In “After: Dreaming in Color,” Bill Armstrong imagines the history of photography as if in a dream, making color interventions into iconic photographs from the first century of photography, from the beginning up until the invention of Kodachrome.
Armstrong’s process is to transform appropriated images by re-photographing and injecting color, either digitally or manually using color filters and a light table—or a combination of both. “After: Dreaming in Color” continues the arc of Mr. Armstrong’s investigation into layering found or appropriated images that he has been pursuing since the late 1970s, first with collages made from advertising posters and then with the blurred images of his “Infinity” series for which he is known.
In his research, Armstrong has found that the standard histories of photography often somewhat arbitrarily pass over the fact that color has been around since the beginning: in Anna Atkins’ cyanotypes; in opalescent daguerreotypes; in hand–colored and sepia-toned photographs. In response to this oversight he has created his own dreamlike history of color photography. It is a reverie filled with wit, humor, and visual puns—and, as always, an eye for the contrast and harmony of color.