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  • Michael Kohnhorst

1975 Pastoral


a young girl in a blue dress picks wildflowers in low afternoon backlight
Blue Dress Yellow Flowers - Jacksonville 1975

I was shooting stills for a band at a Bluegrass Music Festival near Jacksonville. The band had finished their set and I was wandering around looking for shots in the low afternoon sun when I came upon a father and daughter picking wildflowers. The father saw me raise my camera. He stepped back, revealing this beautiful composition.


Technically, the Schneider 135mm lens I was using on my battered old Retina Reflex was slightly soft. Built in the early sixties, that lens wasn't blessed with the modern coatings that render contrast so well in backlit situations like this, and I was shooting Ektachrome slide film which, in comparison to digital cameras, had quite limited dynamic range.


But, as I look at this photograph today, the combination of an soft lens and contrasty film express a dreamy, impressionistic look that captured the moment with an emotional clarity that today's technically superior equipment might have obscured.

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