COLUMNS,  Kuster,  News

Kuster – ‘Old School Editing’ – By Kevin Kuster

We’re really excited to publish the first in a series of five specialist ‘old school’ posts by our Columnist and former Playboy Photo Editor Kevin Kuster, to his Column ‘Kuster. I can really relate to Kevin’s article, many years ago I worked at a paparazzi photo agency in London and spent a good deal of my time crouched over a light table with an oversized Nikon loupe, over to you Kevin (foreword by Joanne Carter)…



Image © Kevin Kuster


Image © Thom King – @say_cheez (Instagram). 20×24 Polaroids © David Levinthal

I am not one to dwell on the “good old days” of photography. I have completely embraced digital photography and specifically mobile photography. I sincerely love everything about mobile photography.

With that being said, there are some things I DO miss; for example, editing Kodachrome slides on a light table with a great Schneider 4X magnifier.

There was something about closing one eye, looking into the magnifier and viewing a single image.Time seemed to be locked down and your level of concentration heightened.

Viewing images like this totally closed off the entire world and allowed you to focus on that single image. This style of editing also allowed you to move rapidly from one image to the next. See one you like…BAM…push it up, set it aside and keep moving.



Image © Kevin Kuster


Prior to digital photography I also loved the tactile sensation of physically interacting with slides, negatives and prints. After shooting and processing your images you actually had something to hold, feel and store.

When I was producing photographs for Playboy Magazine I had the great luxury of working with beautiful 8×10’ film positives. I even had the amazing opportunity to use a gigantic view camera that shot 20” x 24” Polaroids! The camera is as big as a Volkswagen and creates instant 20” x 24” Polaroids ready for framing, the moment the they come out of the camera. Using a loupe was essential when you were under a dark cloth focusing these large format cameras.

I love mobile photography; however, can someone please develop a fully functional, three dimensional eye loupe that pops up on your iPhone?

If I had this feature, I could completely block the world out when selecting my images. It would also give my aching thumb a break from swiping image to image.

Kickstarter campaign anyone?’

When not performing my covert operations for the FBI, I spend my free time saving baby harp seals in the most populated area of the Arctic. On Holiday’s I travel to London to play Mac Beth at the Savoy Theatre. I frolic, I weave, I connect dots, I carve soap sculptors and I am a part time Lego artist. Although there is no know record of it, I once won the Nobel peace prize for my ground breaking and innovative designs with shelf-paper. I spotted, trapped and released Big Foot while camping on the Yukon River. I am the man behind the voice on Movie Phone. I never buckle my seat belt while on a plane. I saw the real Jim Morrison perform live last week in a small hotel bar in San Juan Puerto Rico. He sang, DON’T GET AROUND MUCH ANYMORE and hummed the theme song from STAR WARS. I am the player to be named later in any professional draft. Every other Tuesday morning I play dodge-ball with the Pope at the Vatican under St. Peter’s square. I always let His Excellency win! I refuse allow gravity to effect me. I have a map that shows the exact location of the fountain of youth. I fly a Pegasus to save on gas. And I was employed at Playboy Magazine for 18 years and served as the Senior Photography Editor and Managing Content Producer for Playboy Digital. Currently, I am a photographer, producer, Chief Editor at the #JJ community (@joshjohnson on Instagram) and a partner at Creator Gallery. Although I have had a relatively quiet life thus far, I see some really excitement times coming my way writing for


  • Janine Graf

    A 20 x 24 Polaroid?!?! Wow!

    I do miss the days of film myself, excitedly picking up my developed film and sitting in my hot car to go through them, too anxious to wait until I got home. Those were the days. I never had the opportunity to develop my film myself so I imagine you miss them even more so. 🙂

  • Laurie

    I remember learning to develop black/white film when I was in college and developing my own prints. Spending hours in the dark with the smell of chemicals and learning to cut and roll film on reels in the dark. My dark room was my escape from reality. I could manipulate things into a new reality. I miss those days. 🙂