Bruce Weber is a glamour photographer, working on advertising campaigns including stills and short movies. He has worked for the likes of Abercrombie & Fitch, Ralph Lauren, Kelvin Klein and Versace amongst many other high street fashion labels. In an increasingly crowded market of photographers, he has managed to carve out a style that is both unique and timeless.
He is noted for shooting in film in the age of all things digital with his photos recognizable for being often rendered in candid, low contrast black and white. Another body of his work captures his subjects without much clothing. Needless to say, it has attracted the ire of the somewhat puritanical critics.
Weber has released several photobooks, many of these are long out of print and may have even gone through a limited print run and are now auctioned fetching a few hundred dollars a piece.
Movement seems to be another of Weber’s tricks; being able to nab motion and excitement from a scene that can be imagined playing on in one’s mind long after the shutter has released.
Weber says that his biggest source of inspiration comes from life itself and watching people do the things they love. When critics says his pictures are overtly sexual, he says that he has always thought of love and affection as being important to him and that is what is actually reflected in his work.
No other film emulsion became as successful as Kodachrome. For 74 years it was the choice of not only consumers, filmmakers but even journalists, much loved for its romantic color reproduction and durability. The last roll was manufactured in 2009 and given to Steven McCurry, a prominent journalist of the National Geographic who made a movie on the last 36 exposures.
There was some hope a few years ago that Kodachrome would make a comeback but Kodak later clarified that the development process is too complex making it simply unviable and even dangerous for amateurs to self-develop. The resurgence of film photography has had to make do with other offerings including the Ektar and Porta (from Kodak) while still popular are much different to what was offered by Kodachrome.
So coveted is the Kodachrome look that there are now even options for presets and profiles which simulate the effect and although very convincing cannot match the elusive qualities that could be once had directly from a roll of Kodachrome. There are also now communities of film aficionados that careful scan old negatives using purpose-built equipment made available under creative commons licenses on the internet much to the delight of old and young sleuths.
Volkmar Wentzel who was a journalist and photographer for the National Geographic magazine captured the above photo of a street parade in Guadalajara, Mexico. He seems to have been quite popular in the 1950s-1960s capturing these scenes on Ektachrome and Kodachrome.
The film provides good saturation and exposes details in the shadows quite well. Greens and reds are highlighted and blues are sensitive to the sky’s natural gradient; very much adapted to how the eye would find an image pleasing. The image below is by Volkmar Wentzel for National Graphic Magazine, capturing the mailroom at a New York post office in 1954.