Fun with Infrared Photography (special thanks to Joe, Tom and Frank)

These are from recently found 35mm infrared color slides that I shot when I first arrived at Emory & Henry College, in Southwest Virginia, in the Spring of 1973. Scanned into Photoshop, I have pumped up the color a bit but it remains reasonably true to the original. There was also some fading from time as well. I was originally put off by the sprocket holes that probably occurred from my lack of loading or unloading skills.  Infrared film must be handled in total darkness when loading or unloading the film! But I now find the sprocket holes charming as I appreciate the sloppy, happy accidents that can happen in film photography. The film was Kodak Infrared color with an E-6 process. Kodak discontinued the film in 2007. I’ve heard that color infrared is still available from a small German manufacturer in 120 format. These images were shot with either a Canon 35mm FTB or TLB. Filters? Beats me!

Click on any photo to view it on my zenfolio site in full-screen, high-res splendor

Joe in the Graveyard 1

I’m not sure what Joe was doing here (sampling pine needles…mmm!) but we were great pals and he was always a willing photo subject. More shots of Joe to be found on my zenfolio site in the “rogue’s gallery”. Click any photo to get to the site and navigate to the gallery of rogues.

Joe in the Graveyard 2
Campus Swan

Love the color of the Swan’s beak…non photoshopped!

Chippie the wonderdog

Our official dorm dog. When his owner Steve graduated, Chippie wore a little cap and walked with Steve to pick up his diploma and got the largest applause of all graduates.

Hippies on the roof

Claytor Greybeal and myself on the roof of McKenney House dorm playing to the birds. Clay is playing my Gibson ES-175 that I still play. Photo by Joe perhaps?

John Thompson in a pensive mood

Primarily blue from window light.

My brother, Thomas Cox, also a photographer, actually knows what he is doing with digital black and white photography. He uses a Digital IR Sigma SD14 w/IR filter. Click on the image to see a slideshow of his B/W digital infrared photography (also located at zenfolio, link to his site also located in my blogroll).

Boston North End Graveyard by Thomas Cox

I think my original interest in Infrared color came from it’s use in various album art at the time. The cover of Zappa’s Hot Rats is my all-time favorite infrared shot.

Frank Zappa’s Hot Rats 1969

Photo by Ed Caraeff, who has taken many classic photos of rock and roll greats. Album design by Cal Schenkel. I found some info online with recollections by Cal Schenkel who said the woman in the picture was Christine Frka, a member of the GTOs (Girls together outrageously, occasionally, etc) produced by FZ. Christine also babysat for the Zappas. Cal states that she died of an overdose sometime in the 70’s. The setting for the picture was a lilypond in a burnt out Beverly Hills mansion.


Here’s another great example of infrared photography in the Rock world…

Are you Experienced Cover photo by Karl Ferris

According to Wikipedia, Karl was the man in demand for British Rock “psychedelic” photography. He also did cover photos for Donovan, Cream and others. In the mid-60’s Infrared was then only used for specialized aerial photography. Kodak wanted to broaden its market and noticed Karl’s work and had him use infrared film and were so pleased with the results that they gave him a one man show at their London gallery.

Other resources

Film/supplies : Freestyle photographic. Mailorder greats. Good selection of films (including infrared B/W), chemistry, tech notes, Holgas, inspiration and more.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Awesome photos, Vance! I’m so glad I popped over to your blog to see what you’ve been up to. Great little history tidbits in here, too. Are you going to have any of these printed for the art show in November?

    1. Vance Cox says:

      Hi Shelley, thanks! Perhaps one or two might make it into the show…you never know!

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