We worked for various companies producing their catalogues and for my part I was creating compositions of rings and brooches and these were propped up by various means to give depth. At that time our methods were often crude as we were using plasticine and pins and mainly tungsten lighting creating considerable heat so they could sag or even fall over during the invariably quite long exposures! If we were lucky then it was simply that either the pin or the plasticine would show, if we were less lucky then it was a reshoot! We invariably worked with 10 x 8in colour transparencies which did give us the opportunity to have them retouched by a local company, Gilchrist; it was a balancing act as we judged whether the additional film and processing was less expensive than retouching. There was also another aspect: There were occasions when it was not possible to avoid nasty reflections of adjacent items, due to how tightly we had to pack them into the composition and I would often have liked to have these treated, but our clients were disinclined to spend the extra.
This desire for higher quality would ultimately bring me to a rival of Gilchrist, Longacre Colour Labs, where within a year of joining them I became their Sales Manager. This in turn would lead me to set up ‘SOLUTIONS photographic’ and by the time the digital era had arrived, I was doing my own retouching using knowledge I had gained from watching the retouchers working with dyes and bleaches and duplicate transparencies. Clients that I had acquired from my earlier photographic work now became clients using digital technology.
Two very interesting things happened this last week, one involving technical guidance which I provided remotely for a client I first met by travelling to his villa in Provence for five days’ training in connection with Photoshop; this time it involved Lightroom and also help with ascertaining why his website was no longer providing pinsharp images from his work. I produced a web gallery of his pictures that both viewed fast and were razor sharp, the other was providing another client who was now producing 1/32 Scale figures for World War One and Two aircraft, the retouching of an aerial and insulators on a Spitfire for his catalogue cover. This was not simply to draw a line between a post behind the cockpit and tailplane – this required research by both of us so that what I added was as authentic as possible for the marque of the modelled Spitfire.
Both clients were pleased with my work, and importantly I enjoyed the challenges involved and will soon be visiting Chichester to provide further help with Lightroom and his backup strategy for the former, possibly next week.