The Self-portrait of Sunil Azariah

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Monday 30 August 2010
Ron Brownson


I noted in my previous blog that I would post a reproduction of the Self-portrait that Sunil Azariah made at his Auckland home, probably early in 1979. The original transparency has not yet been traced so I have included a scan that his mother has provided from the vintage cibachrome print.
Interior based self-portraits were not common in our photographic history until the innovation of compact 35mm cameras during the late 1970s. Cameras like the Olympus Mju and the Polaroid SX70 altered the prevalence of self-portraits.
I was wondering how to account for the image's appearance since I have not been able to study the original transparency. I think that Sunil is likely to have been using Kodachrome, which was a daylight transparency emulsion. It is a slow daylight film so is almost always used outdoors with natural light. I think that the light on the right is supplied by a incandescent lamp, whereas the blue light at left is from a gel-covered spotlight.
Also, I think the camera is mounted on a tripod at a raking angle and that a cable release has been used for the shutter. If anyone knows more can they please contact me?

Sunil Azaraia was born in November 1957 and he passed away suddenly in August 1979.