Ferguson, Box 41, April 1948


Joel pencilled “Fersgsen (sic)” and “April 9-10, 1948” with “24 shot” on the Super Panchro Press Kodak Sheet FIlm box

A total of 24 negatives, all about the same subject. A scan of Naranjado 1948 confirmed that the young lady was Mary Ann Ferguson, a freshman in 1948. A check through Pacific Weekly shows she married Roy Kirsten on June 24, 1950. (Roy Kirsten was the brother of Jerry Kirsten, former mayor of Lodi.) Mary Ann Kirsten-Ferguson started as a 4th grade teacher in Lodi in August 1950.

This free tidbit is for the genealogists out there that happen to have one of these COP students in their ancestry. Mary Ann graduated from Orestimba High School in Newman, California.

As for Joel, he set this two-day shoot up to be a full portfolio shoot to establish himself as a photographer. Multiple poses, multiple outfits and serious to playful imagery, all with COP in the background.

On his Army discharge papers, Joel indicates he’s a photographer. So, making a living as a photographer must have been on his mind. The dark room picture we’ve seen few blog posts ago with his fancy logo, confirms this.

Mary Ann Ferguson, dance group outfit, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP
Mary Ann Ferguson, living quarters, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP
Mary Ann Ferguson, at the piano, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP

The rest of the images for this blog post are all at the tennis court. Joel focussed on portraiture first.

Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP
Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP
Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP

And variations on the above theme.

Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP
Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP
Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP

The above is my personal favorite in the tennis racket sequence. Joel used a flash to improve the outdoor lighting and provide a tiny catchlight in the eyes. All these tennis court images were printed at one point in time, the first three indoors images don’t show signs of print.

Joel closes this session of with “action shots” and Mary Ann does a great job keeping a smile in all of it. Since the racket shows signs of moving in some of the shots, we can assume there was some limited “pretend action” involved, the only thing missing in these from my point of view is a tennis ball.

As a badminton player in Orestimba High School, Mary Ann definitely knows her poses.

Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP
Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP
Mary Ann Ferguson, tennis court, April 9 or 10, 1948, at COP

Joel used flash on at least the last image and it nicely pops out. Yes, using flash in outdoor photography helps create better images. It’s not a matter of how much light you have, it’s all about how you create contrast and how well you light the face up in portraiture.

One more observation, there are few of the forced looking away from the camera poses in this series. Mary Ann is quite comfortable looking straight into, or just above, the lens.

Next blog post we’ll look at the images around the COP swimming pool.

Cheers !

Closing note, a few scans below of few actual prints of the above series. Gives us some insight of Joel’s cropping of the negatives and if he used dodging and burning.

Mary Ann Ferguson, scan of actual print made by Joel

Joel made a good choice cropping the elbow and upper arm out of the image. He also dodged the face and hair to be lighter in print.

Mary Ann Ferguson, scan of actual print made by Joel

Joel’s crop makes this a more balanced image. The face and hair have equally been dodged a little to make that area the focal point.


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