To look at infrared photography is to look at the invisible world. The human eye can see wavelengths from about 400nm – 720nm. Infrared wavelengths sit beyond 720nm. Paolo Pettigiani’s (b. 1991) Infraland transforms familiar places into surreal landscapes. The images are shot using a converted full-spectrum infrared camera – a technique commonly used in fields like plant analysis, medicine and forensics.
“Perspective changes everything. Seeing and looking are two completely different acts,” says Pettigiani. “How we understand the world around us depends on our experiences and willingness to be open to new ideas.” These photographs question reality as we see it, combining science and creativity to create something new. Mountains turn pink, for example, whilst skies and water glow a luminous blue. Pastel buildings nestle amongst towering coral trees, between rocks or at the end of winding roads.
How is this otherworldly aesthetic achieved? “The leaves contain pigments such as chlorophyll, which absorb the main part of the blue and red ranges of visible light, but strongly reflect green and infrared,” Pettigiani explains. Infraland has been featured in several publications including The Guardian, The Washington Post, Wired and Vogue, as well as international shows in New York, Paris and Milan. Pettigiani was longlisted for the Aesthetica Art Prize 2022, and published in its associated anthology.
All images courtesy Paolo Pettigiani, from Infraland.