Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Solarisation

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In two of the sessions of our photo course we tried out solarisation. I think the ‘Solarize’ command has been in Photoshop pretty much forever, and from day one I was irritated by the fact that it makes images darker rather than lighter. Because, well, it sounds sunny and all.

Things only started making sense when I learned that the effect is about letting light fall on your print while it is developing. Which of course makes the image darker in total. But thanks to some of the magic and chemistry in the photo paper doesn’t render the image all black. Doing really great solarisations seems to be non-trivial as it seems advisable to get some paper and developer that are well-suited for the effect. With ‘well suited’ meaning that they can keep some areas of the image reasonably light even when the light falls on them.

We only had one or two kinds of developer and photo paper, though, none of which was particularly suited for this purpose. But we still gave it a shot using high-tech tools like a mobile phone screen to shine light on the prints while they were developing. I wouldn’t say the results came out all great or reproducible in our limited attempts, but they were still quite interesting and cool.

four prints, two of which have been reasonably well solarised

[Only the two top images have been reasonably well solarised. Something went wrong for the bottom left one and the bottom-right one is a non-solarised print for comparison.]

February 24, 2007, 17:00

Tagged as bw.

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