Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Color Oblivion?

I've been taking photographs for round about 35 yrs now, pretty much whenever I can- time wise, money wise, etc, etc... I don't kid myself about my "legacy," but I think I managed to hit a few, meager high notes along the way. As for what it's all worth, well, that's another bag o' beans- and probably worth as much...

And though I've certainly enjoyed playing around with an SX-70 on occasion, one thing's for sure, my forte, if any, certainly aint color. But when I heard that Rayko was going to have a show featuring Kodachrome imagery, my thoughts turned to my one and only photo in my "official" print portfolio that, well, just happens to be color. Finally, she would make her debut after all these long and many years (and I think you know where this is going)... only to find she had, alas, faded into yellow oblivion. The fact that she was sitting pretty in my acid free Spink & Gaborc did little to save her.

Nevertheless, through the miracle of digital technology (and the fact that the K64 chrome hasn't itself succumbed that much to the years)- I'll just take the opportunity to debut her here after some 32 years (as close as someone who knows nothing about color can match it to the original)...

 Dolly, 1978 

All this, of course, begs the much larger question- what, oh what, has happened (is happening) to all those huge fine art color prints in the hands of museums, galleries and collectors from the late'70s, '80s and '90s before the advent of digital pigment prints? 
  
I'm not exactly privy to the on goings of the fine art photography world, so I can only assume that this is a problem that has already been confronted and thus resolved (in a just and logical manner, no doubt... uh huh), or that it is an ongoing problem that few wish to openly discuss. Like I said, I have no idea. Perhaps:
  1. The artist supplies his gallery with free pigment replacements for faded prints, and the galleries in turn supply buyers with said free replacements- (can you read that with a straight face?)
  2. Replacements are supplied at modest moderate cost (like... Photoshop updates. Yeah, doubt that too)
  3. Caveat Emptor! Didn't you ever read the small print on the little snapshot envelopes back in the day- color dyes fade with time. Same shit; you lose Sucka! (that sounds about right).  
So have all concerned calmly taken their faded investments in stride as just another day's lesson learned? Just askin'...

5 comments:

Eric Rose said...

Gorgeous shot Stan. So who is this lovely gal and what is she doing today? Any updated photos of her?

I have some very close friends who have been in the wedding portrait business for over 20 years and do lovely work. All of their images have been printed on conventional photo papers. I wonder if they will be getting calls for replacement prints in the near future?

The sad thing is they still think conventional prints are the best and refuse to use any type of digital output. Even though they shoot digitally now.

I HUSTLE AND OTHER THINGS said...

what a timeless beauty;)

Stan B. said...

Thank you, gentlemen. She was a neighborhood gal from back in the day and not quite sure what she's up to these days.

I very much lucked out that rainy day- no false modesty. Getting a good portrait is relatively easy, getting an exceptional one, harder than hell- and I got the failures to prove it.

As for the faded color art prints of yesteryear- seems to be the photo art world's embarassing non topic...

Mark Page said...

Lovely Lovely Shot Stan. I love my Epson R2880 printer together with some heavy weight Acid free museum papers. I also think that I have had a steeper learning curve what with colour management etc than I ever had in a 'Darkroom', But the steam train enthusiasts will still argue the toss....

Stan B. said...

No doubt that digital (particularly with the advent of pigment inks) has been a godsend for color. I can't give an adequate assessment about digital B&W for the simple reason that I have such little hands on experience with it from start to finish. Probably just a question of time- or maybe already there for those attuned enough to the technology... either way, don't have the resources to find out.