Color Infrared Film with Heather Boyd
Written by Mary Thomas
Photographer, illustrator, and pastel-fanatic Heather Boyd shows us the world in shades of pink and blue. No, this isn’t a Lightroom preset or a post-processing series of clicks and adjustments.
Her secret? Color infrared film.
Heather worked with a lot of different film stocks over several months before finding one that suited her colorful palette. She made her way through our film inventory and beyond, research eventually leading her to Kodak Aerochrome. This is the same film used by Richard Mosse in his striking photographs of the Congo in 2011. Whereas a lot of the power in Mosse’s work comes from the deep reds of what is usually green jungle, Heather’s photographs play with pastel pink and fuchsia to achieve a look that echoes the color palette of herpaintings and illustrations.
“My goal while working with film, is to work within its history while also advancing it. In 2013, I picked up my first analog camera and last November I came across my first roll of Aerochrome. Aerochrome has a history of war as a tool of aerial surveillance for enemy camps in highly vegetated areas. I take the film out of that context and instead use it to create beautiful, strange, surreal, flat dreamscapes”
“All of the images show the world in a way that is not natural to our everyday perceptions. Due to color shifts, subjects and objects change; green shifts to pink, red to yellow, blues become more varied and saturated, and highlights gain a translucent quality. The world might appear to be more lush and vivid in these photographs but I hope viewing the world through an altered lens points out how fragile and ethereal our world already is. Through this ‘unearthly’ exploration of the landscape I hope the viewer will also examine their own relationship with the natural world.”
We’re inspired by Heather’s exploration and her eagerness to try different and challenging mediums. Stepping outside of one’s comfort zone when creating is wildly important.
Need to get your hands on a roll? We don’t stock Aerochrome ourselves, but you can find it through the Film Photography Project here. Aerochrome is exclusive to FPP and their site includes great (and important) tips for handling and exposing the film.
We do run a full E-6 line in our shop, so we can process your Aerochrome once you have finished shooting it. We have been processing Heather’s film for months as well as those of several other customers, including one customer who photographed the recent eclipse on color IR film. The film must always be kept in complete darkness, so make sure to keep it in the black plastic can to protect it while bringing it to us. Some E-6 developing machines can be harmful to Aerochrome film since they use infrared sensors to detect passing film, which can fog the infrared-sensitive Aerochrome. Don’t worry, our E-6 process doesn’t use such a machine and is safe for all color infrared film. Hooray!