Alan Jaras, born and living in the North West of England, has always been fascinated in visualizing the invisible. Now retired after a long career as an industrial research scientist and photomicrographer working in optical and electron microscopy to investigate the world of materials science, he now enters the strange and wonderful world of the refraction patterns of light.As a child he was intrigued by the patterns and images formed by sunlight shining through glass objects. Forty years ago he made his first experiments to try to capture the fine detail of these magical patterns but at the time it was not taken further. Recently he has returned to study more deeply his original ideas investigating the complex images formed by textured glass and plastics. By shaping the plastics himself, more control over the form of the patterns can be achieved and by using various coloured optical filters in the beam of light, colour can be added when required if the object is clear and transparent. These images and patterns, which he calls “Refractographs”, are captured directly on to film without the use of a camera lens. In this system the ‘object’ becomes the lens and the light source becomes photographic subject. The patterns formed and recorded are very sensitive to slight changes in angle, thickness and refractive index and as such most are unique.
Throughout his career he has always sought to form a bridge between science and art. He now feels that this work has helped him to achieve his ambition.
Exhibitions and Awards
1995: 1st Prize Polaroid UK Photomicrography Competition
2007 Group Exhibition : Open Lens Gallery, Philadelphia,
2007 Gallery Artist ; Agitatto Gallery, Switzerland.
Bending Light -
Twisting Light -
Taming Light -
These range from patterns (as found) and isolated from glass objects to the more ‘organic’ patterns formed by plastics and finally the deliberate attempt to create small ’scenes’ within the 35mm film frame size.
For viewers: these are analog images formed directly on to film without the use of a camera lens (in the same way as a photogram), of the refraction patterns of light passing through formed and shaped plastics. Normally a b/w image, colour has been added directly into the plastic. The fine detail of the diffraction atterns can be seen when viewed large.