With the passing of my beloved mother, I have a renewed and impassioned sense of urgency to pursue what is important to me: family, friends, and unreservedly following wherever my passions may lead.

Currently my professional passion is infrared photography. The surreal look, which got my attention as a child, long before having any idea of what my ultimate professional would be, is still captivating and exciting. Although I love all photography, unless color is essential to the image or tonalities merge, I will opt to shoot infrared most of the time or shoot in color to process in B&W.

The process is right in line with my internal wiring for self expression. It’s the same reason I enjoyed careers as a jazz artist and close up magician in past lives. The need to express myself through my art (and I hate using that term as it is wildly over used) has been pervasive since I was improvising on my old chord organ and drawing as a small child. 

Currently on a workshop (beginning Sunday) in the Palouse (Eastern Washington State), which is one of the most beautiful and photogenic regions of the country, I am enjoying digging deeper into infrared photography and processing, as well as how to use and position myself in various qualities of light. Normally, front lighting and side lighting the subject is the most dramatic. However, the results of shooting infrared in a light rain, fog, and various degrees of overcast is always surprising and adds to the continuing “Christmas morning” excitement of infrared photography.

We all go through life hoping for the thunderbolt which will put us on “the path.” After a few decades of life, most of us learn that there are seldom thunderbolts or rapid tectonic shifts in our lives. Everything in life is a process, slowly evolving as a result of technique, maturity, and personal aesthetic.

My first experience using infrared was inspired by mentor, the great Pat O’Hara. Pat was hand coloring infrared using oils over 30 years ago. I found shooting infrared film challenging. When a local lab exposed my large number of infrared rolls from a 2 week trip to the Southwest, basically destroying the film, I lost interest, and returned to color slide and B&W photography until the advent of digital photography.

The demise of stock photography was the death knell for many photographers who gleaned their income from stock sales. I found it liberating. With no more need to travel at my expense to photograph on spec to submit to stock agencies, I concentrated on photo education as my prime occupation and began photographing as a means of self expression, hence my move to more expressive, interpretive photography and processing techniques, hence my current passion: Infrared photography.

Here is a gallery of recently shot infrared images from the Palouse.

Call for questions!

We have an infrared project in the works. If anyone has any questions regarding infrared photography (hardware, software, processing, etc.), please submit them to tony@tonysweet.com, along with your name and website, if you desire. You’ll be notified if your question is included in the project. Thanks!

Thanks for taking the time and we’ll see ya online!

Tony

p.s. Almost forgot, we have a few workshop openings remaining this year. Please check http://tonysweet.com and/ or email susan@tonysweet.com for more info!