why do 1980's shots look different compared to nowadays

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Jaystar2009, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Jaystar2009

    Jaystar2009 TPF Noob!

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    Outline: This question is primarily referring to fashion photography since that's my creative interest. I have noticed that the catalogue/fashion/swimsuit shots look more color-inviting in the 80's/early 90's than the catalogue/fashion/swimsuit shots nowadays, the 80's shots aren't over-precise but they have character.

    1) How come...1980's shots look different? was it the equipment+temperature+exposure+light+old-school development or perhaps other factors?

    If you don't understand, please analyse an 1980's ELLE, VOGUE, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED magazine with either christy, elle, claudia etc. and compare the shots to a 2010 ELLE, COSMOLITAN magazine with gisele, adriana etc.
     
  2. williambarry

    williambarry TPF Noob!

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    Very simply, change. I'm not referring to the kind a certain moron promised during a campaign either. I'm referring to real world changes in the technology and the attitude in the industry.
     
  3. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Because film and digital are different mediums and film is, of course, the
    superior one. Thanks for noticing. :D
     
  4. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    BAH! neither film or digital are "superior," and both are far and beyond what magazine printing can represent anyway.

    To me the difference is in the photographers, I just don't think that there is nearly as much perfectionism and overall skill in a lot of modern glamor photography as there once was. SI is an extreme case, they used to attract the best photographers in the world, not so much anymore.

    Other magazines, like nat geo, have not degraded in the same way.
     
  5. Jaystar2009

    Jaystar2009 TPF Noob!

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    So you're answer is 'that all I have to do is to develop my photogaphs with an SLR and the results will be as a 1980's fashion shot'....you're going to have to do better than that.

    I kindly ask for genuine 'help' to support their answers with explanations please. However, suggestions are welcome.
     
  6. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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  7. Actor

    Actor TPF Noob!

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    One word...

    Kodachrome!

     
  8. Sam6644

    Sam6644 TPF Noob!

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    ^bingo
     
  9. Torus34

    Torus34 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Well, there are answers ... and then there are answers.

    We've already heard [including political interjections,] about technological changes and the style of the photographers of an era. Certainly major changes in the tools available [digital, Kodachrome, etc.] have made a difference. So too have the photographic personalities of the likes of de Meyer, Steichen, Horst and, more recently, Penn and Sieff [No, they're not a magic act!].

    Overlooked thus far, though, are the arbiters, the 'final filters' of chic: the heads of the fashion houses and the editors of the fashion magazines. No photographer can achieve publication and recognition if the finely honed, discriminating judgment of these folk is not intrigued by their work. They, and not the public at large, are the fashion photographer's audience. They stand at the end of the fashion runway, judging whose work will be seen. Ultimately it is they who set the standard -- the look -- of the season, the decade, the era. And they know it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2010
  10. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Nope, that wasn't my answer. I think you'd have a lot of trouble
    developing photographs with an SLR.

    OK, I'll try harder. I promise.

    I can see you're determined to get to the bottom of this. I hope that
    once you have it solved that you'll share the answer with us.
     
  11. Early

    Early TPF Noob!

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    It was probably easier to get great color and contrast with Kadachrome or one of the professional films back then, but I've seen some fine shots taken with digital on here. I think it's more of a fad today. It's like people are going with high contrast, and color be damned. I blame it on a lot of the cheaply done movies that came out in the last decade or so.
     
  12. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Hardly any fashion/catalogue work was shot on Kodachrome in the 1980's; E-6 process films were the standard...people could get 4 hour turnaround on E-6 films in the 1980's at tens of thousands of labs across the USA, but Kodachrome was a 7- to 10-day turnaround developed at only a dozen or so labs at that time. So, Kodachrome is not the answer, since the majority of work in those mags was shot on EKtachrome 64 Professional or Ektachrome 100 Professional or Ektachrome 64 Tungsten for hot-light shooters.

    There are a number of differences, but one of them is now simply economics of printing...ink is expensive...loads of older layouts had dark backgrounds...10,12 page editorial spreads on dark backdrops will suck up a lot of ink...magazines today are barely keeping their heads above water....today, light, white backdrops are very much in vogue.

    In the 1980's, much of the "look" came from people shooting slightly underexposed 'chromes, so that the separations would look good. Quite often, those older by-hand color seps tended toward a lot of tonal compression, with most of an entire slide film's 6-stop dynamic range smushed down into about four f/stops worth of range on the printed page. Retouching work used to mean airbrushing and "hand work",and it was expensive. Today, even a college kid can do digital dodging and burning on shadows and mid-tones and can show a **vastly** expanded tonal range because a modern digital MF back or high-end camera like a Nikon D3x can pull 12 to 14 stops' worth of total dynamic range.

    Not that I like it, but a good example is the modern HDR-like or pseudo-HDR images we see; an incredibly wide dynamic range is shown, from the brightest sun rays to the deepest shadows in a scene. The "entire" tonal range is shown, and tone-mapped to an image space, let's call it. The looks we see today are decidedly different from Ektachrome 64 Professional's "look", where there are highlights, midtones, lower midtones, and then the shadows, which block up rather quickly--with around 6 stops of total dynamic range. The vast majority of 1980's fashion mag images, both editorial and advertising, were shot on chrome film, with a narrow DR and a narrow exposure latitude. Shooting on color negative stock would come in the 1990's. The work done today, due to 1) digtial pre-press work and image editing software and 2) wider DR capture medium (ie digital with 10-11-12-14 stops of total DR vs siide film with basically 6 stops) has changed the overall "look" of the images, but that is only a part of the differences.

    In the 1980's a lot of work was lighted well, and shot, and slightly under-exposed chromes were the norm. Today, a lot of work is lighted (I'm not saying lighted well, just 'lighted'), and then is subject to massive post-shooting manipulation in pre-press. So, things are going to look different.
    The style of lighting was different then too; more hard light from parabolic reflectors, with actual shadows under chins and noses.Things look different because the two eras are 20 to 30 years apart....there are a zillion differences between then and now.
     

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