B&W Infrared Film Portraits, Hwa / 화 ( 9 photos )

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Here we have nine portraits of my friend Hwa ( 화 ). She was the perfect model, keeping extremely still. Most of these exposures were around 2 seconds in length due to the nearly opaque infrared filter required. Not stirring in the slightest bit for two full seconds is more difficult than one might think. Hwa is also deaf so me communicating to her was a bit of a challenge, but she was very natural in front of the camera. In general, we mostly converse through text messages, body language, and notes jotted down on paper. She knows extremely little English, so I have to use my Korean skills to convey any thoughts. She’s also teaching me Korean sign language, which I must say is quite fun. In exchange, I’m teaching her how to skateboard – something she has picked up very quickly and without too much struggle.

I took these portraits last week with a Rolleiflex Automat A on expired ( September 2010 ) Efke IR 820 black and white infrared film. I typically shoot Ekfe Aura, which tends to give more of a glowing, blossoming look, but in my opinion the IR 820 film is also quite superb as far as infrared films are concerned. These photos represent my first true attempt at shooting portraits with black and white infrared film. I tended to shoot more landscapes on this type of film in the past. What do you all think? Should I give black and white infrared portraits another go in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

These photos were captured with a Rolleiflex Automat A on expired ( 9/2010 ) Efke IR 820 black and white infrared film, Hoya R72 filtered and personally developed in the darkroom with stock D76. © Patrick Bresnahan

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21 thoughts on “B&W Infrared Film Portraits, Hwa / 화 ( 9 photos )

  1. Very beautiful images, great work!
    Strange though with the black dress…. Her shoes and hair is still dark, wonder what’s the difference? Do you know Patrick?

    • I’m not completely sure to be honest. I know that some things reflect IR light, other objects don’t. Whatever her shoes were made of apparently doesn’t reflect much infrared light. Hair too, I suppose. I’m not sure of what material Hwa’s dress was made. I’ll have to ask. Maybe cotton reflects a lot of IR light…?

      • I don’t have a clue… But it is really thrilling to discover unexpected things happening! A bit of the charm with film photography.. You’ll never know…
        The skintones are really exquisite here!! I wonder if it “works” on wrinkles…. 😉

      • Yes it is thrilling! To me, shooting film is simply more fun. The anticipation is always so alluring. When shooting digital, there’s too much instant gratification. I feel film will always be my preferred medium : )

        Anyhow, I’m glad you like these skin tones! I was quite pleased with the turnout. I didn’t realize just how WHITE the skin would appear. It even looks like it’s glowing, and I didn’t even shoot the Efke Aura version. I bet it would work on wrinkles, actually. It seems to soften the way skin looks and any ‘glow’ effect might wash out any appearance of wrinkles or pimples. Thanks as always for your comments and kind words!

  2. Charming! Your model is fabulous, and I really love the pensive/ contemplative feel. No. 8 is my fav, for that feeling….and the lovely shadows.

  3. I love these shots. Generally, I don’t like “analysing” photos but I feel like making an exception here! These are great – very “stylised” (I mean that in a good way!!) – they’d be great for a fashion shoot in the sense that they give a clarity in the foreground and a softness in the background, but the whole “feel” is very unique. I have no idea if any of this makes sense, but you get the idea! Really lovely and original!

    • It makes perfect sense to me ^^ I agree, I think this film would work really well for fashion photography. If I ever get the chance to do some work in that field, I’d certainly give shooting black and white IR a go. I appreciate your comments, thank you!

  4. Stunning work, as per usual, I was interested enough to try a photoshop tutorial to emulate IR photography (faux digital), and came to the conclusion that there is nothing like the real thing..

    • Thanks ^^ I agree, digital infrared photography just doesn’t stand up to the real stuff. From what I understand, the look that color infrared film gives cannot be duplicated with digital cameras either. For me, I’ll always prefer film. I’d rather take a shot on film and be pleased with the results – as opposed to shooting digitally and spending hours in front of the computer on photoshop before I’m satisfied with the image. Anyhow, that’s just my take : ) Thanks for your comments!

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