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brown + black + blue fish x-ray triptych.jpg

Fish X-Ray Triptych by Amy Heller

Brown+Black+Blue - An Amy Heller Exhibit

By Kahrin Deines

When most of us think of photographs, we think point, focus, and shoot, all in a snap moment. But for award-winning photographer Amy Heller, the shot might involve a stroboscope, and processing the photo could mean traveling back in time. 

Heller, whose work will be on display in an exhibit at the Esmond-Wright Gallery from Sept. 26 to Oct. 9, often creates her photos using processes that date far back from the digital age to the 1800s.

Her upcoming exhibit, titled “Brown+Black+Blue,” features work created through three such vintage production techniques. The resulting images, which run in subject matter from fish to nudes to beach treasures, are tinted brown, black and blue. 

For the brown photos, Heller applied a process known as the “Van Dyke,” named for the resemblance the tint it creates has to the brown used by the Flemish painter Van Dyck.

Black, meanwhile, is represented in a series of gelatin silver prints Heller created using a stroboscope to capture figures in motion. The resulting images, within which female figures seem to transcend their own movements, required unwinding an unexposed roll of film and a whirling stroboscope in synchronicity past an open shutter. 

And blue – “+blue” – is brought into the exhibit’s mix with a number of cyanotypes printed on both paper and fabric. 

Heller has exhibited widely, and has also worked as a photo editor and researcher for The Discovery Channel, The Washington Post, National Geographic and U.S. News & World Report.

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