woensdag 30 april 2014
Margriet did her first photo shoot on the same day as Lettie, April 17th, 2010. "Quiet, bordering to serene" was how one of the visitors described the portraits at my first exhibition with "Ladies behind Crystal Veil" and this description certainly applies to the style of posing shown here by Margriet. Both portraits show the characteristic light effects and playful modifications particular to blended myodisc glasses. It took a lot of navigation and patience to obtain the double image of Margriet's right eye. This effect is caused by the transition from the central "bowl" to its surrounding carrier lens.
Three edited portraits taken during my second photo shoot with lovely Farishta (June, 2010). Here she is posing in the same glasses with blended myodisc lenses, minus thirteen. This is twice her own prescription but the young model posed as if these were her own glasses. Her tiny little smile is irresistible and it contributed much to these portraits.
dinsdag 29 april 2014
Another model who posed for me in the early days (March 2010) was Conny, a tall blonde lady and a dear friend who kindly graced the sleeve of my solo CD "Crystal Veil" which was released in 2007. The glasses are the same Lentilux pair as shown by Rachel. Conny had the advantage that she was able to see fairly well through one of the lenses.
Another early model was Rachel who posed for me in December, 2009. Right from the start of the project I started to experiment with the special light effects created by blended myodisc lenses (also called Lentilux). The Rx of the glasses shown here is minus thirteen. Blessed with perfect eyesight, Rachel found the massive blur caused by the lenses an amusing experience.
The pince-nez remained popular until the early 1940's and the the invention of new materials gave it a differnt look. The celluloid pince-nez shown here by Karen is a typical example of eyeware fashion in the 1930's. Karen was the first model who posed for my second weblog, in February 2011 and her photos in pince-nez were made at the very start of the photo shoot.
Two recently edited portraits from the epic photo shoot with highly experienced model Carla in November, 2009. Aside from the astonishing quality of her posing, Carla brought in an amazing quality to transform herself for each new section of the photo shoot. A true lady of style and class.... The pince-nez and the antique steel glasses were made from around 1900 and both styles remained popular for several decades.
Farishta did her first photo shoot for me in December, 2009 and just like Brigitta one month earlier, she was eager to try the pince-nez. Fitted with lenses around minus six, it gave her almost perfect eyesight and her only worry was that this fragile piece of antique might fall from her nose :).
Charlotte posed for me in May, 2010 and she was my first longsighted model, with a prescription around plus five. She accepted my invitation but added that glasses with a wrong prescription could easily produce a cross eyed look. During her photo shoot, I saw to it that she took frequent short breaks in which she put on her own glasses to "calibrate" her view. Here Charlotte poses in one of the oldest pieces in my collection, a rusty face à main (lorgnette) made circa 1880. Much of the early photography was done in sepia so I used this during the recent editing process for a bit of added nostalgia. Longsighted models are hard to find and it took me three years come across Bonnie, an Irish model with a similar prescription as Charlotte.
maandag 28 april 2014
Another vintage pair of glasses from the cat eye era shown by "our Mona Lisa in glasses". This portrait is from my first photo shoot with Farishta, in late December 2009. The glasses were made by Preciosa and the frame was quite popular around 1960. The lens for the left eye is -6.50 and the lens for the right eye is no less than -14.50. The optician managed to avoid the use of a myodisc but only just. Anti-reflective coating did not exist in those days and neither did high index lenses. As a result, the strong lens caught an excessive lot of glare. Four models posed in these glasses but this portrait of lovely Farishta was the only successful candidate for editing. The lens for her left eye gave the model almost perfect eyesight and she was happy to have at least monovision. My guess is that the first owner of the glasses had little more than monovision and probably a lot of trouble with double images. A three diopter difference between both lenses is generally seen as the upper limit for functional glasses. But back in 1960's there were no contact lenses so the lady in question simply had to make the best of it. For your information, the frame is blue. Colour photography was quite rare around 1960 and this portrait is edited in black and white to bring back the nostalgic feeling.
Another model who posed in the classic myodisc glasses from the cat eye era was Marike. Much the same way Brigitta did three years before, Marike accepted my invitation straightaway but with a warning about her camera fear. In spite of (or possibly helped by) the massive blur created by the excessive power of the myodisc lenses, Marike delivered this wonderful "pensive mood" portrait which was among the highlights of her photo shoot. Again, I felt transported back to the precious images seen in the streets of my native Amsterdam around 1960, long before contact lenses became available. Nostalgia at its best.
zondag 27 april 2014
The first model with lots of experience who posed for me was Carla and working with her had the effect of a shock wave. The preceding four models were in the same boat as their photographer at the start of his mission so they left the initiative to me. Carla was different. Right from the start, I felt a witness rather than a photographer.
Fortunately, the phenomenon was familiar to me from my music career. I was a proficient uilleann piper when after fifteen years at this demanding instrument, a couple of antique instruments crossed my path. Some of the very best pipers were interested in my finds and they asked if they could have a go on the pipes. I will never forget how they "took possession" of the pipes and poured out music from this other world. They were playing my pipes and all I could think was "Never thought the pipes could sound this way. Never thought this was in them....".
The same thing happened when Carla started posing. The best thing seemed to be simply "go with the flow" in our model / photographer duet. By the time we got to the extremely strong glasses, I was delighted that the massive blur created by the myodisc lenses had no negative effect on the high quality of her posing. Carla was in full control of the situation, just like the best uilleann pipers of the globe were when they played on my antique pipes. It's safe to say that Carla set the standard for many models who followed her and in doing so, I realized that the photographer had to raise his own standards as well.
The real shock came when this portrait rolled out on my computer screen. It was my intention to bring back to life some of the precious images seen in the streets of Amsterdam in my schoolboy days. But Carla gave me images never seen in the streets. Carla produced images that could have graced the windows of optician's shops half a century ago if only.... Even as a child, I knew that there was something lacking in the photos in shop windows. Empty frames only tell half the story. What brings life into portraits of ladies in glasses is the effect created by the lenses, especially so when the lenses are strong.
In retrospect, a model like Carla could have done miracles if a clever optician would have seen the potential of model photography behind strong glasses. A model with similar great abilities could have taken away much of the stigma associated with myodisc glasses in the days before alternatives like contact lenses were available. The message in this edited portrait is, "Yes, I may be extremely shortsighted - but before and above all, I'm a beautiful lady - and you can be beautiful in your own myodics if you forget about the stigma".
Archaeology is great, and here is a testimony of it. Thank you Carla!
Here is another edited portrait of an early model posing in the same pair of myodisc glasses from the cat eye era. Brigitta posed for me in the autumn of 2009 at Nel's place and this portrait gives an impression of some of my safe sightings in the streets of Amsterdam. If the lady in question was in a conversation, she could well be unaware of the schoolboy who was catching a glimpse of her.
In retrospect, Brigitta was a perfect cast for a portrait like this. When I invited her for a photo shoot, her reaction was "Yes, I will meet your request but we will have to see if anything good comes out. I have this terrible camera fear....". What did the trick was to add some background music. Being an avid salsa dancer, Brigitta almost forgot that she was in the middle of a photo shoot and when we came to the section with the strong glasses, the combination of salsa music and massive blur did the trick. Great!
Another much acclaimed model from my first weblog was young Farishta who posed in the same vintage pair of myodisc glasses from the cat eye era shown in the Lettie portraits. Back in 1960, anti-reflective coating on lenses did not exist and as a result, portraits of ladies in glasses invariably showed lots of glare. The stronger the glasses, the more glare. Ladies in myodisc glasses were always uneasy when they noticed that somebody was watching them. This reaction is shown in the lower portrait. If one was lucky, the lady in question soon came over her initial reaction when she saw that the looker was just an innocent schoolboy (middle and upper portrait).
vrijdag 25 april 2014
After posting the documentaries of the photo shoots done last year with models from Ireland, it was time for some retrospection. I started editing a year ago to do justice to the wonderful posing of star model Sohaila and then expanded the editing work to all the models after her photo shoot. Wouldn't it be a nice challenge to edit some of the early material and do justice to these models as well?
Lettie was one of three models who posed for me on April 17th, 2010 and she really did a magnificent job. So here are six portraits of Lettie posing in classic myodisc glasses made over fifty years ago. Four of these portraits were first posted on my first weblog (Lettie 153 - 156) but the two other portraits had to be left out because of the excessive glare in the lenses. The newly edited photos are shown here in sepia for a nice nostalgic touch. Here Lettie comes close to the ladies I saw in the Amsterdam of my childhood when contact lenses were not available. Most of these ladies in myodiscs seemed to be quite shy when they felt that someone was watching them. I soon realized this and avoided long eye contact but the images of these ladies always stayed with me, long after myodisc glasses had disappeared from the streets. The Rx of the lenses is -17.00 for the model's left eye and -14.00 for her right eye. The glasses were bought at the "Waterlooplein" flea market (Amsterdam) during the early 1970's. Edited material from some of my other early photo shoots will be posted soon.