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Geranium Behind Glass, 5_82
From Separations to Composite - Separati

The PERMANENCE Project

 

PERMANENCE is my ultimate passion project. I’ve wanted to do it for over 5 years, and it’s a 3-part in-progress project.  

 

It is about full-color photographs - but not taken with color film or with a digital camera.  One color photograph consists of three exposures made on black-and-white film, each exposure through a "sharp-cutting" color filter called a "separation" filter.  Despite the extra work involved to create the final image, it is so rich with a natural and pure beauty that I find superior to color film and digital cameras. 

 

The first part of the project is a celebration of the father of practical color separation film photography, the Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky.  He pitched the Czar, who was an avid photographer himself, on the idea that he could take full-color photographs of Russia - and they would last forever.  You can see some of the 100 restorations I have done to his work by pressing on the "Part 1 - Separations Restorations" button.

The second part is my own color separation photographic work, which I started doing in the 80’s and continue to shoot.  You can see them below by pressing on the "Part 2 - Original Separations" button.

The third part is the most crucial: a compendium of knowledge that summarizes, historically as well as currently in the digital era, how color separation photographic images are made.  I will describe how digital tools can recombine original separations from film and how to make digital separations from color film and digital camera images.   Whether the separations are original or digitally made, if they are cared for properly, they can - as Prokudin-Gorsky promised - last forever, and thus preserved, they will have that same breathtaking brilliance as when we first saw them.