Paolo Pettigiani Reimagines Dubai as a Surreal Infrared Metropolis

All photos by Paolo Pettigiani. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Dubai has been a favorite location for many photographers: its stunning architectural elements are artworks in their own right. But if you’re fond of unique takes and perspectives on the world’s best known cityscapes, you’ll find this Dubai series by Italian photographer and graphic designer Paolo Pettigiani nothing short of impressive. As he has done with New York City’s Central Park, he opens our eyes to the surreal and unseen face of Dubai through infrared photography.

These Dubai snaps are part of his InfraScapes project, a “graphic and visual exploration of nature” he began in 2014 “to show something that is broadly recognizable to the human eye, under a new and unexpected point of view.” Indeed, everything seems painted in otherworldly duotone. This color scheme effectively separates the concrete jungle elements from nature’s greens: blue for the roads and buildings, and corals and purples for the grass, trees, and bushes. However, there’s also a cool exception of a night snap that rendered the city lights on the winding roads in bright red.

All this visual magic is made possible by using a Nikon D750 modified into a full spectrum camera. The conversion makes the camera sensor sensitive to more than one spectrum of light, so you can shoot in ultraviolet and infrared, on top of visible light. As we can see in this series, plants especially make striking elements for this highly specialized photography as it strongly reflects the otherwise invisible IR spectrum.

Curious about the other series in Pettigiani’s InfraScapes project? Definitely check out his equally mind-blowing infrared photos of the Dolomites and the Aeolian Islands. Also, don’t forget to head to his website and Behance portfolio to see his other projects, and follow him on Instagram to stay updated with his work.