Blues in the Night

Grace Sirman
Junior, Stamps School of Art & Design


Digital Photograph (Solograph)


Blues in the Night is the quiet solitude of the cold, the fast approaching darkness of a winter that still shocks the southerner in me. And yet, the searing heat of the sun still shines, weaving through the bare branches of the wood. The dappled freckles of sun on the snow comforting, I want to remember this serene place before it completely dwindles, before in two or three years, when there will be no trees for my foreground, no snow to reflect the light, no sun to light the sky.

Blues in the Night was made with a makeshift pinhole camera with two tall, energy drink cans, to capture a solargraph over the course of two and a half weeks. Using a can opener to take off the top of one can, and cutting about 3/4ths of the other can to function like an airtight lid created the base of my camera, which I then sanded down. I punctured it carefully with a needle, and in a darkroom, inserted a piece of photosensitive paper. With my camera ready, I taped it to a pole just outside of Stamps facing due South, hoping my hole was small enough to capture a clean, clear outline of the sun moving across the sky. The long exposure time, of 2-3 weeks, would leave a bright arc once complete. When it came time to take my camera down, I carefully taped over my pinhole to avoid any more light coming through the hole, and brought it back to the dark room. In complete darkness, I scanned my photo, then inverted the negative photograph into a positive one, which overall was a dark, murky, and desaturated shade of green. Because of the snowy weather, and the early darkness of winter, there were faint splotches of blue also visible just on the horizon line. In Photoshop, through editing and using color theory, I was able to adjust things like the white balance, the shadows and highlights, and the contrast to bring out more details like the trees and the branches. I wanted something cooler toned, to better match the blue and the whites of the snow, and to make the tiny specks of light reflecting on the ground stand out like stars in the night sky.