The idea of a constructed photograph is not something that I explored so far because I have been largely focusing on landscape and natural elements. However, I have practiced the transformed and transposed photography and infrared photography.
Thus the photograph presented here depicts the iconic landscape of Colombian highlands with the strong diagonals of the hilly slopes and the verticals of Ceroxylon palm trees asserting themselves against the background of lush tropica vegetation. It has been made on a 35mm infrared film camera with special filters and tripods that had to be used to create this effect.
I realized that because I was due to travel a lot it was better to process the film to avoid bringing it in contact with the X-ray machines at the airports. I found the Lomogrpahy store in Bogota and came to deposit my film. It is infrared, said I, it is very sensitive. Do you understand? ‘Si’ was the confident answer. I handed over the money. Five seconds later, the lady opened the lid on my light tight canister. Pandora’s box indeed. Shocked and dismayed, I understood that the light has entered the film camera, which can only be treated in subdued light. The only image that was saved came from the very centre of the film strip. This is the image you can see above.
I would like to experiment more with the idea of constructed images using infrared film. Some of the landscapes I am planning to explore in the future would lend themselves beautifully to the infrared film allowing me to create a new series. Equally, experiments with transposed colour with film photographs would be one of my intentions. Identifying key landscapes where this approach could work would be the first step. My guess is that iconic trees like pines, oaks, palms, baobabs would be really effective as subjects for this series. I could use strong compositions balancing the trunks and the branches against the landscape, the clouds and the sky. Post production will play an important role.
Considering the image that worked using this technique I would like to give an example of a photograph below. This work has incredible colour contrast, a lot of subtle tonal detail in the hills and the forest and very strong compositional elements represented by the palms in the foreground and receding hills in the background.
Image (c) Dr Stanislav Shmelev
On the other hand, another image, presented below didn’t work so well on my opinion. The transformation lost the tonal changes in the landscape, the diversity of colour is not so spectacular as in the image above. The composition itself might be good, but the way the colours were transformed here didn’t reach the desired effect for me.
The plans for developing my practice in this regards could be to explore iconic landscapes featuring key tree species, including pine, baobab, oak, palms with the help of infrared and transposed colour techniques. Some funding might be required to film these locations, so my strategy for the moment will be to use the opportunities I currently have without using extra resources. This is definitely a long term project and it might take several years to bring it to fruition.