The Graflex Crown Graphic 4x5 press camera was the camera of choice for posed action images from 1950 to the 1970’s.
The process. The photographer would add a Polaroid back on the camera. This would provide both an extremely high-resolution positive and negative. Film that yields both a positive print and a negative image can be used to create enlargements for both prints and publications.
While researching “a Hullabaloo in Auburn” by Leah Atkins and Vince Dooley, we discovered this photo in the Auburn University Special Collections and Archives. Our chief photographer for Auburn University, Jeff Etheridge had the back story.
“There was a guy who would travel around to all the schools and photograph the football teams. He would shoot group and posed action shots. To do this he would mount the Graflex camera on the ground and chalk a box on the field. He would do this to show what was in focus. The photographer and his assistant would have the athletes run cross patterns, throwing, kicking, catching and diving into the camera. The low angle made the players look like giants. The photographer could see his image immediately after he captured it. This was key for shooting action.As far as I know he was the only photographer at the time who was using this technique and was in demand.”
Pictured are a few examples of Graflex photography featuring Vince Dooley and George Atkins from the 50’s.