an Infrared Photo Art Exhibition by Kate Davies
- For the greater part of 2011, Kate Davies has been travelling around South
Africa photographing the world around us using an Infrared modified Canon
DSLR Camera. Her discourse has always been to show the aesthetically
pleasing subject matter as well our individual responsibility to sustain that which
we have been given, and do not own.
“Infrared photography is by no stretch of the imagination a new form of
photography, but for me it has drastically changed the way I look at the medium,
as well as the world around me. In brief, Infrared conversion is the process
whereby you remove the Infrared filter which sits in front of the camera’s sensor,
therefore allowing the IR rays to hit the sensor. The second step would be to
use an IR filter in front of the lens, to allow only a certain wavelength of IR rays
In my case, the wavelength of the IR filter was 715 nanometre.
The first obvious difference we see is that deciduous tree leaves and grass
are almost always very bright white or magenta. Although they are made
predominantly of Infrared transparent material, leaves reflect IR rays because
of their very complex internal air spaces, offering many opportunities for shallow
angle internal reflections, that eventually bounce the IR rays out again. When
they are wet, however, they lose this reflectivity. Clear sky and water surfaces
are almost always dark.
It is incredibly difficult to not be influenced by these visual differences, and to try
to go deeper into the possibilities that lie in this phenomenal way of shooting the
world. Beyond the frosted white trees is a world that can be described as otherworldly.
Each new image felt like it exposed more of what I wanted to see and it
aided me in shooting landscapes the way I had always wanted to.
The IR process is as much creative as it is technical. This allowed me to be
in complete control from the beginning to end. In essence, IR photographs
contain no colour and therefore allow the photographer to “paint” what they
would like to see, opening up a number of new doors for emotional barriers
to be broken. Scenes of melancholy, fear, ecstasy, love and innocence are all
absolutely possible to both capture and feel, allowing me to truly speak using my
All photographs were taken between April and August 2011 in South Africa.
All images © www.katedavies.co.za