715 nanometre

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 blocking 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 specific filter in front of the lens, to allow only a certain wavelength of IR rays through.

In my case, the wavelength of the IR filter was 715 nanometre.

The first obvious difference we see is that deciduous tree leaves and grassvare 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 other- worldly. 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 bevin 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 photographs”.

All photographs were taken between April and August 2011 in South Africa.