zondag 30 november 2014
"Hey Lord Lentilux, where is the magic you promised me? These are all nice glasses but I feel nothing of a time machine"
"You are absolutely right, Jennifer. Perhaps it's the busy traffic and the modern surroundings that prevent the magic to happen. Or maybe the glasses aren't strong enough. The stronger the glasses, the more chance that something magic happens"
"Stronger glasses? I thought you said that all these glasses are prescription, or?"
"Yes, they are, but only very mild prescription. None of the ladies who once owned these pairs was handicapped without her glasses"
"I certainly did not feel handicapped when I put these glasses on. It was a comfortable experience and I would not mind needing any of these glasses in the future"
"I have lots of strong glasses in my suitcase but you might not feel comfortable posing in them in a standing position. May I suggest that we walk to the old part of the city and find a place where you can sit down? Preferably a place with more shelter against the wind. I saw a beautiful place an hour before we met. Can't think of the name right now, but it's only a few blocks away. Do you have some more time for our experiment or shall we call it a day?"
"No way, I really prefer to carry on and witness the magic"
"That's the spirit. If my memory serves me correctly, the name of the place was a garden"
"I can only think of one nearby place called after a garden. Yellow houses?"
"Yes, yellow houses, very picturesque"
"That's a place called Hedmanska Garden. Yes, fine with me. We will have more shelter there so I can give your coat back when we get there. Let's go"
"One more picture as an encore to the first part, please"
Viennaline from Austria was another company that made fine glasses from the 1950's until the 1990's. The pair shown here by Jennifer was made around 1965, just after the end of the cat eye era. The glasses are very characteristic for the mid 1960's when frames were rather small and compact. By 1967, this style was replaced by frames that gradually got larger and larger, culminating in the giant glasses of the mid 1970's.
Rodenstock from Germany had a bestseller with these glasses for their Exclusive line in the early 1980's and quite deservedly so. The frame is airy and elegant. My collection hosts no less than five examples. The lenses in all pairs have mild prescriptions. The glasses shown here by Jennifer may well have served as readers only.
Cobra was an Austrian brand and they made a number of beautiful glasses during the 1980's, some with a touch of Dior design to them. This pair was acquired in Switzerland during a week with miserable weather. Nothing doing up there on the mountains but one can always descend into the valleys and see if there are any glasses of interest.... The first owner of these Cobra glasses must have been a lady in her late forties who got tired of searching for her readers all the time. So much handier to wear a pair of progressives, even when they are not necessary for looking in the distance. Jennifer was not bothered by the progressive lenses - she simply used the upper section with its minimal prescription. All the glasses did was making everything a little bit crisper.
Zooming in.... A good bit of editing work went into this portrait, filtering out the excessive glare while retaining the information given by the lenses. Note how the trees in the background appear upside down in the reading segment. But the best piece of information here is the reflection of the street with its traffic by the lens in front of Jennifer's right eye. Every picture tells a story and this "still life" is an excellent example. Thank you, Jennifer!
A moment of excellent task division between model and photographer captured. Jennifer is watching the traffic, warning her photographer that the next load of speedy cars will arrive in a few seconds. The lenses in the Skaga bifocals are only -0.75 and -1.00 so the model's young eyes had no problem to focus. In the long term, this could cause eye strain but not during a photo shoot as each pair of glasses only stays on the model's nose for a minute.
Glasses: Skaga, 1980's
[L: -0.75 / R: -1.00 / bif add 2.75]
A fine portrait of mystery lady Jennifer posing in bifocals that were probably made in the vicinity of Malmö. These so called dégradé lenses are a perfect solution for ladies in search for discrete bifocals. The reading segments are barely visible. Big compliment to Jennifer for her excellent posing!
Glasses: Lamy (Mary), late 1980's
[L: -0.25 / R: -0.75 / bif add 2.50]
These Lamy glasses were acquired in a charity shop at the south coast of England, some fifteen years ago. The lenses are bifocals with circle shaped reading segments. Very discrete and almost invisible, especially when seen "en face". Again, the marble structure of the frame indicates that these glasses were made in the late 1980's or possibly early 1990's. The first owner may well have been an elderly lady but the glasses really suit a young face as well.
Let's pick up the script posted with photo 001.
"Lord Lentilux, can we stop for a moment? I feel a headache coming up, just as if somebody is stabbing me in the head"
"I am sorry to hear that, Jennifer. Ah, it's the old fellow behind you who is playing tricks. Hold on for a second...."
Jennifer heard a strange sound behind her, as if something was clipped or cut.
"That's it. Problem solved. You should feel better within a few seconds"
"This is amazing, Lord Lentilux. My headache is gone"
"That's grand. It's good that you felt no panic. May I ask, what is your profession?"
"I'm an actress"
"Well, well.... I have to say that you are acting cool, calm and collected when you are stabbed"
"Maybe it has to do with the genre I'm used to do as an actress"
"Now let me guess.... Did you ever meet Frankenstein?"
"Not the man himself but there are more creeps like that, still in the flesh. The horror movie scene. Don't tell me that you are a descendant of his"
"No, no, not at all. I am more of the old hippie type. Shall we proceed?"
"Thank you. Just one more snap and then it's time for the next pair of glasses"
The bridge from the station to Vestra Hamnen is always full of traffic so we used the quiet moments created by the traffic lights. Here Jennifer is looking at the sky - always a useful trick when posing in prescription glasses. The brain tells the eyes that there is no information in the sky and as a result, the eyes are not inclined to focus through the lenses.
Fine, patient posing by Jennifer in the third pair of Silhouette glasses used in this photo shoot. These glasses were a welcome find in Germany, some ten years ago. The frame was made around 1991 but it has the size that was common during the mid to late 1980's. In Holland, the retro era started in 1988 and within a year all large frames had disappeared from the shops. In Germany, the retro revolution arrived a bit later and also in a more gradual manner. Jennifer was well able to focus on her devoted photographer as the lenses in the glasses are only around +1.00.
Fine posing by Jennifer in one of Silhouette's masterpieces from the mid 1990's. This section of her photo shoot was done on the bridge leading from the station to Vestra Hamnen (West Harbour). The glasses are fitted with a very mild prescription for long sight.
Silhouette is a famous company from Austria and they have been in business for half a century. They had their international breakthrough in the early 1970's and in my opinion, Silhouette was in the same league as Christian Dior. My collection hosts over a hundred examples of Silhouette glasses, mainly from the glorious 1970's and 1980's when their designers were at the height of their powers. When the retro era set in, Silhouette were among the very last brands that continued to make beautiful "old style" glasses. However, such was the dictate in fashion that even Silhouette was forced to tone down a bit in their design. Eventually, they made a drastic switch, creating a new niche for themselves by focusing entirely on discrete rimless frames. A word of thanks is due to the Silhouette company for meeting my request to put a year of manufacture on a few dozen of their glasses in my collection. So I have it on good authority that the pair shown here by Jennifer was made in 1995. The glasses were a find in Austria where the retro era made a later and less abrupt invasion than it did in Holland.
The retro era of the 1990's and 2000's brought mainly dull, tiny frames to the Lowlands of Holland. However, things were a bit better in Germany and this may have had to do with the taste of the clients. Some German ladies were more keen to experiment with unusual frames than their sisters in Holland. One such young lady was Sylvia from the Leipzig area in the East of Germany. Five years ago, Sylvia kindly sent me all her old glasses which had become useless to her after a series of increases in her prescription. She wrote that she would rather give the glasses away than throw them out. These nameless but stylish glasses were the earliest pair in the box. Note the asymmetry in the half rim frame. The glasses were an immediate favorite among my models and featured in a dozen photo shoots.
zaterdag 29 november 2014
Glasses: Silhouette 1899, made in 1998
[L: -0.50; c-0.50 v / R: 0 / bif add 3.00]
An attractive young lady called Jennifer met an eccentric old man with a giant suitcase when waiting for a bus near the station of Malmö. It came to a nice conversation in which the old man told the young lady that he had a collection of magic glasses in the suitcase. He introduced himself as Lord Lentilux, from the poor side of a once wealthy dynasty.He also claimed that he could bring people in a temporary time machine with the magic powers in the glasses. Jennifer happened to be an actress and she became curious to see the glasses. The old man obligingly opened his suitcase and much to Jennifer's surprise, it was filled with pizza boxes. The old man opened one of the boxes and took out a pair of glasses.
"May I ask, do you wear contact lenses?"
"No, my eyes are OK, perfect eyesight as far as I know"
"Then these might be a good pair for starters"
Jennifer put on the glasses and she noticed something unusual.
"I can see perfectly with my right eye but not with my left eye. Are these prescription glasses?"
"Yes, for sure. They are bifocals. Do you mind if I take a picture?"
"No problem. Will you send me the picture once you get home?"
"Of course I will. It will be my pleasure"
"Do I look like a granny now?"
"Not at all, you really look attractive in these glasses"
"Where is the magic you were talking about?"
"Ah, it does not always work with the first pair of glasses. It may take a few dozen pairs but sooner or later, the magic will be there, I promise"
"You are a funny man, Lord Lentilux. May I ask, what brought you here? You are definitely not Swedish"
"No, I am not. But neither are you. Anyway, it was Lady Lentilux who brought me here. She was invited to attend a congress in Lund and she asked me to make the journey with her"
"So you make your own spouse program today?"
"Yes, you can call it like that"
"And now I am a part of that program"
"Only if you choose to be. You may be in a big hurry and if so, it's happy to meet and sorry to part"
"No, no. I like the unusual, the experimental. It would be nice to try some more of your glasses"
"It will be my pleasure. Keep the glasses on for a moment so that I can take your picture. Then we can walk a bit further. But I see you are almost shivering"
"I forgot to bring my coat. It's a bit colder than I expected"
"You can use my jacket if it's any good to you. No problem"
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I have been a mountain climber for the past half century and that's what toughens you up"
vrijdag 28 november 2014
zondag 16 november 2014
This fine capture of smiling Iris in contemporary glasses by Zenni (Rx -8) concludes a wonderful photo shoot. Iris is the 61st Lady behind Crystal Veil.
A special word of thanks goes to my life partner Nel for the use of her house, garden, hats and last but not least, for bringing Iris under my attention. It's great to be with a partner who has been supporting this time consuming photography project for five years. I doubt if there would have been any photo shoots at all without you in my life - you were my first model ever and the whole thing started with you. Thank you, dear!
Iris, it was a real pleasure to do this photo shoot with you, for many reasons. You were pleasant company and you did an outstanding job at the posing. You clearly have an excellent taste for glasses, expecting beforehand which pairs might suit you and which pairs would not work for you. Your decision to concentrate on the larger frames of the 1970's and 1980's really worked out well. Given the chance, I always try to recreate images seen in the streets during those glorious decades. When we came to the second part, featuring the stronger glasses, your posing got even better than it was when we started. You clearly have a talent for using your imagination and this contributed greatly to the results. You told me that you only did two previous photo shoots but it's safe to say that your posing quality could easily compete with that of many freelance models. I look forward to do another photo shoot with you soon so that we can use the glasses that were left when we ran out of time. And of course, you will have the time and opportunity to choose from the glasses that are still available in the new collection. Thank you for a memorable afternoon and a splendid photo shoot, and till soon!
"Hey Mr. Photographer, did you notice that this is our last pair of glasses?"
"You are a polite young lady by putting it that way, Iris. I realize that time is up. You selected some more glasses and they are still in a box on the dinner table. Any chance that we do another photo shoot with those glasses?"
"Well, I might be persuaded. How about one final photo?"
"It will be my pleasure, Iris. Just choose any pose you like"
Jan Hesselink who was my first mentor in photography often said "Finding a good model is half the job" I always keep that in mind and so does my life partner Nel who was my first model in 2008. Nel has supported my project ever since. It was Nel who suggested the option of a photo shoot to Iris when the two of them met after a lapse of half a decade. Iris kindly accepted my request when I contacted her. This fine portrait is yet another example of outstanding posing by this beautiful model.
zaterdag 15 november 2014
Lovely Iris was not born when blended myodisc lenses were invented but she would have been a perfect photo model for a promotion campaign. Anyway, there's always a second chance, if only to show a great opportunity that was lost. Even nowadays, brands and optician's chains ignore the potential of showing prescription lenses in their promotional photography. It is my intention to at least start a serious discussion with professionals in the glasses industry after my retirement by the end of next year. Every picture tells a story and here Iris shows in a convincing way that even very strong glasses can contribute something unique to the looks of a beautiful young lady. Thank you Iris, for being a real ambassador for glasses in this wonderful series of portraits!
Confident posing by smiling Iris who was well aware that she was starring in a very special series of portraits. No doubt, it took some time to get used to wearing blended myodisc lenses if you needed them in everyday life. My partner Nel can see quite well through the glasses shown here by Iris and she gave me a vivid description of the ghostly images produced by the transition zone from the bowls to the carrier lenses. She used these glasses during the catwalk at my exhibitions in Enschede and in Germany and afterwards, she told me that the best way keep solid on her feet was to look straight through the center of the lenses. She was forced to move her head constantly instead of relying on the peripheral vision offered by the high index lenses in her own glasses. This reminded me once more of the lady in Kufstein who kept moving her head constantly when I saw her in 1988. She must have been completely used to wearing her blended myodisc glasses, given her liveliness and confidence. It's a great pity that the introduction of blended myodisc lenses in the 1980's was not promoted by a series of photos and video clips made by professional models and photographers. About 2% of all shortsighted girls and women have a prescription of above minus ten. I'm fairly certain that such promotional work would have given these glasses more popularity among optician's clients.
My photo shoots are not only about beautiful frames but also documentaries about the lenses. Let's zoom in a bit further and show some special effects created by the transition zone in blended myodisc lenses. Here the model's left eye is slightly elongated, as if she did a little trick with her make up. In reality, the corner of the left eye is magnified by the positive carrier lens. Another interesting detail can be seen in the lens for the model's right eye. The lines in the hat look folded and again, this is caused by the gradual transition from minus thirteen in the central "bowl" to the magnifying carrier lens that surround it. A similar fold can be seen in the model's cheek. I will never forget my first sighting of a lady in blended myodisc glasses. This was in 1988 and I did not know about this new lens type. It was fascinating to see how the aspect of her eyes changed with even the slightest movement of her head. It was only when I came across the Flair glasses and the pair shown here by Iris that the riddle of the mysterious changes was solved. During the opening of my first exhibition, my life partner Nel posed in this pair and a highly experienced model called Carla posed in the Flair glasses for some video clips. These can be seen on You Tube under my user name Lentilux.
A big variety in vantage points is needed to show the characteristics of blended myodisc lenses. Of course I explained this to Iris before she put the glasses on. "Chin down" is something I rarely ever say during photo shoots but here it was essential to show the position of the central "bowl" in both lenses. A disadvantage of blended myodisc lenses compared to the traditional myodiscs is that the transition zone to the carrier lens takes away a part of the area through which the wearer can see clearly. The frame of these glasses is rather high and narrow and as a result, the carrier lens is rather thick near the lower rim of the glasses. This must have been a handicap to the German lady and no doubt, this influenced her decision to switch to Silhouette glasses with the then newly invented high index lenses in 1988 or 1989. Apparently the high index lenses were not entirely satisfactory either so a few years later she switched back to blended myodisc glasses. These were the Flair glasses already shown by Iris. The frame of the Flair glasses is not so high and as a result, the carrier lens is not causing any problems. Iris found the navigation process an amusing experience.
Iris did so well during the preceding two series in myodisc glasses that I invited her to pose a bit longer in the third pair. Here the model is showing the fascinating light effects in the blended myodisc lenses. The characteristic "half moon" image is another clearly visible feature in this portrait.
In the narrative with the series about the Flair glasses I mentioned that their first owner was a German lady with high myopia. During a period of fifteen years, her myopia increased from minus eleven to minus fourteen. This is the second pair in the chronology of four pairs of glasses. This nameless but beautiful pair was bought in the mid 1980's and the lady must have been along the first who chose the newly developed blended myodisc lenses.
vrijdag 14 november 2014
Arguably the best portrait of this remarkable series of lovely Iris in Formlenti glasses, Rx -16. This is in the same league as the much acclaimed performance by Carla at the catwalk during the opening of my first photography exhibition, four years ago. Carla had a prescription of minus two, just like Iris, yet she managed to do the second round of the catwalk in five inch spikes, wearing the Flair glasses with blended myodisc lenses (Rx -14) shown in the previous series.
I love the expression and the direct eye contact in this portrait is quite natural and credible indeed. There is no way of telling that these are not her own glasses. The model's own prescription is minus two and for the record, no use is ever made of GOC (glasses over contacts) in any of my photo shoots. Some models just have that exceptional quality, showing in a convincing way that a beautiful young woman in extremely strong glasses is not a contradicto in terminis.
Thank you, Iris, for surpassing yourself once again!