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Generative Photography

As early as the mid-1950s, Herbert W. Franke was thinking about how he could use color films for his artistic experiments, which until then had only been monochrome. Colorfilms became more and more popular, not only among professional photographers, but also in the mass market. It was the beginning of his Series Color, developed over several years since that time. He used monochrome motifs of light forms and especially spatial studies, but also with oscillograms and ribbon forms, which he subsequently colored. However, they were never shown in exhibitions. This was mainly due to the fact that a high-quality enlargement of color images was much more expensive than black-and-white photographs. As a result, this series of his work is still available almost exclusively as 6×6 and 35mm slides and has therefore remained largely unknown. Only very rarely did Franke use these slides for publications, for example as the cover image of his book Kunst und Konstruktion (Art and Construction), which was published in 1957.

For colorization, the image was projected onto a screen with a transparent color foil stretched in front of the projector’s optics. He also used reflections, rotations as well as shifts of the motifs in order to be able to record the same object in double and even multiple exposures through different color foils.