November 9, 2021
Don’t miss this fascinating documentary about a pioneering specialist in black and white infrared photography, who captured unforgettable images of some of the most atmospheric places on the planet
Simon Marsden’s Haunted Life in Pictures, a critically acclaimed 2018 documentary about the idiosyncratic infrared specialist and the master of the darkroom, will be available on DVD on December 14. For DVD release, ‘Haunted’ has been added to the title.
The documentary was directed by Jason Figgis, a descendant of a famous film family, and chronicles his often unsettling experiences working with Marsden in rural Ireland and beyond, as well as insights from friends and family. We won’t spoil the story, but some of Figgis’ experiments literally made our hair stand on end.
Marsden, who came from an aristocratic background and died in 2012, was best known for his books on haunted houses, historic ruins and Venice.
The documentary begins with Marsden’s childhood in the Lincolnshire Wolds, where he grew up in two supposedly haunted houses, before revealing how he became such a pioneering infrared photographer and printer.
However, he was much more than a maker of frightening black and white photographs; Marsden’s images, in addition to being widely published, are included in the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Bibliothèque nationale de Paris, and many other important collections around the world.
As well as providing a glimpse into Marsden’s artistic development, the film also focuses on his strong attachment to Ireland – notably the predominantly Anglo-Irish stately homes that fell into disrepair and crumbling after the independence of the Ireland.
U2 fans will no doubt recognize the image of Marsden that appeared on the cover of the Unforgettable Fire album.
Marsden was also drawn to ruined castles running the length and breadth of Britain, as well as other places in Western and Eastern Europe.
AP associate editor Geoff Harris called the documentary a “fascinating tribute – part documentary, part meditation, part celebration. This film gives a real insight into Marsden and his motivations.
We take infrared for granted these days, with simple camera conversions and a wide range of digital filters, but Marsden did it the old-fashioned way, with hard-to-handle film and darkroom skills. . Even with all the tools at our disposal today, you would be hard pressed to recreate the look of Marsden – he was a true master of his genre.
The film will also be available digitally on November 23, including iPlayer.
Get great infrared photos
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