I search for quotes from the Bahá’í sacred writings that I feel will complement my images. As I wrote yesterday, “Sometimes I have a specific passage or concept from the Bahá’í writings in my mind when I go out to take photographs. More frequently the assigned titles are afterthoughts.”
A few months ago I wrote about the flood damage that destroyed 15 years of my early photographic work and left only about 400 slides that were recoverable. The rest which numbered over 1500 slides were permanently destroyed under a deep layer of silt and sewage. Some of my photos suffered more than damage; they were simply poorly exposed or uninteresting.
This image shows a detail section of one of my photographs after I scanned it. My dedicated film scanner has the ability to suppress most scratches and dust marks. It does that by performing an infrared scan of the film after scanning its three color layers. The scanner can then clearly detect dirt and scratch marks and interpolate data from surrounding areas to fill them in. The scanner cannot do anything about larger blemishes like the mildew spot shown in the upper left corner of this image. You can see two other damaged spots also.
This photograph was cross processed. That means that it was a roll of 35mm slide film that I developed as if it were a negative. I also used a green filter to enhance the effect. The negative or opposite of green is magenta, thus the developed color. I was able to invert it in Photoshop and carefully brush out the damaged portions. I also replaced the resulting greenish sky with blue. The scanned image had a caption that I had sandwiched onto it in a slide copier. The original uncaptioned image was not retrievable because of the flood. Unfortunately this one suffered some fading and had lost its original vibrancy.
This is a scan of a lightly damaged bird image. Almost all the bird photographs that I made were at the same spot in Golden Gate Park at Mallard Lake near 25th and Lincoln Avenues. The composition was uninteresting and the red detail was difficult to bring out. Nevertheless I was unwilling to discard it.
Simply increasing contrast and brightness doesn’t really work. That results in two-dimensional bright yellow birds and a dull picture. What I really wanted was a sense of motion and dramatic color.
This is closer to what I visualized when I photographed the image.
“This is the day on which the Bird of Utterance hath warbled its melody upon the branches, in the name of its Lord, the God of Mercy. Blessed is the man that hath, on the wings of longing, soared towards God, the Lord of the Judgment Day.” — Bahá’u’lláh
This image was photographed through a very dark red filter but on a brightly lit path. There was no shadow detail to recover. The slide also had some large areas of damage in different parts that the scanner could not repair. I am still working on this image.
“By Him Who is the Truth! I fear no tribulation in His path, nor any affliction in My love for Him. Verily God hath made adversity as a morning dew upon His green pasture, and a wick for His lamp which lighteth earth and heaven.”
A page on my website shows more examples and explains more about my visualization techniques.