Psychedelic Photography

I am very much a product of the late 1960’s. My venture into psychedelic photography began shortly after I started making color prints in my chemical darkroom. I had done monochrome solarizations and liked the effect, however, monochrome prints are tray processed and you can see and control the effect in the tray. Color prints are drum processed, there is no safelight used (thus no way to see or control the effect as you develop the print) and the time spent in the developer is very short. I decided to try my hand at tray developing color prints.

Solarizing requires exposing the print to light while it is in the developer. It is critical that it be done near the end of the developing time so that you can halt the process and still have a viable print that looks interesting. The first 2 boxes of paper I tried this on got me 1 image I liked. This was a very expensive approach. About 12 sheets into the third box of paper I had figured that my light source needed to be very short duration and if I filtered the output I could control which dye layer would be affected. by the fiftieth sheet I had my technique under control. Now I had a method of creating images that pleased the inner hippie in me.

The learning curve for Adobe Photoshop was not particularly difficult for me. Mostly because the terms were similar to what I had been doing for over 25 years in my chemical darkroom. But, since I had created my images in a method that did not utilize any of the terms found in the documentation that came with Photoshop, my psychedelic work would have to be figured out a second time. This time, there wouldn’t have to be any wasted paper or ink. About a month after mastering normal image creation using a scanner and playing with the settings in Photoshop, I finally figured out how to create my favorite images. Not only that, the image and print could be reliably duplicated! This now gave me the freedom to enjoy myself. I was back to having a relaxing hobby, spared from the expense of paper chemicals and ink that went mostly into the garbage stream.

It is my hope that you find these images enjoyable and that they feed your inner hippie!