The images in this series are abstracted Houston landscapes, shot on 35mm film. I use double, sometimes triple exposure, leaving it up to fate as to how these city landscapes will imprint themselves onto the film.

It is exciting to me that I am able to use the camera, which was designed to depict reality, to create this invented scene. There is also an irony that as the layers of exposed images build up onto the film, they are actually erasing more and more of the structure with exposed light, until the landscape becomes nothing but pieces of looming structures leading toward empty, surreal space.

The resulting landscapes are an alternative reality, a romanticized view of this city of cement freeways and overpasses….a city I love, painted like a dream that only film photography can surprise me with. Tri-X is my favorite film to shoot with- the blacks in each image never disappoint me and always feel whole.

These images were shot on Kodak Tri-X 400, a film I’ve always preferred for it’s ink-like blacks, and hearing that Robert Frank shot/shoots with it, sealed the deal for me. I wanted my Houston freeway landscapes to look like drawings in charcoal- applied and erased- swiped and partially smeared away.

To create these images, I used double, sometimes triple exposure, leaving it open to the layering as to how these city landscapes will imprint themselves onto the film. I found that the more the layers of exposed images built up onto the film, they are actually erasing more and more of the structures with exposed light.
It is not always predictable which images will overlay onto the film with double exposure, as you have to go forward twice for every time you go back once. It is also very easy to lose count, particularly for the less technically-inclined…. However, this is part of the excitement that seems to go hand in hand with film photography- surprises and “happy accidents” that allow the film to create a surreal world.

~ Colleen



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This series is being produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.



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