Photo image as metaphors: Two Photometers

(WINGO, Sixtron electronic, at ASA 64 / HOLLY, Lunasix 3, at ASA 64)


If at the age of butterflies.

Instead we portraited ourselves as two photometers, or two light meters -  monotone, a little clumsy, but useful and practical.

The German electrical engineer Paul Gossen added Photometry, a branch of science that deals with measurement of the intensity of light to his company’s research and manufacturing program in 1932. From the late 1970s, under the  trademark Gossen ab the company began to produce light measuring devices for photography. In 1977, while still early in our studio practice days, we’d already started using two Gossens, one handheld light meter ‘Lunasix 3’, quickly joined by another flash light meter called ‘Sixtron electronic’. Both meters served our commercial assignments well, and we gladly allowed ourselves to adopt their images. We began to appear as a pair of photometers in our promotional materials.

In a few years time, as jobs became more complicated and light measurement needed to be more precise, we acquired another light meter - the Minolta Spotmeter M, which enables precise 1° spot measurement of ambient light. Later we had to add another meter, Spotmeter F, in order to read flash light. The device was also convenient, by pushing a switch left or right, one could easily select the AMBI or FLASH light mode. In time, when the nature of our consignments had become even more demanding, we needed to upgrade. We had to invest on the top of the line, the Minolta’s Flash Meter IV, which was considered ‘the professional meter’ of the early 1990s. It was this meter that introduced Analyzed Flash Metering, enabling us to read the proportion of exposure, from both strobe light and existing light simultaneously. It was used in our studio until we left Hong Kong in 1997. We have never met Flash Meter VI, it was born in 2003, one of the last flash meters Minolta made. We’d already departed Hong Kong en route to another country, another life. Commercial photography, along with many of its related industries, like scanning, printing and publishing, have gone completely from analog to digital. For serious and creative photography, photometer is still the basic tool to assess the kind of lighting one wants to control, keys on the keyboard for your computer input.