SolarizationSolarization is an effect that occurs in photography when part or all of a photograph, or a photographic negative, is reversed in tone.
The effect was first noticed in the 19th century, and arose from a combination of extreme overexposure and the pecularities of the chemical processes using in taking and developing photographs. The effect was most common with extremely bright objects, particularly the sun (hence the name). If you examine old black and white photographs, you may notice for example that the sun often appears to be black or gray, rather than as the whitest object in the picture.
A variation on the effect, known as "pseudo-solarization", or "the Sabattier effect", was also developed. In these cases, the effect was generated by briefly exposing a partially developed negative to light during the development process. This effect was first described in print by H. de la Blanchere in L’Art du Photographe, which was first published in 1859. but seems to have been independently (and quite possibly accidently) discovered by many photographers during the mid 19th century.
In photographs effected by either solarization or pseudo-solarization, you may notice lines around the dark and light areas, known as "Mackie lines". If the negative has been solarized, the Mackie lines will be white in the final print, but if the print has been solarized, the Mackie lines will appear as dark in the final print.
The following images show the effect of solarization on a photograph:
Many painting and photo editing software packages incorporate simulated solarization effects. These can be used on both color and grayscale images, and in many cases can often be used to produce arbitary color or contrast reversals that not are linked to the behavior of photographic chemicals.
The images below show some solarization effects created using Corel PhotoPaint. The starting color image was taken from Hemera's Photo-Objects 50,000 Premium Image Collection† , and I also used Corel PhotoPaint to make a grayscale which I then solarized as well.
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