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?’

5 thoughts on “Kuster – ‘Old School Editing’ – By Kevin Kuster”

  1. 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. 🙂

  2. 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. 🙂


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