Sunday, July 10, 2005

Shirley, light of my life

Back in the late Pleistocene, when photography still involved silver and gelatin, Kodak used to publish a Color Darkroom Photoguide. And bound into each and every copy of this book was an original negative (with a matching print) of a pleasant-looking young woman traditionally referred to as "Shirley". As Kodak brought out new materials, each edition got a different 'Shirley', although Kodak worked hard at giving them a uniform 'look'. With a proper neg/print sample in your hand, and a sample 'ring-around' printed in the book, you got a running start at making your own prints with a tolerable color balance.

But Shirley's existence meant that somewhere in Rochester, there's a no-longer-young woman - several women, in fact - who, decades ago, earned a few bucks by posing as "Shirley" for hours while one of Kodak's house photographers blew off a few thousand original negatives of her. (If you look closely, you can see that her pupils are quite contracted - they're using a lot of light on her.)

I wonder where she is today.

I wonder if they have an alumni association, and reunions?

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home