All photos by Paolo Pettigiani. Used with Creative Commons permission.
Charmed by infrared photography and thinking of taking the plunge into the craft? Our featured landscape series should be more than enough to give you that push. We’re putting the spotlight back on Italian graphic designer and photographer Paolo Pettigiani, who previously impressed us with his infrared photos of the Dolomites and New York City’s Central Park. This time, we have our eyes on his surreal infrared snaps of the Aeolian Islands in Sicily.
There’s more than one trippy way to use infrared photography to transform our landscapes into dreamworlds, as we’ve seen other photographers do in our previous features, but the surreal, colorful look reminiscent of Kodak Aerochrome is an easy favorite. In these photos of the Aeolian Islands, Pettigiani makes use of the uncanny visual quality of the infrared spectrum to open our eyes to a world hiding in plain sight, where the colors are strikingly different from what we know.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed, every thing would appear to man as it is: infinite.” – William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
Pettigiani saw the quote above as Blake guessing that it is possible for Man to “see beyond what is visible”. He, in turn, took this as inspiration for delving into the mind-blowing world that the infrared opens our eyes to. “Indeed, humans tend to believe in what they are able to conceive, to see, to hear. Though the truth is wider than what our eyes are able to focus on. This is why I decided to specialize in infrared photography: to make the invisible evident.”
This set, he also said, is part of the #InfraScapes project he began in 2014, the aim of which is “to show something that is broadly recognizable to the human eye, under a new and unexpected point of view”. These shots were taken using a Nikon D750 converted into full spectrum to explore the spectrum emitted by plants.