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Muire Dougherty photographed by Kevin Warnock

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Muire Dougherty photographed in 1989 by Kevin Warnock

Muire Dougherty photographed in 1989 by Kevin Warnock

Yesterday I wrote about the 1948 movie The Red Shoes. This is a wonderful movie. The female lead actor is Moira Shearer. Writing yesterday’s post made me think of one of my first girlfriends, Moira Dougherty.

Since I’ve been posting a lot of examples of my photography here recently, I decided to post the one and only high resolution photograph I ever took of Dougherty. She wasn’t at my house to model. But I had the backdrop set up and needed to test the lighting. Back then I shot with an Omega 45F 4×5″ view camera, and I used large format Polaroid black and white film to test lighting and exposure. The photograph you see here is an 800 DPI scan of that sole Polaroid print I created in 1989. I cleaned it up a bit in Photoshop, but it didn’t need much work as it’s been sitting in a manilla folder for decades, in the dark. Dougherty used the first name Moira when we were dating, but now she uses her real first name Muire.

I regret I didn’t complete a real photo shoot with Dougherty, as she has her eyes closed in the picture above. I didn’t know that until today when I was able to enlarge the scan I made today. I still think the shot is worth publishing, because it captures her beauty. If Dougherty is ever in town, I’d be up for doing that photo shoot she suggested way back when. This time I would use my Canon 5D Mark II DSLR, which captures fine detail almost as well as my view camera did.

Dougherty is a graduate of the film school at San Francisco State University. Back in 1989 there were no affordable modern camcorders that could shoot in color, and I recall Dougherty wanted a camcorder anyway. Shooting on movie film was and remains very expensive. Dougherty was working at Peets Coffee at the time, so being able to record repeatedly on tape was very appealing.

Dougherty seriously considered getting a Fisher Price PXL-2000. This black and white camcorder recorded at low resolution in black and white on standard, still available audio cassettes at about 15 frames per second. Amazingly, this camera is highly coveted even today, with examples selling on EBay for more than they sold for new in the 1980s. The camera has an extensive WikiPedia entry which illustrates Dougherty’s good taste in cameras as a young university graduate.

I have nearly every photograph I’ve ever taken, and I plan to go back into my film archive and scan and publish the best of my early work. Today I scanned and published the first film based photograph from my past. Thanks Moira for the kick start I needed on this project.

Written by Kevin Warnock

August 10th, 2011 at 5:00 am

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