Glyphs of Time :: a blog by jarvis grant

July 25, 2010

Kodachrome, makes all the world a sunny day…

Steve McCurry's Afghan Girl

Steve McCurry's "Afghan Girl", 1984, Peshawar, Pakistan, on Kodachrome film

I had stumbled upon an article, thanks to Michaela Brown on Facebook, about Steve McCurry and the Last Roll of Kodachrome on NPR’s photo blog, The Picture Show. McCurry, is the photographer who shot that iconic cover of the Afghan Girl for National Geographic back in the 80’s. Kodak stopped the production of Kodachrome slide film last year, and has given the Mc Curry the last roll of that classic film that came off the assembly line. To get the details and hear a brief interview click on the link above.

When I was in college, I learned my photographic color theory from Pete Turner, Jay Maisel, and Art Kane. Back in the early 70’s there was still the question if photography was “art”. Although color theory is color theory, I was being taught by painters. That’s not a problem, but the practical application of it to my medium was. Instead of bitching & moaning about it, I turned to those three masters of color photography and studied their approach to image making. Well, Kodachrome seemed to be their weapon of choice and I did the same. It was quite different to handle coming from Tri-X with an ASA (sorry!) ISO of 400 usually pushed to 800.

It took a bit getting used to ISO 25! But man the color was deep and rich. Then in the 80’s I switched to Kodachrome 64, a bump of a whole f/stop. Then came Kodachrome 200, but it seemed scurrilous to use it! Yet, the film was gaining in greater popularity and Kodak, who were the only ones processing the film, began to grant the license  to a few other independent labs to process the film. That was the beginning of the end of Kodachrome, at least for me.

But with Photoshop & the “new” inkjet technologies seemed to bring back Kodachrome’s glory days! I could now get a high rez scan of an old Kodachrome slide that was once a real pain and expensive  to print, and produce a great print. The best part being , I was the one making the print, not an overpriced custom lab.

Well, Kodachrome I’m sorry to see ya go. Maybe it’s time to shoot those last few rolls I have in the back of the fridge before the chemistry is gone too!

The Blue Playground

The Blue Playground: Kodachrome 64 scan made with Nikon Coolscan ED8000 scanner of my daughter Maya at Hartly Park, Mt. vernon, NY 1983


July 24, 2010

New York City: Above & Below

Filed under: Gallery,Observations,Photography — Jarvo @ 3:32 pm

Last month I went to visit my Mom and my daughter, Maya in Mt. Vernon, NY. Mt. Vernon is the little town were I grew up. despite the sound of its name, it’s right next to New York City. When I was a kid, I could walk to the #5 IRT train. I had a chance to hang out with my buddies Roger and Stan in the Village Saturday night. Then on Thursday night,  Stan and I went to check out Herbie Hancock at Carnegie Hall for Herbie’s 70th birthday celebration.

The day before I left NY to come back to DC, I went to an event sponsored by NAPP, Photoshop CS5 Summit. It was pretty cool, but no Photoshop World!  At any rate, when walking back to Penn Station I saw the scene of the monks and the NYC citizen on a bench waiting for a bus. Man there was so much color I could just pass it by. With all the foot traffic I was surprised to get such a clean shot.


This other shot was on the way back to DC from the New Rochelle Amtrak station. The train makes a brief stop in NYC at Penn Station. This shot was made right before the train picked up its NY passengers


July 15, 2010

Get ready for PDN PhotoPlus 2010

Filed under: Education,Observations,Photography — Tags: — Jarvo @ 6:58 pm

PhotoPlus Expo 2010Well, the 2010 PDN PhotoPlus Expo is October 28-30, and is once again at  the voluminous Jacob Javits Center in New York City. PhotoPLus Expo, also Toys-R-Us for Photographers, is were you’ll see all the lastest stuff you may not really need, but still want to have right there for ya. When you go to the web site, there are a lot of elaborate placeholders with the overall message being, Register Now! There are no official exhibitors nor are there any seminars to register for yet, but if nothing else, you can go ahead and make your hotel reservations. The earlier you book in New York, the better the deal you’ll get. PhotoPlus has their travel site up, but you may want to check out travel sites like Travelocity & Yahoo Travel for a little comparison pricing.

The first time I attended PhotoPlus Expo, it was in 1983 at the old New York Convention Center.  To paraphrase Paul Simon’s Kodachrome, “When I think back on all the crap in learned in art school!” None of it was how to make a living. PhotoExpo East as it was then called, really opened up the door, and shed some real light on the whole industry of photography. For example, at one seminar call, How Art Buyers Choose Photographers, there were three agencies from New York City there that billed $600,000,000 in creative talent between them! $600,000,000 between three agencies! Man, all that poor artist stuff I was fed in college was a load of crap in deed.

There was another seminar at that fateful PhotoExpo, about marketing that laid out a roadmap for getting my share of that $600,000,000 plus in potential income from the creative industry. It all seemed so clear for the very first time. Now during the 1980s, the cash was flowing like rivers, and alas,  those days are over. While the money may not be busting out of advertising agencies like in the “good old days”, the money is still there for us to get. The lesson of all this, is that, one needs to stay sharp and competative on how the big guys & girls stay big and a head of the pack! So, if you have never gone to NYC for the PhotoPlus Expo experience, it’s definitely worth a trip. Even if it’s just a day trip.
The PhtoPlus Expo crowd