Photography questions (pre-digital era)

Discussion in 'Alcala and the Unidentified' started by Donjeta, Mar 23, 2010.

  1. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

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    Who knows about pre-digital photography? What determines if photos come with a black outline, a white outline or without an outline? Is it what kind of camera or what kind of film you use? Could a photographer develop any photograph to have any kind of outline they preferred or was it fixed for you if you bought a certain kind of film?
     
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  3. carbuff

    carbuff Well-Known Member

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    I think the outlines are normally a result of the developing process.
     
  4. sillygilly

    sillygilly New Member

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    There are many techniques to do in the dark room as well as how you light a subject. For instance you could make a silhouette out line of the subject and when you expose the print (not the negative) to the light of the enlarger-the more light that hits the paper the darker it gets-his photographs were mostly color and it is pretty complicated and expensive to process color film and prints. If he was taking advanced photography, color processing and printing, would be a required class.
     
  5. Carolyn H.

    Carolyn H. New Member

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    To me, some of the photos look like slides, some are Polaroids and others appear to be snapshots. It was not unusual for a photographer to preview a pose or lighting with a Polaroid and then make adjustments before starting to shoot professional quality film or slides. Most magazines preferred slides.

    Carolyn H
     
  6. reasypeasy

    reasypeasy Member

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    I had a little Kodak Instamatic 133 camera as a child in the 70s. My father used to send the film off and it would come back as square prints with rounded corners, no border. I suspect the rounded corners were a processing choice, as the negatives were sharply squared.

    http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Kodak_Instamatic_133_Camera
    http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/126_film

    If you look at Alcala's photo of the boyish looking brunette woman examining a camera,

    http://cnnnancygrace.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/00522.jpg

    you can see it is an Instamatic 154, which is listed as using the same film cartridge as mine.

    http://www.camerapedia.org/wiki/Instamatic
     
  7. sillygilly

    sillygilly New Member

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    I agree about the slide requirement by magazines and again, if he were taking classes it would be required to learn the E6 process, to process Ektachrome slide film. (Kodachrome slide film could only be processed at Kodak-this was the preferred film of magazines, the quality is just so much better in reproduction and there was less room for error by the photographer). So, he could process without anyone seeing him if he was using Ektachrome. Another note, processing slides back then was expensive. C41 was/is the color negative and print process, again very expensive to do at home. I wonder if he had a dark room. C41 was only briefly taught in photography school. There are plenty of his photos that are bad and do not reflect thought, ie. under exposure, slow shutter speeds. He did know enough to shoot some with shallow dept of field so the background would be out of focus and hard to identify. Though, it was stated that in some of the photos the victims were passed and posed. I would think those would raise a red flag at a processing facility. A Polaroid camera might be a likely tool for him no negative and snapshots with one would explain the poor image quality. I believe Polaroid prints do not hold up well over time, if the storage building was not temperature controlled they most certainly would have deteriorated rapidly. Yes, I did graduate with a photography degree, 4 years and I've been a professional photographer and darkroom technician for 20 years.
     
  8. sillygilly

    sillygilly New Member

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    OH, and the black outline (around the photo) would be a full frame print, it was very popular as it showed every bit of the image, these would be printed by the person that shot it or a professional lab. The shape of the photos indicates 33mm color negative film, you would have to take slide film out of the card board window or print it manually. Not usually an every day lab option, like the drug store variety that I used when I was 13. If there are any square shots with a black outline, this would be a larger format than 33mm, more like
    2 1/4 format or 2X2. These formats come in all 3 of the color formats (excluding Polaroid) as well as, black and white.
     
  9. Sleuthster

    Sleuthster Well-Known Member

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    Where these pictures developed before LE found them? I thought I had read something that they where still negatives when they found them and then LE had them developed. I'll have to search for this.
     
  10. Sleuthster

    Sleuthster Well-Known Member

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    I found this
    http://www.sfchronicle.us/c/a/2010/03/12/MNBV1CEHPO.DTL
    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2011322181_serialkiller12m.html

    Clip from story....................................

    Ellis said the photographs were developed from negatives found in the storage unit. While two of the subjects were males, the majority were young women, some naked and some engaged in sex acts.

    Do we know when they found the storage unit? I am assuming shortly after his murder arrest in 79 so they still would have been developed some time ago but to me they look like some could have been redeveloped from the negatives more recently.
     
  11. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

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    I still don't quite understand. If LE developed these photos, they probably did it in a pretty automatic fashion making no artistic choices à la "black border works better with this photo than a white border". Why did some of the pictures turn up with a black outline and some with a white?
     
  12. sillygilly

    sillygilly New Member

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    I would think that they cropped (cut out) parts of the images for obvious reasons, hence, white boarders and did full frame for any identifying information in the back ground?
     
  13. Donjeta

    Donjeta Adji Desir, missing from Florida

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    No, I don't think so because the obviously cropped nude shots don't have the white and black borders I'm talking about. The bordered photos are for the most part innocent looking, posed shots with clothes on, and they're of uniform, standard shape, not irregular like the cropped shots.

    Go to http://nancygrace.blogs.cnn.com/2010/03/11/100-photos-found-in-serial-killers-locker/ and click select all (or hand-select a number of photos to avoid copying all the other stuff on the page) and copy and paste to a Word document, then change the background to something other than white or black and you'll see what I'm talking about.
     
  14. sillygilly

    sillygilly New Member

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    Hey, Donjeta, I did what you wrote and I see what you are talking about. My guess would be that different LE were scanning the images to post and just had different techniques of scanning them, maybe, the white boarders are where someone didn't crop all of the cover of the scanner , but, the ones with the black boarder are the full negative image. Do you know what I mean? or am I totally not getting what you mean? Never thought about the pasting into word, thanks, now I can put the same person shots together.
     
  15. Bargle

    Bargle Member

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    A question for Sillygilly: Is the odd coloring of these 2 pictures due to their being taken with infrared film in natural sunlight? I did photography as an amateur for a while, but it was long ago and I never used infrared. If not, do you have an idea of how the odd coloring was achieved?
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  16. sillygilly

    sillygilly New Member

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    I've never shot with color infrared, only black and white and people look more ghostly and slightly fuzzy (not blurry). My guess is either he used a colored filter or bad processing, here's a link that will tell you all about it
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infrared_photography
     
  17. Bargle

    Bargle Member

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    Thanks, Gilly.
     
  18. cutegirltoo

    cutegirltoo New Member

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    My BF, who knows old school photography, thinks that the background on these are red vine maple- no tint or lens needed, as her shirt is white and tinting or a lens would make it not white.

    He also thinks that Alcala may have traded pictures around with other male photographers or film developers. In those days someone had to manually print the pics, and color equipment was expensive and cumbersome, so most people paid to have pictures developed. Photo lab people often kept a book of prints that were interesting to them and would print an extra set. Does anyone know if Alcala ever worked in a film developing center?
     
  19. Charlie09

    Charlie09 Former Member

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    I know that the article said that they were negatives, but when we found a trunk of film and negatives from when my dad was in Korea (55ish) and had them developed, it was amazing today's technicolor but the photos so obviously from years before. The photos we see from the OC register seem to me were photos developed in the 70's.
     
  20. wfgodot

    wfgodot Former Member

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    Film developer in Parsons, Kansas, accepts the last roll of Kodachrome

    The end of the year brings the end of what many say is the best slide and movie film in history.

    The world's last standing Kodachrome film developer is located in Parsons, Kansas, and on Thursday, they stopped taking the film.

    According to Dwayne's Photo Shop in Parsons, most people have never heard of Kodachrome film. But the unique film is bringing attention to Parsons.

    Large crowds of people from across the region and the world came to Dwayne's Photo Shop on Thursday to take advantage of the absolute last chance to have their now obsolete Kodachrome film developed.

    more, with video, at
    http://www.koamtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=11316616
     
  21. plait

    plait New Member

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    So WHO took the pics of Alcala posing with the people he was photographed with? Some sites say there were about 900 pic, but not publishable because many photos were explicit, and are of people engaging in sex acts. I assume many of these acts featured Alcala along with the people in the pic. So doesn't that mean someone had to be taking the pictures?
     

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