One of my action steps for 2019 is to explore other ways of rendering my traces / negatives, and that includes infrared. I am particularly taken with how Judy Glickman Lauder mixes black & white and infrared, depending on the subject at hand, in her work on Denmark and the holocaust.
I very rarely have posted a ‘technical’ item in the CRJ, but I felt this needed recording. To get started, I got a Hoya IR filter (720nm) to experiment with on my digital cameras, before plunging into IR film or even converting a camera.
The chlorophyll in living cells absorbs blue and red visible light – reflecting to the human eye as green. Infrared light is strongly reflected by chlorophyll, so living greens are rendered as almost pure white in black and white images.
I set up one of my Nikons, to take a test shot.
As the IR filter is virtually opaque to the human eye, manual focusing before using it was essential. Then, with a little trial and error, the best settings using the filter were ISO 6400, F/16, and +5 stops exposure compensation, which led to shutter speeds in the several second range. The result, out of the camera with no adjustment:
RAW Infra Red with IR Filter
Adjusting colour balance, contrast and so forth led to this, somewhat in the style of Richard Mosse:
Colour & Contrast Balanced
Whilst I am not yet convinced of the aesthetic here, It is noticeable how the infrared is pushing viewer’s attention to the sky and the middle distance – the upright conifers and the hillside.
I now decided to turn to black and white. First, a straight forward conversion of the original ‘natural colour’ image:
Black & White
Then, a conversion of the colour infrared to black and white,
This is something quite disconcerting about this latter image, again those large conifers, but with a ghostly presence. By contrast, the ‘straight’ black and white is rather flat.
To be continued.
GLICKMAN LAUDER, Judy. 2018. Beyond the Shadows: The Holocaust and the Danish Exception. New York: Aperture.
MOSSE, Richard. 2012. Infra. Available at http://www.richardmosse.com/projects/infra (accessed 12/11/2018).