Sunday, January 3, 2010

Solar Psychadelia

How to explain solarization...basically it's shining light on a frame or print while it's still developing (I think?).  I learned about the process back in high school, when all that mattered were those nice shiny A's.  My solarized prints for a photo assignment weren't great, but I didn't put too much effort into my work.  The way I learned how to solarize photographs was probably much simpler than Man Ray's 'perfected' method which produced the well-known work above, Sleeping Woman (1929).  The process actually requires precise timing, something I didn't consider for my project. I guess I should say...LAST YEAR, I found that solarization wasn't a technique only reserved for high art (by high art, I mean stuff created simply for the sake of art then later auctioned off by Christie's with reserve prices that reach like 100K). But then again 'high art' is an ambiguous term.  I found a few solarized images in my favorite print medium...the magazine!  Here are some tear sheets as well as a few more of Man Ray's stunning works.

The Louis Vuitton Spring 2009 ad campaign shot by Steven Meisel is an obvious example of solarization used for fashion photography.  Not my favorite campaign, though and it's not just because of Madonna (I kid...I sort of like one of her songs).  As advertisements, the solarization doesn't really work, especially since the images and colors are distorted.  Too busy-looking...pretty colors, though!

The solarized parts of this Interview (December 2009) editorial by Craig McDean are so subtle but the small flashes of wild colors are just enough to stun.  Bottega Veneta is one of my collections for spring, even if Kasia looks like she's wearing a diaper.  I love the lines of electric blue on her clothing.

Hanne's necklace is beautiful!!

Freja tries to make up for the lunch she skipped.

Tom Guinness...same editorial, just not wearing Bottega. Random.

Richard Avedon's solarized portraits of The Beatles, distributed by the Daily Express in the UK, Stern Magazine in Europe, and LOOK Magazine in the US (I recently received the issue as a gift!!!!  Still really happy!!) in 1967 and early 1968. I wish I knew how he created these prints.

And now for Man Ray's photos...

Calla Lilies, 1930.

The Veil, 1930.  Reminds me of that photo (sorry, it's small) promoting the Vanity Fair Portraits exhibit at LACMA.

Double Portraits (?)

Self-Portrait with Camera, 1932.

Profile and Hands, 1932.  It's like he traced the image.

Image Sources:, Bengt of tFS, Fashion Gone Rogue, Christie's website, Art Deco Blog, Getty Museum website


Anne said...

So cool!

AsianCajuns (Lauren) said...

Ooo I love these! Thanks so much for sharing them. I had just assumed that the LV ads were photoshopped to look that way. We never learned about solarizing in my art history classes. I think I just felt my brain wrinkle. Thanks, Lucy!

oh and p.s. We aren't the only ones to say "prezies" ;) I picked it up when I lived in the UK. All my flat mates said it. Hope you got a lot of good ones over the holidays!

✿ e m i r i said...

oh wow. i really like the colors on the madonna one! too bad the attention goes more to her and not the bag... i didn't even realize it was LV right away.