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Ruth Harriet Louise Potato
CREDIT: Alan Hodgson ASIS HonFRPS

In the style of Ruth Harriet Louise

Stuff to do for a social purpose - Potato Photographer of the Year?

Moving on with ideas for Potato Photographer of the Year. My first idea was to emulate the style of Viscountess Joycelyn, an early RPS member. This one takes it a little further, in the style of Ruth Harriet Louise, early Hollywood photographer.

Let me share my creative intent with you, in the hope that it inspires you to create your own and enter the competition. And enjoy both the challenge and the use of photography for a social purpose. This time in support of food banks.

As the competition is Potato Photographer of the Year I wanted a potato to be the photographer. Ruth Harriet Louise was active in 1920s Hollywood and as such was probably a hat wearer. Usually it would be the Hollywood icon who would be the subject of the photograph - I wanted to invert this and make the photographer the focus of attention.

Ruth Harriet Louise used a 8"x10" film camera fitted with lenses on bellows which would be actuated by an old fashioned cable release. And yes, you have seen this camera before. Due to the weight of these camera they needed sturdy fixing, especially as products of the time were around ISO 30-50.

Ruth is credited with over 10,000 images in 5 years at MGM. This must have been production line work with a glitzy environment for the subject and a very functional back stage. I tried to reflect this in this image.

In real life Ruth Harriet Louise used a soft focus portrait style, reflected again in this image. Done in this case by an appropriate use of aperture - Nikkor 60mm macro lens at f/8. Defects in the negative (and the subject) were taken out by expert retouchers before contact printing. My sweet potato would certainly be in need of this!

The lighting would normally focus on the subject in the deckchair. I turned this around to emphasise the "face" of the photographer. Please join with me in appreciation of the work of (the real) Ruth Harriet Louise and in support of  Potato Photographer of the Year.

I should warn you that I have more on the same theme in planning...