Monday, August 10, 2015

Soft focus?

I have John to thank for the link he sent from California which allowed me to read the Paris Match story published last week. My employer in the seventies, David Hamilton is now eighty-two and is, I suppose, entitled to indulge in some gentle revisionism!

Given that I have been blogging with possibly too much candour for now almost ten years, and the fact that four-hundred pages of my memoir will soon be in the public domain, I shall not when I reach David's age have the chance to amend history.

On a beaucoup parlé du “flou hamiltonien”, certains ont même prétendu que 
je soufflais sur l’objectif pour donner ce fameux flou à mes photos!

There has been much said about the 'Hamilton soft focus', some 
have even suggested that I breathed on the lens 
to give my photos that famous soft look!

David's denial that he resorted to such trickery will come as  surprise to many. I was by no means the only one who learned that breathing on the lens gives a non-uniform filtration of the image, with zones remaining in sharp focus while others are 'flou'. 

I used the technique to the best of my ability on numerous occasions back in the day and found it most satisfying. I'm tempted to get the old Minolta out again! I'm pretty sure that the breath-on-the-lens ruse was written about in magazines about photography when there was call to refute suggestions that the effect was achieved by smearing the lens with Vaseline!

Such petty matters apart, it was for me pleasing to see so man years later the Montparnasse studio apartment which was once also the 'office' in which I spent my days. I think this was a space which had a lasting effect on me. I, too, can be content with single room flat, with a convertible sofa (or in my present situation a fold-down Murphy bed) and with the wall space entirely devoted to imagery. David's take on things sartorial has also been an influence over half a lifetime... I feel now the pressing need to acquire some red socks!

No comments: