Infrared Photographs Give California A Surreal Facelift

Published in Design Inspiration on Feb 21, 2018 by Tim Marner™

Usually pastel in colour, Kate Ballis recent tour of palm Springs with her infrared camera gives the place a drug induced colour wash.

Turning usually light hues into vivid surreal purples & pinks combined with the modern Californian architecture makes you feel as though you’ve just landed on a colony in Mars rather than a North American city.

"Palm Springs is almost a second home to me, so after photographing its deserts, houses, pools, and cars many times it started to become a bit ordinary,"

"Although I was still in love with the place, my wonderful friends, and mesmerised by the light on the mountains, it was no longer my artistic muse, and I really wanted to re-enchant the city and the high-desert landscapes.”


Getting The Look

She got the look by converting a new digital Sony camera to be converted to into a full-spectrum camera. Now able to capture infrared as well as visible light she plonked coloured filters over the lens.

"I have subverted a technique used by many photographers who want to make infrared a more natural theme, and instead I have created a palette that is completely different to what we expect from a landscape, It took a good few days of playing with filters and techniques until I reached an aesthetic that made the series what it is," she said. "The colours I settled on for the series allowed me to question reality and create ambiguity in everyday scenes.”

"I started viewing Palm Springs as a lush oasis, where succulents and palm trees thrived and synthetic grass can be identified through the viewfinder from 100 metres away," she said. "It has been fascinating to photograph a landscape that appears muted and dead, but realise that the shrubs and cactus are actually alive and well, and in infrared glowing brighter than anything else in the scene.”

"What appears to the eye as a dusty brown scene is actually a glowing world,"

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