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Archive for January, 2011

Here’s an image of another young ARVN soldier taken one day when we were posted together. As I mentioned several weeks ago, we (Air Police) shared responsibilities with the South Vietnamese army and the National Police.

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This is an environmental portrait because it shows the subject in context. The original is a color slide. The color scan was horrible, too dark, bad color casts — a real mess. So I converted to B&W. It’s much better now. Color is so tedious. Especially when dealing with old transparencies.

I used more color slide film when I was in Vietnam because the processing was more reliable than B&W processing (and I couldn’t develop myself). I don’t remember now but I probably sent the slides to Kodak via mailer. In any case, I have what I have. Enjoy.

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This first street scene is a scan of one of the lost slides lurking in my closet until a few weeks ago. It’s a companion to the second image, one of my favorite Saigon street images. Balloons? Sure, why not? The balloons tie the two images together.

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This first scene boils with life. The small Christmas tree on the lower right puts this shot into December 1966. The balloons draw the viewer into the image (and the crowd.) Let’s move a little closer.

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Each of the young men is giving me ‘the look.’ The balloon guy seems friendly enough, the other guy? suspicious if not hostile. But the expression on the little girl’s face, her fascination with the balloons, wins my vote. I do like the way this image came together. Sometimes you do grab a decisive moment.

PS — I struggled with color balancing the scans from my old slides but these aren’t bad considering.

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One day about eight years ago, we were sitting out on my daughter’s patio and I grabbed this portrait of Julia — one of our six granddaughters.

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I came across this image while gathering and organizing the photos I’ve taken of the girls over the past 8 or 9 years.

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I found a small box with some 60 odd slides hiding in my closet that I had completely forgotten. This image was scanned from one of those ‘lost slides.’

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Appearances can be and are often deceiving, but these young ladies probably never did their own laundry. Want to bet the tan seat covers in the shiny new car are leather? Can you smell the money?

I like this cameo shot. I think I got the colors right. Many of my old slides have a pronounced blue cast and most are dirty. Then again, the slides are over 44 years old. Some even have a bit of fungus growing on them.

I’ve rescanned 40 slides and have 103 to go. I can’t allow these images to be lost.

Rescanning has been a lot of work but I’ve learned some neat new tricks along the way and when you love what you’re doing, it’s not work at all — it’s play.

 

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We (Air Police Security) shared bunkers and guardposts with ARVN (Army of the Republic of Vietnam) soldiers. Here’s a portrait of a young ARVN soldier taken one day in 1966 while we were on duty at the Tan Son Nhut Air Base outside of Saigon.

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44 years is a long time. I can’t remember the soldier’s name. The image is all I have now. I’ve been organizing and rescanning all the negatives and (cough, cough) color slides from my time in Vietnam and I’ll be sharing the best of them from time to time.

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“The negative is comparable to the composer’s score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways.” Ansel Adams

The music was buried in a moldy, water stained, dog eared, old score. I found a scratched, dirty, chemical stained negative that was terribly mistreated by the lab 44 years ago, never realizing what a treasure I had — one that languished silent, unperformed all those years — until now.

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See for yourself. I composed this score 44 years ago on a Saigon street. I invite you to enjoy the performance of this decisive moment. The print you see here emerged gradually as I worked and experimented, first cleaning up the negative, then revealing the image using various tools to bring out the tonality. I used a sepia tint because it felt right and I cropped from the right and the top to eliminate distracting elements, to focus on the heart and soul of this image.

I like the result. I like it a lot. In fact, I think this may be the best image I created during that year in Saigon.

Ansel Adams also said: “A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.” I won’t try to explain why and how this photograph moves me. Words don’t work, emotions do.

I’ve been busy for the past few months scanning old family photographs. That’s done for now. Several weeks ago, I decided to organize all the images from my year in Vietnam. I rescanned all my B&W negatives. I’ve scanned some of the dozens of color slides and discovered 70 more lurking in a forgotten box in my closet.

I’ve learned much over the past few years and continue to learn new ways of performing my photographic scores. This post is the first of a new series that will feature images I’ve never posted before along with new interpretations of others.

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