Shades of Gray: Part II

| posted on January 08, 2013

Rob Gilley

Previously in denial about his photographic past, Rob Gilley now rummages through his trove of mediocrity.

In the aftermath of bloated holiday servings, may I offer some lighter fare: Five images, stripped down to the bare bones, presented in simple shades of gray. A more digestible visual blog for your viewing appetite.

All photos pictured below were shot on Agfa Scala transparency film, a past favorite among professionals, now long dead. Undeservedly maligned for having an inherent black within its grain pattern, Scala had incredible mid-tone performance, and just got contrast-ier the more you push-processed it. In a strong sense, it was a perfect black and white film for surf photography because it was relatively fast, provided ever-so-slight edging and detail to white water, and had just enough grain to soften a portrait. Through grit and the illusion of depth, Scala offered a visual realism that, in my opinion, is still unmatched by digital capture.

Rob Machado, Oceanside. Photo: Gilley

Keith and Chris Malloy. Photo: Gilley

Unidentified, Cloudbreak. Photo: Gilley

Mavericks. Photo: Gilley

Mexico. Photo: Gilley

  • jojo

    love scala and film, but i’d have to respectfully disagree with the final sentence. any photographer worth his/her weight in salt–shooting raw, keeping an eye on the histogram, using a newer body with good dynamic range, employing a deft touch in post-processing with regard to certain tonal configurations–can produce results that are very similar if not practically indistinguishable from scala or other types of film, including señor gilley’s beloved chromes. (sans grain, of course).

  • Richard Goesintight

    Maybe this will be the winter Craig Anderson catches a wave over 4ft. Talk about the most over rated surfer in the history of the sport. I can’t believe the mags work this guys shaft like he’s micheal Jordan. 360 airs, big deal half the groms I know can do them. Dave rastabitch too, that stinky troll has never ridden anything I’ve 6ft. Go makua 66 ft

  • Jon Kersey

    I’m with you Rob. Like the song goes “Black is black I want my baby back….”

  • Sara

    “Scala offered a visual realism that, in my opinion, is still unmatched by digital capture”.

    I to once shot scala, but your images here look like digital images turned into black and white. My point is, it wouldn’t be rocket science to add some grain to digital files.

  • Jimmy the Saint

    Richard (does your name refer to something traumatic that happened to you in prison?)- I think you are too stupid to figure your post has nothing to do with this article, but your stupid comment cannot go unchallanged. Maybe Craig and Dave don’t ride the biggest waves, so what? Only a select and dedicated few do. There are few surfers in the world that ride with the grace and style of those two mentioned above. But I am sure you ride waves in a much more aesthetically pleasing manner than either Dave or Craig and that is why you are a pro surfer and grace the pages of magazines like Surfer. That was sarcasim by the way, but I sincerely mean this – I’m sure both those guys have ridden waves much bigger, and way heavier than you will ever do!