Merridy Magnussson shows off her photography as the featured artist at the Juneau Artist’s Gallery during First Friday on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Merridy Magnussson shows off her photography as the featured artist at the Juneau Artist’s Gallery during First Friday on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Old photos infused with new life

Local artist shows her metal at gallery

The process is drastically different, but the photos and the passion are the same.

Merridy Magnusson has been taking pictures of Juneau since she was an 8-year-old girl with enough money saved from selling seeds to buy a camera. But it’s only been within the past few years that she’s began to have some her work processed onto metal.

That involves having her photo negatives digitized and color corrected and then infusing ink into metal at 410 degrees to create metallic prints of her work. The metal photos have a depth and vibrancy that makes them almost register as three dimensional.

“They have so much space,” Magnusson said in an interview during an exhibition of her work during a First Friday showing at Juneau Artists Gallery.

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The texture and luster of the metal definitely impacts the characteristics of the images, but Magnusson said hue and saturation aren’t fiddled with digitally.

“It’s part of my story to tell the truth,” Magnusson said. “That’s really important to me.”

Photography is a way for Magnusson to show a place she loves as it is, and that’s always been part of its draw.

Growing up, Magnusson said she wanted to depict Juneau artistically, but was unable to paint or draw. So, she settled on photography.

“When I was 8, I went door-to-door selling seeds to buy my first camera,” Magnusson said. “I got the seeds out of a comic books, and they were watermelons and things that would never grow here, but people were so nice they bought them anyway. It was a big deal to me.”

Juneau landscapes and wildlife were an early favorite subject and feature into the infused metal Magnusson mints today.

“I was born in the perfect place and smart enough to stay,” Magnusson said.

The metal infusion process, which is done locally, is a way to breathe new life into her old work. That’s important Magnusson said since the physical negatives degrade over time and businesses that can print photos with the negatives are becoming increasingly harder to find.

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“The old school approach is difficult to find anymore,” Magnusson said.

The metal pieces that are sometimes based on negatives old enough to legally drink. She said she’s glad to have captured images of the Juneau she remembers.

In many cases, Magnusson said the subjects of her photos have changed dramatically over the years.

“Our glacier doesn’t look like that anymore,” Magnusson said while looking over her work.

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