Digital Imitating Darkroom (Solarisation/Sabatier)

Continuing on with the digital aspect of photography this time I’m concentrating on Solarisation.

Discovered in the 1800’s it is a technique very much associated with photographer Man Ray. He discovered it during an accident in the darkroom involving Lee Miller.

The technique used in the darkroom involves developing a black and white image in the developer and exposing it to light once the image appears on the paper. The light source is then removed and the next stage of the developing process can continue. This produces an image with silvery tones that look similar to a negative in that the image has a high contrast and the highlights and shadows are back to front. What I mean by that is that the light areas become dark and the dark areas become light. The mid-tones stay the same.

Black & White Solarisation

The four images above are my examples of digital solarisation on black and white images. The fourth image on the end has been done using a different technique to the other three and I’ve added a pink tone to photograph. This image lacks the soft focus which has been added to the other three and I can’t decide whether or not I prefer it.

The first three images comprise of a soft focus and a metallic appearance with plenty of sharp highlights and dark tones. However you can still see the mid-tones which allow the textures and details present within the image to show through.

I have completed a solarisation in the darkroom and prefer this to the digital version although it is harder to do and the results vary. I will post this to the darkroom section further down the line so keep a look out!

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