Instagram Who? Creating Vintage-style Photos With A 19th Century Color Photography Technique
We know what you’re thinking… “Where are those 3D glasses I had laying around?” But the images you see here were not digitally manipulated to render that effect. Though American artist Adam Ferriss admits that they are “reminiscencent of 3D images,” his photos are produced by tri-color separation. According to Young-Helmholtz’s theory of trichromatic color vision, the human eye has three types of photoreceptors, each of which is sensitive to a type of light. They were classified as red, green, and blue—and that’s where that RGB acronym used to define color patterns on image software comes from, for instance.
Color photography, printing, and television all rely on some application of trichromatic principles. What Ferriss did was research that concept to discover what it would be like to see those three different visions separately, essentially undoing the synthesis our brain does when it visualizes colors.
“The camera is put still and it captures the movements of objects/plants in three different types of exposure,” says Ferriss. “It’s really the oldest method to create color photos,” he elaborates, referring to the first color photos produced around 1860 through the color separation method created by Scottish physicist James Maxwell. “Rendering that process and introducing some digital element, like a pixel sorting algorithm, seemed to me like an interesting way to turn an old procedure into something unexpected.”
“To me, color separation is a broader way to see movement and color. You see each channel in a different moment. When you shoot motionless scenes, you see a normal-looking photo. If there’s wind or even if the camera moves just a little bit, then the channels separate. Deflection or the lack of it is what really interests me about this process.”
“The 3D aesthetics is a byproduct of the color separation process. If you look at them [his images] with 3D glasses, they may look interesting, but they will not be tridimensional. I was more interested in the way things change colors in a certain time span.”