In the world of Infrared Photography, Laurie Klein is well known for her stunning monochrome Infrared images.
I recently had the opportunity to interview her.
Welcome, please tell us about yourself and your background.
Infrared is my passion, I see the world through this crazy medium. Pretty funny to pre-visualize in a non -visible spectrum, but I do. I was studying bio-medical photography at the Rochester Institute of Technology in the mid 70’s. We used infrared film for diagnostic and research purposes. It wasn’t until I studied with Ansel Adams that I realized infrared film was also used for fine art landscapes. This awareness, plus studying with Ansel, changed the course of my life. I switched majors and became a fine art landscape photographer utilizing infrared film. I then went on to get my MFA from Ohio University and taught college. In the late 80’s I found myself as a single mom who would have to raise and support her 2 sons with her photography. So I went commercial. I began doing weddings and portraits. Being true to my authenticity as an artist I photographed people in landscapes with infrared. We were probably the first wedding/portrait studio to do this type of work.
How long have you been a photographer?
I began when I was 16, fell in love with processing and printing my photographs.
How long have you been shooting Infrared?
I actually have been shooting in the infrared spectrum for over 40 years.
What types of Infrared images do you make?
I still create a lot of landscape imagery. I am primarily known for photographing people in nature. Again my roots are as a landscape photographer, so often I find these incredible landscapes, and then I place my models or clients with in the context of the scene.
How is your IR photography received by your clients?
Most of my commission work is 90% infrared and 10% either color or B&W. It is what I do best and my clients come to me for IR imagery.
What is your best photographic achievement?
I have received many awards and much recognition but I think my greatest photographic achievement is that I am still doing photography and love it as much as I did when I was 16. It is like a relationship, it just keeps getting better. Sometimes it is frustrating and I get mad at it, like when Kodak stopped making Infrared Film, I was furious, I took it personally. I stopped shooting for a while. I honored my commitment to the medium and slowly began picking it back up again, the more I put into it the stronger my images are, the more I fall in love it again, the more I can inspire others. I am in love with photography, right now probably more then ever. It just keeps getting better.
I mentor a lot of high school students, one student asked me recently “how did you find photography. I told her my story and she said, oh, it sounds like photography found you”.
What do like best about IR photography?
Everything…… I think it is because I understand the medium so well and because we are recording in the non visible spectrum there is always a surprise, always a gift, something magical is recorded that I didn’t see. It never gets old.
What do you find most challenging about IR?
Coming from film to digital, we all would say how much easier digital IR is, BUT I miss film and the way film recorded the images.
If you could go anywhere in the world to shoot IR, where would you go?
If you could pass on just one tip about IR, what would it be?
Learn the rules and then break them. Ok I have 2 tips. I am aware that many people don’t know how create a strong composition photographing in IR. Learn about composition.
Do you have any projects currently going you would like to discuss?
I am just finishing up my second infrared book. My oldest son is an amazing photographer and a wiz with infrared post-production and workflow. What a joy collaborating with my son.
You can see more of Laurie’s Infrared work here.