Jonas Daley Reimagines Chinese Landscapes as Surreal Scenery

All photos by Jonas Daley. Used with Creative Commons permission.

Among our favorite approaches to landscape photography are those that invite the viewer to abandon the familiar and use their imagination to look at a certain location. It definitely shows in many of the alien-inspired vistas and abstract-driven works we’ve featured in the past. The latest to catch our attention is a surreal series by New York-based Jonas Daley, where he transforms the mountainous expanse of China into an infrared-inspired wonderland. If you like the look and colors of this dreamy aesthetic, we think his work will catch your attention.

The title of the series, Color Change, certainly alludes to the visual phenomenon that occurs in the infrared spectrum: foliage seem to magically turn bright pink, as if we’ve accessed an alternate reality typically hidden to us. This effect was predominantly made popular by infrared films, the most popular and coveted of which is the Kodak Aerochrome. However, it’s also possible to achieve the look using cameras modified to shoot in infrared spectrum. Or, thanks to technology, some tweaks using image editing software.

It seems that Daley chose to go the post-processing route for his images shot using an unspecified Canon camera and a DJI drone camera. Call it playing with colors or appealing to our taste for the surreal, but this dreamy and sometimes trippy imagery never fails to draw attention because it’s not something we see everyday. When unaided, our eyes can see things, people, and surroundings only in ways that are familiar to us. Color Change is an interesting testament to how a simple color change can transform something familiar to us into something out of this world.

If you find yourself mesmerized by the surreal infrared, we invite you to check out other equally impressive infrared works we’ve featured so far.

Head to Jonas Daley’s Behance portfolio to see the rest of his photography projects.