One month from my 16th birthday, I created this 1956 version of a “selfie.” Easy to do when you’re photographing into a mirror. The alternative was to use a self-timer. In either case, it was difficult to line up with a rangefinder camera that resisted getting two edges of the mirror’s frame straight. So what to do? Easy enough – just wait! In our era of Photoshop. I simply lined it up.
My point? Even then, the darkroom translated handily to the digital age. I had long ago appreciated what you’ll see on a histogram: the range of tones from whitest white to blackest black. Arranged properly, this gives you not only a range of tones but a happy medium, so you have readable mid-tones and a pleasing contrast as well. The effect then is snappy, what we used to try to achieve in creating a print. So now I have both vintage prints, the ones I created close to the time I developed my negatives, as well as pigmented ink jet contemporary prints.
These are just as archival but with today’s technology. It lets me tweak my images into a pinpointed perfection not possible in the early days.
Ah, it’s a great time to be digitizing my archives!
You can see this image and more, in my See-Saw book, previewing on Amazon