An Odalisque in 3200

Bronwen — Photograph — Alex Waterhouse-Hayward

An odalisque (Turkish: Odalık) was a chambermaid or a female attendant in a Turkish seraglio, particularly the court ladies in the household of the Ottoman sultan.

The English and French term odalisque (rarely odalique) derives from the Turkish ‘oda’, meaning “chamber”; thus an odalisque originally meant a chamber girl or attendant. In western usage, the term has come to refer specifically to the harem concubine. By the eighteenth century the term odalisque referred to the eroticized artistic genre in which a nominally eastern woman lies on her side on display for the spectator.


I look back quite often at what I did recently (about 4 few years ago) before I purchased my Fuji X-E1 digital camera.

My method for shooting was to use multiple cameras of multiple formats with film that was in colour and in b+w. This particular photograph here I took of Bronwen, now living in Singapore) in her bed room using my Mamiya RB-67 Pro-SD with a very old roll of Delta 3200 b+w film in 120 format. Because it was old it had lost its sensitivity to light and the negatives (9 exposures) are a tad underexposed.

When I scan any b+w negative film with my Epson Perfection V700 Photo I always scan it as RGB (Red, green & blue). This means that after scanning I can tint the resulting positive in whatever shade I may want. As an example if I add cyan and blue the picture will look like a cyanotype of the 19thcentury.

For this photograph I have done nothing. After scanning the mysterious blue above and below appeared with that magical warming colour in the middle. I was not going to modify something I liked so I darkened the picture a tad and there it is.

Link to: An Odalisque in 3200

Originally published at