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Friday, 26 June 2009

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I remember that poster - well, that image rather (I never had the poster itself.)

Thanks for a link to a very interesting story.

Dear Mike,

I think I've been spending too much time on the book manuscript. The first thing that came into my head when I looked at the illo here was, "That photo needs restoring. Shouldn't be too hard with a rectangular mask and..."

I kid you not.

pax / overly-focused Ctein

"I kid you not."

Brother, you don't have to convince me. When I was a custom printer I could almost not LOOK at a black-and-white picture without instantly thinking of what it needed to make it a better print.

I was laughing at myself just yesterday about this very thing. When I first saw Mike Dougan's "Tambay" picture, my eye went right to the tonal merger between the hair of the little girl on the left and the tree trunk in back of her, and I was immediately evaluating in my mind what film/developer it is and how much detail in the negative I'd have and how I'd go about getting just enough of that edge back....

All this despite the fact that a) it's not my picture, b) I don't have to print it, and c) I haven't even seen a real print and don't even really know what it actually needs.

You know what they say: oh well.

Mike

Dear Mike,

Well, now that you point it out, I'm not so much bothered by the girl's hair as the glaring white sky in the upper left. I'd take that whole area and either lightly fog it or burn it in. Not much, just enough so that it wasn't the brightest part of the photo. It drags the eye out of the picture as it is, and the composition would be a lot stronger if it didn't.

Truth is I almost never see a photo that isn't improved by a judicious bit of dodging or burning in.

pax / Ctein

An iconic picture with an influence on all heterosexual men of a certain age...! Nice to read how it came about.

Shame her death has been somewhat overshadowed.

While I can see the appeal of the picture, and it is a good one, I guess she's just not my type. From the same era, I'd go more for more noir-ish allure of someone like Nastassja Kinski.

Still, I think what's interesting here is that you can make people -- women especially -- "look" a lot of different ways in photos. This photographer was able to make this woman look appealing, in a way lots of folks resonated with. That's the art of photography, or part of it, at least. And in this case, a lot of it, was no doubt rapport with the subject, and having the eye to "see" her beauty.

One of my grad school professors was her classmate at the University of Texas in Austin, and said that she was a pretty serious sculptor and theoretician who just sort of fell into the acting thing.

It's funny how people can switch from a career as an artist to something else, but once you are famous for something else, it's hard to get people to take you seriously as an artist. She tried later in life:

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/01/10/arts/0111-EDMI_10.html
http://ifitshipitshere.blogspot.com/2008/01/keith-edmier-fly-farrah-now-exhibit-at.html

Yeah, I remember holding that poster up like that, too.

Curtis' photo is now accompanying a CNN news story that start with "The picture says it all"

http://www.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ/06/30/farrah.fawcett.poster/index.html

http://www.newsnet5.com/video/19867970/index.html

(Five second ad before the video starts.)

From WEWS-TV Cleveland, Ohio. Pro Arts of Medina, Ohio was the company that printed that iconic poster. Funny how times have changed. (The broomstick as poster-rolling machine!)

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