throws together articles as click bait. Just found out today the "Daily Mail" has a TV show that's pretty much an "Extra" style entertainment news magazine.

    And I don't need you to reply to this statement since you warned me it's the last you're going to say about it. I'm going to hold you to it.
  16. I, too, think the shots are great and very reminiscent of the color I got from my years of K64 and K25. But it is interesting how some flesh is very yellow, whereas some is very pale. I assume this may be due to aging, or the light source. MBW looks great and rather formidable too - just as one would expect. I greatly appreciate seeing them.
    denny_rane likes this.
  17. Mr. Lookingbill...

    I took my first Kodachrome pictures in the late 1930s. I also took a few, but very few during WWII (I was busy with other things like that pesky war). All were processed in the USA. Each batch seemed to look a little different. I only took one large format 4x5 photo. Most were taken on 35mm rolls with an Argus AF.

    At one time I had a number of them posted on Photonet, all stateside, ie. no grizzly war stills. I had to remove them because many viewers claimed they were warlike or whatever, like the one with me in uniform holding my young son’s hand on a public sidewalk. It must have been that darned uniform! I moved them to another site but the rules do not permit me to refer them to you so you can see the different hues.

    A. T. Burke

  18. Post them.

Share This Page