I made this image by mistake while giving a class demonstration about cinematic color grading in Photoshop. The cause of the accident involved me pasting a copy of a different photography on top of the original image as a layer mask. My class rather liked the effect and so I went down the rabbit hole of experimentation. This image is the result of replacing one of the three color channels with a second image and then modifying the hue and saturation a bit until I found the result that was pleasing to me.
I think the reason I was okay with this mistake is because I recognized how it relates to memory. The older I get the more often memories become a blur of different times and locations being rolled up into a single story.
As a photographer memories serve to guide my eye because I am often making a photograph of something because it reminds me of something else. In this artistic pedagogy I am directly bringing that something else into the image.
The way that I am applying the second image into one of the three RGB color channels that creates a full color image causes the combined image to not be fully resolved. There is a ghosting effect that I think happens with our own memories. Our memories take on a dream like quality.
Memories for me are about remembering the essence of life without the exactitude of details. It is about remembering the emotional experience of what it felt like rather than the specifics of Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
Useable wisdom comes from the feelings that you develop from experience which in turn allow me to respond intuitively.
In the case of this image I was able to play and enjoy a happy accident that reminded me of a time when I spent many days carting around a 4×5 camera and photographing urban landscapes and the years I had a studio downtown where I really felt connected to the city.
Here is a short GIF animation that shows the variety of color harmonies I explored. Which one is the best one in your opinion?