Art Term

Solarisation

Technique that involves exposing a partially developed photograph to light, before continuing processing, creating halo-like effects

Catherine Yass, ‘Corridors’ 1994
Catherine Yass
Corridors 1994
Tate
© Catherine Yass

The technique was discovered accidentally by Man Ray and Lee Miller and quickly adopted by Man Ray as a means to ‘escape from banality’. He often applied the technique to photographs of female nudes, using the halo-like outlines around forms and areas of partially reversed tonality to emphasise the contours of the body.