Hilarious formal family portrait from the 90s... but how was it made?

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Tom
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I’ve always chuckled at this family photo from 1999 (I’m the one in the cream trousers, green shirt and red dog tie). But what equipment would have been used? Presumable pros were still using film cameras then - Nikon D1 only came out in 1999 and was like, 2mp! - but would it have been 35mm medium format or Large format? And would it have been printed digitally or dark room? It’s got the awful white vignette, which must have been old fashioned even then! It’s on a canvas type thing and fairy large - around A2
 

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Dave
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I like it.... My family also had a similar formal group photo professionally done of us all shortly after my dad received his terminal cancer prognosis (wish we had many others done...).
It's our most valuable photo, even though the curtain background did not entirely cover the studio wall.
 
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Tom Pinchenzo
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most likely medium format, typically a 5x4 crop from square format 120 out of a 'blad / bronny.

if it'd been large format, you'd have remembered the bloke and his antique looking box with the cloak on the back ;)
Cool! Why did they use a square format and crop rather than using 6x7 or 645? And do you reckon it would have been a darkroom print? Did they scan and digitally print before the advent of digital photography?

I’ve got some other awkward studio portraits from a few years later -much more trendy ones though, very high key with a bit too much over saturation of my sisters eyes :ROFLMAO:

Why did they use a square format and crop rather than using 6x7 or 645?
How do you reckon it
 

TheBigYin

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Why did they use a square format and crop rather than using 6x7 or 645?
How do you reckon it
Because the 'blad 500 (and its Japanese cousin the Bronica SQ) was pretty much the workhorse camera of pretty much anyone in the business from the 70's through to digital becoming worthwhile to use back then, capable of shooting weddings on a weekend, and portrait stuff in the studio through the week. Back then product cycles were in decades, not months, so if you bought a 'blad in the 70's, in the late 80's you'd still be holding onto it waiting for those new digital things to get beyond a couple of mega-pixels so you could go with them - same reason that 35mm wasn't in that wide a usage - on film, you weren't likely to be printing much larger than ideally 10x8 from 35mm. Plus, cropping was pretty much a given anyway, as it was largely wet-prints from an enlarger setup.

Digital scanning WAS a thing, but it was largely the province of print magazines and newspapers, and was be ferociously expensive, so generally outside the scope of non commercial projects. That said, the quality from a 10x8 transparency, drum scanned was absolutely INCREDIBLE - and was quite a kick when you saw something you'd done in a proper glossy magazine... Especially if you'd shot two frames and retained one of them so you'd got your own miniature stained glass window...
 

Nod

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There may well be a stamp or sticker on the back of the print, with the photographer's details on it and they might still be alive and even in business. If they're still around (and a local studio), it might be worth having a chat (once the situation allows!)
 
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I shot family portraits on 645 for years in the early and mid 90’s, and there were others shooting on 67 too.

It’s true to say that most photographers used square format but certainly not all.
 

TheBigYin

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to be honest Phil, I'm Just going on what I experienced in the 80's and early 90's - I think out of 8-9 working guys I knew, all bar one were shooting predominately 6x6 for their 120 - there was one guy who did a lot of studio stuff who used a mamiya RZ67 i think, and I'll admit, most of the studio bound guys I knew were also spending quite a lot of time shooting product shot stuff rather than just people - but that might have been the fact that I got nattering with most of them over at the labs in Leeds who tended to work more with commercial shooters. (i forget the labs name tbh - hell it's been 30 years... was up somewhere past Yorkshire Television going out towards Kirkstall)
 
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We had one done at a similar time, it was a gift from Cubley's of Ainsdale (Southport Saab dealer) and the photographer used an RB67 - we would talk Mamiyas.....

It's a very dated photograph I have to admit..
 
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6 x 6 was a popular choice because nearly all cameras using this format were either single or twin-lens reflexes with waist-level finders. Pentaprisms were available but were very expensive.
It was easy to use a waist-level finder in its normal position and then crop afterwards, but a rectangular format was virtually impossible in portrait mode - bring the camera up to eye level , turn it on its side and try to compose with an image that's both upside down and back to front - fun in the American sense of the word, not in the British sense:)

Personally though I moved on from 6 x 6 and had a Mamiya RZ67, which solved the problem with a rotating back, and which produced much higher image quality because of the lack of cropping.
 
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to be honest Phil, I'm Just going on what I experienced in the 80's and early 90's - I think out of 8-9 working guys I knew, all bar one were shooting predominately 6x6 for their 120 - there was one guy who did a lot of studio stuff who used a mamiya RZ67 i think, and I'll admit, most of the studio bound guys I knew were also spending quite a lot of time shooting product shot stuff rather than just people - but that might have been the fact that I got nattering with most of them over at the labs in Leeds who tended to work more with commercial shooters. (i forget the labs name tbh - hell it's been 30 years... was up somewhere past Yorkshire Television going out towards Kirkstall)
Having worked in a photographic wholesalers from 79 - 90 we had a large number of photographers as clients who used Hasselblads, but equally as many using Mamiya RB/RZ67’s and Bronica SQ/SQA,ETRS and Mamiya 645’s. Admittedly this was t a big city, but Cambridge, but I know our sales figures were pretty good for a single dealer, unlike KJP & P&C
 
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I used a mamiyaflex c330 ( pretty sure that was the model number) due to the fact it took interchangeable lenses ,think I had 3 a wide /standard /and tele set .awesome photos from it but hell of a weight to lug around . Also had a rolleiflex I aquired in a deal but I wanted it for colour work and it imparted a pink tinge to everything . . Divorce caused the majority of things to disappear including boxes of prints,negs enlarger etc the bitch even got rid of prizes I had won at school ,
 
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I used a mamiyaflex c330 ( pretty sure that was the model number) due to the fact it took interchangeable lenses ,think I had 3 a wide /standard /and tele set .awesome photos from it but hell of a weight to lug around . Also had a rolleiflex I aquired in a deal but I wanted it for colour work and it imparted a pink tinge to everything . . Divorce caused the majority of things to disappear including boxes of prints,negs enlarger etc the bitch even got rid of prizes I had won at school ,
Even in the 80’s I was selling quite a lot of C3/33/330 Mamiya’s for weddings they were ideal
 
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Digital scanning WAS a thing, but it was largely the province of print magazines and newspapers, and was be ferociously expensive, so generally outside the scope of non commercial projects. That said, the quality from a 10x8 transparency, drum scanned was absolutely INCREDIBLE - and was quite a kick when you saw something you'd done in a proper glossy magazine... Especially if you'd shot two frames and retained one of them so you'd got your own miniature stained glass window...
What a lovely thought.

I think I want some! :D
 
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there was definitely something satisfying about throwing a 10x8" tranny onto the lightbox and just seeing the whole thing glowing with life and colour.
That's something I've sadly never experienced.
There were downsides too. Polaroids were a quick and simple process in smaller sizes, but a bit of a nightmare in 10 x 8. And the technical costs were very high, so mistakes were expensive. And the process was very, very slow too.
 

TheBigYin

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oh, i forgot about polaroids - yeah - work of the devil those things - handy to get the clients art director off your back for 5 minutes, but otherwise a pita
 
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oh, i forgot about polaroids - yeah - work of the devil those things - handy to get the clients art director off your back for 5 minutes, but otherwise a pita
Depends - the pro wholesaler I worked for won awards from Polaroid regularly for the amount we shifted. One commercial client used about 20 boxes of the type 52 B&W 5"x4" a week! plus colour, B&W neg, so we loved the stuff!
 
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Depends - the pro wholesaler I worked for won awards from Polaroid regularly for the amount we shifted. One commercial client used about 20 boxes of the type 52 B&W 5"x4" a week! plus colour, B&W neg, so we loved the stuff!
5 x 4 were a piece of cake, a delight to use and made a real contribution to profits - but 10 x 8 were very different, they had to be processed separately.

And, to take this thread even further off-topic, when I started out as a trainee we didn't even have polaroids (they did exist but only for amateur folding cameras). We used sheets of bromide paper which, when developed, gave us a negative image that did the job, allowing for the massive sensitivity difference.
 
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