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Thread: Michael Wesely technique

  1. #1
    Senior Member dwerg85's Avatar
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    Michael Wesely technique

    I've been "analysing" (for lack of a better word) Michael Wesely's work for a long while now trying to understand how it is he makes his solargraphs.
    There are a good couple of them that seem that they could be done just the good old way of putting photo paper in a camera, putting the camera out, and forgetting it exists for a couple of months.

    But then i run into this: de10e6cd4b.jpg

    As far as i'm aware one would need to be able to develop the film / paper to be able to get those colours.
    While the text of this article betrays a bit of lack of info by the writer ("Michael started with pin-hole cameras (1988-1994) but then moved on to use large format cameras (4x5 inches) as these would provide images with a much higher amount of details." This sentence doesn't make complete sense for example), it does include some info that makes me think a bit more, but also makes me run into my lack of experience with some elements of analog photography.

    Fueled by this quote:"He said, if you'd planned to expose for a year you would have to do an exposure of 6 months, and 3 months beforehand and so on", my current hypothesis is that he's shooting during the reciprocity failure time span of the film, after first exposing the film for some time (probably shooting a black image?). There may be some usage of ND filters too to expand exposure time. But yeah, tough theories to test just out of hand.

    Do any of you have any idea about his workflow? Would be really interesting to hear what you guys think.

  2. #2
    I read the articles with the same points of confusion. It seems to me that he may be using a very large camera in conjunction with a pinhole behind a lens employing the use of neutral density filters - my guess is that these are not solargraphs in the sense that the negative is being developed.

    Cheers -

    george

  3. #3
    500+ Posts Isis's Avatar
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    But you got to admire the guys dedication, sets up a camera for 3 years, opps that didn't work. Try again......
    Regards Shane
    - Suggestions on how to improve image always welcome
    http://www.ipernity.com/home/isisford/
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  4. #4
    Absolutely, this is exceptionally cool stuff.

    Cheers -

    george

  5. #5
    I'd like to know 'how' aswell. The images are awesome. I think you might be right regarding reciprocity failure...but shooting a 'black' image does not push you down the road of reciprocity so to speak, after all, unexposed film is shooting a black image all the time.

  6. #6
    Senior Member dwerg85's Avatar
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    You have a point there jimmy, but i was thinking in the lines of when people are making double exposures. The parts of the image that have only been exposed to dark colours are easily replaced by exposing them to lighter / brighter scenes.

    But sitting here writing this i'm thinking he's in essence pre-flashing the image (like we do when exposing photo paper), he technically could just do the whole shebang as he normally would with a lensed pinhole and a stack of NDs, but using something to diffuse the light so the recording of the actual image doesn't start until the reciprocity timeframe is nice and long. I'm guessing with enough trial and error or math you could figure out how long to expose without fogging the blacks. Or he could just be fixing that in post.

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