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  • melissamoody2010

I'm So Old That I Know Alternative Processes

Updated: Jan 30, 2023

I'm 48 years old, so I'm old enough that when I went to college at the Art Institute of Atlanta 26 years ago, we played with film and alternative processes like polaroid transfers, emulsion transfers, cyanotypes, pinhole cameras and infrared, and these processes still inspire me.

I've used infrared a couple of times in architectural photography (I call these images building portraits) because I love the artistic, dreamy quality these building portraits can take on. Infrared film sees a spectrum of light that is invisible to us; where sunlight is hitting your subject, your subject will appear to have a faint, ethereal glow, especially trees and people. Blue sky, however, can turn dark. It's difficult to find and process the film, however, and the film has to stay cold, so it's a pain to handle. However, I know how to create a similar look in Adobe Photoshop.

On the day that I photographed The Ashley Condominium, there was a storm coming, so the lighting on the building looked flat and dull. However, the blue sky and green palm trees meant it would look great as an infrared.

I brightened the green of the palm trees and the center column of the building to imitate the effects of sunlight on foliage and bright spots, darkened the blue sky as it would be in an infrared, and added a black and white adjustment layer on top. The dark blues and bright greens showed through the adjustment layer. I then enhanced the highlights and shadows, giving this portrait of the Ashley an infrared-inspired look.


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