QuickCheck: Was petroleum jelly used to make cool effects on photographs?

PETALING JAYA: Technology has advanced so much that almost anyone with a smartphone can take pictures using various filters to create artistic images and photos.

That said, it has been repeated over the years that photographers would smear petroleum jelly onto the lens to get photos of people that looked dreamy and mysterious.

Did photographers really do this?



Yes, the substance used as an ointment for wounds, burns and chafed skin is among the various items used to give 'the glow' to Hollywood stars and actresses during its Golden Age.

Cinematographer Travis John Hoffman said that this technique was used in the early years of the film industry.

"Petroleum jelly or other substances would be rubbed on the lens or an optical flat (a clear piece of glass which sits in front of lens) to give a halation or glowing effect," he said.

Hoffman, who is also a professor at the New York Film Academy, noted that makeup and lighting also played a crucial role in making models look good.

Today, this technique is considered obsolete, crude or experimental, Hoffman told Huffpost.

"Most of the time I see students in film school trying this technique for experimental purposes," he was quoted saying.

That being said, do be careful when dealing with petroleum jelly as it could damage your camera. Remember to wipe it off your camera and hands as soon the photo session is over.

And with smartphones doubling up as cameras, there are filters that could help create the same effect for your photos; either built in to the phone or through apps like Kamon and Nomo which provide filters that will add nostalgic retro effects to the photos taken.

If you want to see how you can improve your shots with your smartphone or camera, perhaps this guide would be helpful (https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2023/02/06/want-to-take-picture-perfect-shots-the-a-to-z-of-photography).

With this knowledge in mind, go out there and snap some beautiful shots of the world!






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