SJC, Art Project, 1941, Box 4

The last box has 19 slides in it, 7 more crammed-in than the 12 virgin negatives in a fresh-from-the-store box. This box has simply ART written on the lid.

The grand total of negatives in this project is now 3 + 16 + 14+ 21 + 19 or 73 negatives. We’ll discover in this post that 12 of those were Agfa film stock and all the rest was Eastman (Kodak) Film. Based on 12 negatives in a box, we expect to find 11 more negatives and I do have a theory of where few of these might be. More on that in a future blog post.

Let’s start with the artwork first as there are a few new names.

Laundry Line, SJC 1941, Sylvia Louie
Untitled, SJC, 1941, Harathi Law (sic)

I didn’t do any further investigations yet in either artist’s whereabouts, possible a future project. And yes, at times I’m just making up names for the artwork based on what jumps out. (With apologies to the artists !)

There is more 3D Artwork and carvings.

3D Artwork, unidentified artist, SJC, 1941
3D Artwork, alternate view, unidentified artist, SJC, 1941
Wood figure carvings, unidentified artist, SJC, 1941
Unidentified sculptor, SJC, 1941

The above is quite a nice portrait and we cannot but wonder if this is the artist responsible for all the wood carvings we’ve seen so far over the last few blog posts.

Next few negatives depict artwork pinned to the wall in clusters. Joel may have run out of negative sheets to cover these all individually or he just did run out of time. The important part for us is that we get to see what was out there.

Cluster 1, Unidentified artist(s), SJC, 1941
Cluster 2, Unidentified artist(s), SJC, 1941
Cluster 3, Unidentified artist(s), SJC, 1941
Cluster 4, Unidentified artist(s), SJC, 1941
Cluster 5, Unidentified artist(s), SJC, 1941

And that is it for this particular 2 1/4″ x 3 1/4″ negative sheet film format in this project. (Fair warning, there is more art in your future as I discovered four more ART negative boxes dated Jan-Jun 1942 in a larger “Press Format”, this is, 3 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ or twice the surface per negative of what we’ve discussed and seen so far.)

There are 9 more negatives from Agfa stock (versus Eastman Film stock) in this box and these are clearly a personal Joel project. We’ve seen three negatives from this box in a prior blog post. Two portraits from a yet unidentified man and the Morris Chapel in winter 1941/1942 under construction.

Butch, the family dog, is back. He was one of the first subjects Joel photographed while still in St-Mary High School in 1938-1939.

Butch, Winter 1941
Butch, Winter 1941
Butch, Winter 1941

Butch is absolutely adorable, all perched up on a blanket. Joel might have exposed for the shadows as Butch is black. This, or negative development practice, results in a slightly washed out negative.

A little bit of digital darkroom work turns the above negative into something more printable. That’s right, the negative is only a starting point, the printing process is indispensable in the workflow for an artist. Not all photographers become good darkroom printers, but that’s a story for another day.

An image that is not printed doesn’t exist. (Quote origin unknown, it even might be me.)

Butch, winter 1941, negative basic edit, Rudi Blondia

Butch is a very patient dog. It takes roughly 30 seconds to open the shutter, focus, frame, insert film holder, pull the dark slide and make a shot like this, while all and any movement should be to a minimal as depth of field is very shallow on this format. Natural light conditions don’t necessarily help as that often meant slow shutter speeds.

Next set of negatives in this box, show Joel visiting San Francisco and we get few negatives in return.

Golden Gate Bridge, late 1941 or early 1942, Joel Pahl Dardis

All the negatives from this trip I found have some quality issues, so I did a basic edit on them, see below, so we can enjoy the view better.

Golden Gate Bridge, late 1941 or early 1942, Joel Pahl Dardis, basic edit Rudi Blondia

Next negative covers the same view at a slightly different time. The original negative is equally washed out but a basic edit allows us to recover much of the view. Both negatives had a number of fingerprints on them. The latter would make a full recovery quite daunting.

Golden Gate Bridge, late 1941 or early 1942, Joel Pahl Dardis, basic edit Rudi Blondia

It’s clear that San Francisco looked quite different than the current skyline.

Next negative is Alcatraz. Two renditions, one is the negative as found, the second one is a basic edit by the writer of this blog to pull the information out of the image. This negative unfortunately has a significant amount of fingerprints on it.

Check out the piers also !

Alcatraz, winter 1941/1942, Joel Pahl Dardis
Alcatraz, winter 1941/1942, Joel Pahl Dardis, basic edit Rudi Blondia

Last two images fall in a different category. First, they are portraits, secondly, both are solarized.

According to Webster; Solarization is a phenomenon in photography in which the image recorded on a negative or on a photographic print is wholly or partially reversed in tone. Dark areas appear light or light areas appear dark.

Since these are negatives, the solarization willfully occurred during the exposure of the negative and was most likely controlled during development. It’s a creative technique and it is interesting to see Joel dabble in it this early on, it might have been a photography class assignment.

Solarized portrait, unidentified sitter, 1941, Joel Pahl Dardis

The darkest black from the woman’s hair turned light in color during the solarization porcess.

Second portrait, different level of solarization.

Solarized portrait, unidentified sitter, 1941, Joel Pahl Dardis

That’s it for the 5 boxes containing negatives in the 2 1/4 x 3.1/4″ sheet film format from 1941 to probably early 1942.

Next blog we’ll take a look at secondary information that came to light while checking on Joel’s whereabouts while enrolled at SJC in 1941, and some more background story on his 1941 Morris Chapel journalistic construction photography.

Cheers !

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