baby steps

scan of an early 1970s colour print of a little girl playing

Toronto. Photographers often choose to specialize. One such specialty is child photography – especially photos of new borns for the parents. Many photographers and studios cater to the baby set, offering special deals to mothers and fathers, of the newly born, anxious for a memorable photo for themselves, family, and friends.

Initially such photos were monochrome but post WW2, photography benefitted from a rapid pace of inventions and discoveries (many major, but others just marketing fodder). These improvements eventually led to colour photos of children becoming the standard.

By the early 1970s when this photo was taken, colour negative and colour print material as well as colour chemistry had improved so much that colour was becoming the dominant way to take and keep photos in preference to the old ‘black & white’ processes dating back to the very beginning of the art.

While resolution and colour balance was very acceptable by the 1970s; stability and colour fading – especially yellows – meant colour technology could still be improved. In fact, Kodak walked into a fire storm when it decided to merge professional and amateur Ektacolor paper into a single line. Suddenly studios were being sued for rapidly fading  wedding photos leading to Kodak being sued as well. A Wilhelm Institute book covers the fiasco with Ektacolor paper in depth. The Wilhelm Imaging Research institute is a great place to read and see up to date colour analyses and reviews.

A few years back on June 22, 2020, I published a post called, ‘its the dye, silly“. Included in this post (besides using its for it’s) is a link to the Wilhelm Institute and to their famous 1993 book “The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs” noted above. When Henry Wilhelm realized any update would price the hard copy book beyond any reasonable retail price, he graciously posted the book for free (a 2013 pdf edition is available free today).

Child photography is still a specialty (check out Google) but fortunately all the colour film resolution and stability issues died when digital technology took over. Unfortunately this has lead to new challenges (eg. future readability of digital files).

PS. Be sure to visit our ESTATE auction next month to see the wide range of photographs and equipment over the years. You can bid on the various lots to get added goodies for your collection or user gear! For this auction we have a slide show of the lots in lot order so you can see the many wonderful items ready to go under the hammer.

This entry was posted in auction and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.