Through The Looking Glass

Through The Looking Glass

“Through The Looking Glass”

by Marc VanDermeer

The inspiration for this series of photographs evolved out of a workshop I had

attended at Silvermine this past fall. We were reviewing the work from a historical

period of photography known as Photo-Secession and Pictorialism. (early mid


A group of photographers led by Alfred Stieglitzs that included Edward Steichen.

Alvin Langdon Coburn, Clarence H. White had broken away from the Camera

Club of New York to form their own galley. All sharing a stylistic view that

photography was a medium of artistic expression. They viewed photography as a

fine-art and with the use of creative darkroom and printing techniques,

manipulated their work to look more like a pastel, etching or painting then a

traditional photograph.

Having my own roots in painting, I found their work to be of great inspiration and

a validation of the legitimacy of combining post visual “photoshop” techniques

with those of modern photography.

The idea for Through The Looking Glass took shape while experimenting with a

newly acquired set of tools called Nik Filters. When used in conjunction with

Photoshop it can produce vintage looking film photographs.

I wanted to super impose a recent b/w photograph of water lilies named

Reflections with that of a much older print from my parents photo album. The

older photograph had been shot with a Rolliflex medium format camera probably

using Kodachrome color film. While the b/w shot of water lilies had been

photographed with my Cannon 7D camera.

The task presented me with several challenges. I had to convert an analog

photograph into a digital file while preserving it’s Kodachrome vintage film look. I

did this by scanning the older photograph with an Epson Flatbed Scanner and

saving it as a .tiff file in Photoshop. After making several corrections using the

Levels, Brightness and Contrast tools in Photoshop, I set out to restore the

original vintage look. Having the right tools is half the battle. Color Efex Pro 4,

one of Nik’s filters, gave me the right adjustment tools to color correct and restore

the photographs original film look. Back in Photoshop I used the Save As tool to

preserve my work as Marc-1964.psd.

The next step was to copy Marc-1964.psd and Flatten the file merging all the

layers thus reducing its size making it more manageable to work with. Once this

step is taken and saved there is no going back. This is why I had made a copy.

Next I opened my b/w image named Reflections in Photoshop adjusting Levels,

Brightness and Contrast. Saving my work again prior to Flattening the four

layers of adjustments.

If your starting to get confused you can imagine how confusing everything gets if

you aren't recording your actions. There is a great deal of trial and error during

the creative process.

The next task was to merge two shots into one. There are many ways to do this

but I choose Analog Efex Pro another Nik filter. This set of 10 tools gives the

photographer the ability to create vintage looking photographs as though they

had been shot with classic camera’s, films and lenses. In particular you can use

many of the darkroom and printing techniques used by early 20th century

photographers. Most importantly it gave me the tools to super impose my two

images in such a way as to look as though it had been made in camera.

By default Analog Efex Pro will duplicate the original image as its second image.

You must use the plus (+) button to add a second image to create a double

exposure with two separate files. Once both images were loaded I began playing

with the overall brightness and contrast of my double exposure. Experimenting

with the opacity to get the final look I was after and adding a few effects to give

my new piece an etherial timeless feel. I saved my work naming it Through The

Looking Glass. The final version is pictured here.

The printing of this photograph was done by on an Epson 3080 Stylus Pro which

will produce art gallery level prints using Epson UltraChrome 8-color ink set.

To me printing is one of the more difficult tasks which is why photographers often

choose a professional printer to reproduce their work. I prefer to have a

professional service print my work for anything larger then 17” x 22” inches in


Final selectswk2 (1 of 1)-8 copy.jpg


Metropolis  62"x 48" on canvas, hand painted , with inkjet  ultra chrome archival ink and water color.

The project has over 100 layers, of textures, photographs and images that were shot by Marc while he was undergoing treatment for cancer in Arkansas.

scanned copies of painted images along with digitally painted shaped done by brush in Adobe Photoshop.

THe process took just under 3 months to complete.

He feels that the work represents his best endeavor to date. 



escape 48"x 60" digital photo collage printed with  archival  Iris large format printer "Glclee" on Hahnemule canvas. 

All things in nature

All things in nature

Photo collage 36"x 24" 

west 4th street

west 4th street

Photo-collage  44" 22" 

Islands that I dream of

Islands that I dream of

This is a combination watercolor / photo / collage