It has been nearly twenty years since I entered for the first time into the infrared photography world. At that time there was a film produced by Kodak usually used for scientific or military purposes, me, but I was certainly not the first, I began to use it in wedding photography. Infrared film had many problems in the management, you had to be very careful in loading it and pull it out from the camera (these operations had to be made in totally dark), development was not those of the classic black and white and there were difficult to focus. The result, however, was magical. Today, with digital, it’s all much simpler and maintaining the same magic atmosphere. What you see in my infrared photography is NOT processing in Photoshop – you would not get absolutely the same effect – but I converted to a digital camera to take only infrared shots. I get so a RAW files directly on camera. But let’s step back a little to explain what infrared or IR photography is.
What is IR (Infrared) photography*
Infrared, or “IR” photography, offers photographers the opportunity to explore a new world – the world of the unseen. Why “unseen”? Because our eyes literally cannot see IR light, as it lies just beyond what is classified as the “visible” spectrum – that which human eyesight can detect. When we take photographs using infrared-equipped cameras, we are exposed to the world that can often look very different from that we are accustomed to seeing. Colors, textures, leaves and plants, human skin, and all other manner of objects can reflect IR light in unique and interesting ways creating almost dreamlike atmospheres. It’s been for this approach of the idea of a dream that I liked immediately the idea of associating this kind of photography to the wedding. Of course, like every form of pleasure related to photography or art, it is a matter of taste. So this visual impairment in black and white can raise some eyebrows. Personally, as a photographer and according to my view of wedding photography, I love it.
Just a bit of history of infrared photography
Infrared photography has a more recent history of normal photography. Born for military use in the early twentieth century as it was able to highlight buildings, shelters and any arms depots, hidden by foliage or trees, because of its ability to detect objects that reflect light differently. In the sixties this impassioned photograph more mass and famous singers such as Jimi Hendrix and Frank Zappa used it for the cover of their album. Recently, photojournalists like the photographer Richard Mosse have used it for their war reporting.
Why in wedding
As I’ve said I like very much to use infrared in the marriage photography and always only in the black and white version. It is the infrared characteristics that fascinate me. The leaves, the grass, the trees take on different shades of white according to the light and chlorophyll present. The skin becomes very milky, smooth even if do not use it in too much close up portrait because veins close to the skin surface can be accentuated and take on a rather ghoulish appearance and eyes can appear a bit ghostly with the irises registering very dark tones and the whites of the eye taking on a grayish hue. Black clothing can appear gray or white depending on the fabric. IR light can pass through sunglasses that, to the eye, appear extremely dark or mirror-like.* It removes the dust from the air so as to accentuate the sense of cleanliness and clarity and increases the contrasts. A sky full of clouds, a grass and trees in the background are the best locations where to walk with the couple during the wedding day. In the pictures that precede this section we have a better idea of how light acts in the various subjects that are present in the shot.
In marriage I really like give the couple something certainly unique and infrared gives to me this opportunity. As a photographer, a wedding photographer I always like to explore new modes of expression to tell, to convey different emotions and feelings.
Good light … Infrared light of course
*P.S.: you can see more linking here