Wm. Eggleston: How'd He Get Such Vibrant Color?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by ReginaldSMith, May 18, 2018.

  1. ReginaldSMith

    ReginaldSMith Subscriber

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    I love the deeply saturated colors, but how did he accomplish that?
     
  2. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    He had a lot of prints made as Dye Transfers - the contrast index that the RGB separations are processed to will determine the saturation in the final print. A higher CI = more saturation. This is a very simple explanation of the process, but there's a fair bit of info out there, including how to make your own matrix film etc, if you're obsessed enough with the process, given that Kodak stopped making the materials in the early 90's.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    Last edited: May 18, 2018
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    ReginaldSMith

    ReginaldSMith Subscriber

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    LOL - I wasn't intending to start a discussion of his content (which I love), just trying to understand his process.

    I read a little bit of that old thread, and all I can say is there are bashers and disbelievers for every artist that anyone can name.

    DYE TRANSFER! Thanks for that.
     
  5. jawarden

    jawarden Subscriber

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    I don't know how the giant prints were made at his show when he moved to Zwirner but they were incredible too, and not dye transfer. They were probably four feet tall. There were dye transfers there as well and they were sublime.

    Anyway I think he was getting his color by using slow slide film, shooting in favorable light, using quality people and materials for printing, and, oh yeah, being a genius.

    :smile:
     
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    ReginaldSMith

    ReginaldSMith Subscriber

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    Wonderful! I agree totally on the genius attribute. I can still recall being floored when my old art mentor first pulled out a book on Eggleston.
     
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    ReginaldSMith

    ReginaldSMith Subscriber

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    More about printing. For the past 10 years or so I have been exclusively using Epson printers to make my own prints. Ergo, I have totally lost my understanding of what current color labs can do. I dumped by Epson last year because it was getting old and misfiring a lot. I also put down my cameras. Now, I have picked them up, and have no handy source of prints. So, I'm just trying to get my arms around current the process again.
     
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    ReginaldSMith

    ReginaldSMith Subscriber

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    Quoting from Wikipedia: In 1994, Eastman Kodak stopped making all materials for this process. The dyes used in the process are very spectrally pure compared to normal coupler-induced photographic dyes, with the exception of the Kodak cyan. The dyes have excellent light and dark fastness. The dye transfer process possesses a larger color gamut and tonal scale than any other process, including inkjet. Another important characteristic of dye transfer is that it allows the practitioner the highest degree of photographic control compared to any other photochemical color print process.

    Arghhhhh.
     
  9. jawarden

    jawarden Subscriber

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    An example shot from my phone. The prints were awfully big considering their 35mm negative size. But the color was great.
    IMG_1024.jpg
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    there are people who are making their own matrices &c from scratch
    not sure if he is still is ctein might still be doing it ...
    http://ctein.com/dyetrans.htm
     
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    ReginaldSMith

    ReginaldSMith Subscriber

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    WOWZA! Love to see that exhibition.
     
  12. Lachlan Young

    Lachlan Young Member

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    A good drum/ high end CCD scan (not an Epson or a minilab machine), competent Photoshop work, & output with a good pigment ink inkjet printer on a baryta paper is pretty stunning & can get you not far off the ballpark of dye transfer colour etc. You can use neg or transparency film & you don't have the grain issues of Super-XX as a separation film (though TMX was suggested latterly as an alternative in the literature). The kit is not desperately esoteric, but it does need competent, skilled people to use it well. You'd be surprised at how well a 35mm neg holds up at 4ft across...

    Film-wise, probably Kodachrome 25, quite a bit of Ektachrome (I recall he used a Mamiya Press & even a 5x7 at one point) and quite a lot of colour neg too.
     
  13. hoffy

    hoffy Subscriber

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    I think you have your answers already. I've just come in to say "Add me to the Eggleston Appreciation group" as well! Saw his exhibition in Melbourne last year and was very much in awe of his work.

    (BTW, there appears to be a few members on this forum who tend to think there was only ever one great photographer, AA be thy name)
     
  14. iandvaag

    iandvaag Subscriber

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    Ctein is no longer doing dye transfers afaik, but Jim Browning may be. A few years back Jim was making his own matrix film, and there's some great information on his website. He's also the moderator of a yahoo group pertaining to dye transfers if you are interested.
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    YES !! that's the person .. couldn't remember his name, thanks iandvaag!
     
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