The Art of Scanning  

Jeff Mihalyo's advices

My scannography techniques vary but mostly I am interested in pushing the technology in multiple unconventional ways. Admittedly, this may risk proper functionality of my scanner, but so far has not, despite taking them apart and putting them back together again multiple times. That said, I buy oldscanners from used computer parts stores. Or get them from friends who are upgrading to newer ones. Currently I have six scanners for my scannography projects. (However I do not compromise my seventh "pro-grade" scanner because I need it for my professional work.)

The particular look of my images are dependent on the type of scanners I
work with. I specifically use Umax 3-pass scanners with model numbers UC630, 840, or 1260. I believe they originally cost about $900. But a free today.
They are virtually bulletproof tanks, and are easy to use provided you have older computer equipment to drive them, which I do. (Short story: During the 2001 Seattle earthquake, one my UC840 tumbled off my work bench onto the floor. I simply picked it back up and place it back into my set up, and it worked fine. I still use the same scanner today as my primary scannography camera.)

In the image above I present my more commonly used setup. My scanner is placed on its side in front of which I build a set using various objects and hand made components. I light the set with different types of light bulbs.
Besides the scanner's native lamp, I also use florescent, standard
incandescent, halogen, and full spectrum bulbs. Each shine a different color spectrum on the set. Using my three-pass scanner, I will turn on or off different lights between each pass of the scanner's eye. Effectively
breaking the color spectrum into their various CMYK components, or
highlighting combinations of two combined color passes. No post scanning
PhotoShop color correcting techniques are used.
The results are almost always a surprise to me as I often do not see what I'm getting until I've completed a 3-pass cycle. The process can be tedious and can be made worse because of older and slower equipment. Since not every image is a success, a full days work might result in one or two good images, when all the elements (and timing) come together to produce a solid picture.

The scannograph above resulted from the set up photograph I have already provided. The image is not one of my stronger pictures, however it does illustrate the pushed color effect which resulted from changing the lighting between each pass. (The blue color is a standard bulb left on only during the blue pass, whereas the background is a combination of yellow and red passes. The butterflies are lit by the scanner bulb itself and therefore appear "color correct."




• Rebecca Wild's
method >

• Marty Klein's
scandalas >

• Marsha Tudor's
workflow >

Chris Staebler's
layering method >

Jaime Ruas's
liquid painting method >

Patri Feher's
detailed method >