Photography by Jim Doty

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a larger version of this image

This photo was created as an illustration for a class at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. The challenge was to find a low tech way of combining images for photographers that don't have access to Photoshop or other image editing software.  A slide projector is a low cost and low tech way of doing this.  For the image at the left, I projected a slide of a spider web onto the back of a model, and then photographed  the model's back while the slide was projected on it.

To try this kind of imagery, you need a slide of the image you want to project, something or someone to project the slide on, a dark backdrop so the projected slide doesn't show up on the backdrop (unless you want it to), and a slide projector.

Project the image on the subject.  The slide projector needs to be back far enough or have a wide enough zoom lens so that the image wraps around the subject. Focus the projector and turn off any lights except for the projector. Slide projector lenses have minimal depth of field so the plane of the film in the projector needs to be parallel to the primary plane of your subject. The image will blur as it wraps around your subject.

Meter the projected image on the subject. Put your camera on a tripod and photograph your newly combined image. Bracket your exposures from one stop less than the camera meter tells you to as much as two or even three stops more than the camera meter tells you. 

I used apertures of f/8 and f/11 to give a reasonable depth of field to my subject.  Exposures can be long, easily running from one second to as long as 20 seconds with 100 speed slide film.

The projected image can be almost any subject from landscapes to flowers to people. You can project onto people, vases, furniture, fabrics, some kinds of glass objects and a host of other subjects.  Projecting onto light toned subjects generally works best.

There is usually a contrast gain in the original image when it is projected and rephotographed.  Due to the tungsten bulb of the projector, the coloring of the original image will shift in the yellow direction.  You can compensate for this by using an 80A, 80B, or 80C filter, depending on the amount of color shift (80A for the most color shift, 80C for the least).

A Michigan sunset projected on a model's back

March 20, 2001
Updated May 12, 2002

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