No. 20. The Infrared Show, Part III

Photos in a Different Spectrum

Dreamy and Surreal

Infrared photography emerged parallel to experimentation with new music forms and mind-altering substances in the late 1960s. Jimi Hendrix, Donovan, Frank Zappa and the Grateful Dead all issued albums featuring infrared cover art. Infrared radiation is not visible to the human eye. That part of the spectrum is quite a bit wider than the visible band. Reflected infrared in the portion of the spectrum closest to what we can see produces dreamy, surreal images when captured with a specially modified camera. Leafy vegetation reflects about 80 percent of the IR from sunlight, thus giving the appearance of being nearly white—sometimes appearing fluffy at others highly detailed. Flowers and clouds reflect nearly 100 percent of the IR as protection from the heat of sunlight. On the other hand, rocks or a blue sky can absorb a great deal of IR, thus sometimes appearing black.
Color as we know it is part of the visible spectrum. No color exists in the infrared. False Color schemes can be developed by massaging color vestiges recorded by digital sensors. Most of my images are recorded using a camera modified to block wavelengths above 720nm (nanometers). A few were captured on a “full-spectrum camera” outfitted with a 590nm (supercolor IR filter.)

Infrared was only discovered in 1800 by astronomer William Herschel. The first photographs were captured by American physicist Robert W. Wood in 1910. Specialized night-vision and heat-sensing IR applications are only available to deep-pocketed military, police, and research institutions.

Photos can be purchased through the Art Plus Gallery online store

Jay M. Ressler

Jay Ressler Composite Photography, Encaustic Art, and Oil Painting He is an outstanding location photographer and painter, with an eye that can capture the soul of a Havana back street as beautifully as the sip of a hungry hummingbird, often with compelling black and white images. Jay Ressler is best known for artistic expression that lives in layers between opposites. “I like to explore boundaries,” he explains. “Boundaries between consciousness and the unconscious, between reality and imagination, between certainty and skepticism.” He does this by compositing his own photography in multiple layers to produce stunningly original, interleaved images. Using Photoshop, other image manipulation software and a variety of digital effects, he paints one photographic layer on top of another. He takes advantage of textures he's captured along with an array of processes for manipulating light, contrast, and color to tell the story. “Distorting and reinterpreting the literal 'machine moments' captured by the camera is as old as the art of photography,” he insists. Jay occasionally extends his multi-layered approach to encaustic mixed media creations. Based on ancient techniques, the process begins with cooking his own recipes of beeswax and damar resin and applying this medium between the layers of photographic images, along with various pigmented compounds and materials to add color, texture and expression. Either way, the results are riveting. The viewer is drawn into an unfolding, dreamlike scene that might be heart-warming, haunting, gritty, poignant or magical. Sometimes, within the various layers, all of the above. The award-winning photographer/artist has many dimensions himself. He studied advanced digital photography at Pittsburgh Filmmakers and advanced encaustic techniques with leading instructors in the field. He worked as an underground coal miner, steelworker, machinist, labor and civil rights activist, copywriter and commercial printer. He has a BS in Psychology from Albright College.

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