From the vaults – Infrared Figures in the Landscape

These are some from my vaults. I was doing some clean-up in my library and went through my catalog of negatives, and came across these. I shot these on the old Kodak HIE infrared film. Alas, not only is HIE no more, but virtually all IR-sensitive films are gone now too, other than Ilford’s SFX and Rollei IR. Kodak HIE was the king of the crop, having far greater infrared sensitivity than the others (it topped out over 900nm, whereas most of the other films were 820nm, or even 750 with the Konica). It produces a beautiful pictorial effect, and made for some very interesting figure studies. I only ever got to shoot a few rolls of it before it was gone, and the few I had stashed didn’t keep well, even in cold storage. Lots of people have asked about bringing Kodak HIE back as a product – I would love to see it happen, but it isn’t going to. Here’s why – the infrared sensitivity is effected by a specialized dye. The dye requires chemicals that are A: rare, B: very expensive, and C: don’t age well. To meet the minimum manufacturing requirements, very large quantities of the dye would have to be made. At the end of the products’ commercial life, Kodak was not selling enough of the film to cover the cost of the dye, and it was generating tremendous waste as the dye was going bad before the current stock would be sold, so they were not only throwing away dye, they were throwing away finished product.

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