I returned from Southern Ontario with lots of pictures, memories of small towns, knowledge that my Toronto friends are still friends, cool travels with my wife Eva to places like Guelph (her shots of Guelph are gems)...and bronchitis. A full week later, I am still afflicted. So as I am homebound, I am making the most of my off time. The bad news began on our return to Ottawa. As I was falling into illness, on the very same day, Robert Frank and Fred Herzog died. Two of the greatest street photographers ever, and both naturalised Canadians, died on the 9th of September, ending a chapter in photography that has been tarnished by everyone and their dog thinking that they are street photographers because that have a Ricoh GIII around their necks. Bore me, dollface. They were good, not because they used Leicas, but that they knew how to use Leicas. So it was a somber day, not helped by bronchitis. So I stayed home and started colourising pictures of silent stars. I was inspired by Victor Mascaro, maybe the best colouriser going and a hell of a nice guy. Here are his Jean Harlow pictures. If the picture has Harlow standing beside her off ivory Auburn roadster, that car is off ivory. He is meticulous. He passed a few tips my way, and he still proved that the process is not easy and it takes time, lots of time. So Here I am. Victor likes blondes (Harlow, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe), and I enjoy squeezing details from Hollywood and UFA pictures from the twenties and thirties. I started with this picture of Bessie Love, which is a tad too red...
The next was a bridge too far of Noel Francis.
The lesson is this...work on a large, well produced file. This was not.
I reworked an older picture of fan dancer Faith Bacon, and I think that I got the skin right.
The eyes don't have it, a common error in colourisation.
It just gets surreal with Louise Brooks.
But then I gave Lulu another chance.
Plenty of errors, but it was fun getting the skin tones right.
I did much better with Arlene Judge.
Then I found this 1939 picture that I never knew existed. It is a photograph by George Platt Lynes, with artist Paul Cadmus as Roman king Numa Pompilius, and a forty-five year old Lillian Gish as the mythical Egeria.
She looks like women I went to high school with in the early seventies.
Tonight, I did a colour job on one of my favourite silent actresses, Renee Adoree.
The hair was hell to work with.
So between coughing fits, I am cheerfully defacing wonderful photographs. Give hope that I get better and actually work on my own pictures. Don't send thoughts and prayers. They don't seem to work.