My Various Vintages: Printing Processes, Cameras, Aesthetic

03 | 03 | 2009

The other day, a bride asked me which images on my site were my vintage process images.  I said that there were some examples in the “vintage processes” gallery.  She said she thought that it looked like there were vintage ones in the other galleries, too.  Oh.

And then I realized it might be a good time to clarify what I mean by “vintage processes”—and what other kinds of “vintages” you might find on my website.  When I say “vintage processes,” I generally mean vintage printing processes. (In previous years, I called my vintage processes “alternative processes” because they are alternative processes to the traditional silver gelatin black-and-white printing process).  So, however an image is captured (digital, film, etc.), this vintage processing describes how I print it on paper.  For clearer illustration, I’m only going to use images from my site.  These few examples represent some of the most common vintage printing processes I use, but I do use and experiment with other processes quite often.

These are Polaroid Transfers, also sometimes called “image transfers”:

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Polaroid emulsion lifts:

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Here are a few Polaroid 55 images.  Technically, they aren’t a printing process. But, I often use the 4×5 negatives to print platinum/palladium hand prints. These negatives have an extraordinary quality.  I’m going to grieve when I run out of this film.  Actually, I’m going to grieve when I run out of all my Polaroids.  (Still quietly hoping somebody picks up production of all those films).

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But I have been experimenting with shooting some fun Fuji films in my antique 4×5 camera. I’m not quite sure what I’ll do with these negatives … just yet.

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You might also see images that I took using vintage film stock or vintage or toy cameras.  Here are just a few examples …

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In general, we are all so very nostalgic about weddings—even before they happen.  So, we may as well embrace what I like to call the modern vintage aesthetic.  Behind the camera, this means your photographer is looking to capture images that evoke a sense of nostalgia. I think all wedding photographers do this instinctively—it’s our job.  We capture images of you and your beloved that could be every-bride and every-groom, could be all of us.

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The image above I made with no special camera, no special film—actually, it’s digital!  The Rolls-Royce helps that vintagey feel, for sure, but the moment itself (Liz and Gary’s lovey nuzzle!) is what makes the image nostalgic.

So … those are my vintages.  I hope this helps a little!  I think other photographers may or may not use the words similarly, so be sure to ask for clarification if you need it.  And if anyone has further questions for me, please leave them in the comments and I’ll answer them.

photo credit: Gia Canali

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4 Notes on “My Various Vintages: Printing Processes, Cameras, Aesthetic

  1. Jessie

    LOVE the toy camera shots. I want to say I read somewhere than an Australian company was picking up Polaroid or something like that…..Hmmmm:)

  2. Gia Post author

    It’s true: there’s a company in the Netherlands that’s trying to reinvent Polaroid pack film. They’re hailing themselves as The Impossible Project. At this point though, they’re only looking to re-create Polaroid 600 film (and I heard somewhere maybe the larger sized Spectra film, too). Those are the types used in consumer Polaroid cameras (I do have one and love it!). Unfortunately, the films I use for the vintage processes (59, 669, and 55) aren’t being re-created at this point. Ugh.

  3. crystal

    these images really do look timeless. if when providing hard copy prints, do you usually fray the edges or curl them as they look in your first two images or are they plainly printed on a 4×6 paper with the edges appearing to look as if they are aging?

  4. Gia Post author

    Well, it’s hard to describe. The prints are contact prints, right on the (larger piece of) watercolor paper, though the edges tend to print like that, so they look frayed. Each one is one-of-a-kind. I don’t know if that answers your question. Let me know! Thanks for reading!

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