Thursday, September 6, 2012

Oscar Jordan Finlay Color FDR portrait

At the risk of repeating myself, a common affliction, or affectation, perhaps, I offer this restoration of an early color process. While I was working at the National Archives Photo Unit, the Office of
Presidential Libraries came across a collection of Finlay Color transparencies and negatives. Finlay Color was an additive color process using a glass red, green, blue, color dot "taking" screen loaded in a special holder with a black and white glass negative. The resulting negative contained a dot pattern of densities corresponding to the color pattern. A glass positive was made and then aligned to a glass color "viewing" screen when the two were in alignment a color positive image could be seen and the two were bound together. The Presidential Libraries collection had several bound positives, but also a collection of unbound negatives.In addition there were a few "taking" and "viewing" screens Ektachromes of the bound positives were made as well as film positives of the black and white negatives. With the cooperation of the Smithsonian Institution's Office of Printing and Photographic Services I brought the film positives and the viewing screen to the Photographic Services lab at the Museum of American History. There I aligned the film positive with the viewing screen and photographed the resulting positive on 8X10 Ektachrome film using a process camera and lightbox. This portrait of President Franklin Roosevelt was one of those images. Oh and by the way, the Smithsonian offered me a job.

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