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The Inertia

Infrared film has been around for quite some time. I’m certainly not the first person to use it, nor will I be the last. What makes this stuff so special is that it is no longer made, so coming across it is like finding a unicorn. I first got my hands on some in 2012 and since then have bought a few rolls when my funds allowed. Eventually, I just sunk a good bit of my savings into stocking my freezer.

I’ve loaded the film into my 120mm Bronica around the globe. I’ve shot on a strike mission in Panama, brought it along hikes in Denali National Park in Alaska. I’ve even seen the beautiful waters of Tahiti turn jet black through the altered lens of this camera and film combo. When I first started shooting 120mm infrared film, it was about mimicking an effect — the earth turns pink! But eventually, it grew into what I wanted to see. “Would this scene or person look interesting here? Was this worthy of permanently recording?”

So many times I found a place or an idea within the place. I would pull the dark slide, frame up, check focus, and I would raise my eyes from the waist level viewfinder just to watch. I would look and go back to the viewfinder. Check focus again. My finger ready to record. Sometimes I wouldn’t even press the shutter. Not from indecision or lack of wanting, but realizing what I was looking at wouldn’t translate. It wouldn’t say what I wanted. It was in this space that I could truly meditate on photography.

Editor’s Note: You can find more from photographer Ryan Struck on Instagram here or online here..

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