Tuesday, January 5, 2010

African Twin Pin, St. Louis Art Museum

This small wood carving from 19th century Africa is has eyes that seem to follow as you walk past it in the basement of the St. Louis Art Museum.  Identical twins have symbolic meanings in most cultures, and I think this piece is supposed to look somewhat sinister.

Who remembers Kodak 2475 High Speed Recording Film?  It had a nominal ASA of 1000 and golf ball sized grain, especially when processed in Kodak HC-110, dilution A.  A number of figure photographers, like Robert Farber and Pete Gowland, used 2475 rated at ASA 1600 and processed in formula DK-50 to shoot nudes.  The extended red sensitivity, grain and low resolution immediately signals a pictorial intent and reduces the need for body make-up.  I've been experimenting with film grain styles in Nik Silver Efex Pro, and I think this picture comes close to the 2475 look.

Technical: Nikon D700, Nikkor 50mm f1.4G, ISO 800, f/2.0 @ 1/6s, handheld.  RAW file processed in Lightroom 2.6, then edited in Nik Silver Efex Pro.

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