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A Surreal Infrared Silver Gelatin Darkroom Photograph of the Big Sur, CA Coastline with Arch

"Below the Surface" is an Infrared silver gelatin photograph by Monterey, CA based artist Rachell Hester. This otherworldly photograph measures 10" x 10" and depicts a craggy seacliff with dramatic clouds and an eerie subterranean arch with whisps of sea mist. The viewer may feel as if they've come to the intersection between worlds. Rachell captured this photograph near the Granite Canyon Research Laboratory in Big Sur.


To achieve infrared photography, Rachell uses a special filter on her camera in addition to infrared film. The filter allows her to capture wavelengths of infrared light invisible to the naked eye; resulting in the dreamlike textures within the composition.  


"Below the Surface"  is custom framed in a contemporary black frame (wood) with an archival white mat and low-glare museum glass. The outside measurements are 21"w x 17"h

Below the Surface - Rachell Hester

  • Rachell Hester is a painter and photographer based in Monterey, CA. The natural world is a pivotal force in her artwork. Rachell explores the wooded trails in Monterey County and the Big Sur coastline with her camera, often capturing vistas that are off-limits to most people. Using film photography and alternative processes such as solarization and infrared film, Rachell spends many hours in the darkroom controlling the development of a photograph. Through this intentional distortion, she creates haunting compositions depicting scenes and marine life abstractions that don't naturally exist.

    Hester holds an MFA from San José State University and a BA in Visual and Public Art from California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Hester maintains an art studio practice that focuses on both painting and darkroom photography. Hester has participated in many group and solo art shows, as well as community art projects. A selection of Hester’s artworks created in the CSU Summer Arts program were displayed in the CSU Chancellor's Office. Hester received two Weston Collective awards in the Roman Loranc Fine Art Photography category. In 2019, Hester’s film photography was displayed at the Pacific Grove Art Center in a solo show, Between Here and There. During her Master’s education, Hester was awarded the 2022 Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Awards Exhibition in San Francisco at SOMArts Cultural Center. Hester held an Artist in Residence at the American Tin Cannery in Pacific Grove. Hester  was also a recipient of the Local Emerging Artist Program (LEAP) Grant from the Arts Council for Monterey County.

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