Since “The Strange Series,” Munich-based photographer and visual artist Roland Krämer has continued to experiment with infrared photography to imagine extraterrestrial landscapes. It continues to be my favorite creative use of infrared photography, and I find his “Alien Series” to be the most otherworldly yet.
In essence, infrared photography opens our eyes to a world that would otherwise be unseen to us. It allows photographers to capture light that is invisible to the naked eye, either through infrared film or a modified digital camera. Whether you’re learning about this for the first time or you’re looking for more inspiration to give infrared photography a try, I’m sure this “Alien Series” will catch your attention.
A continuation of a “surreal idea”
In his project description, Krämer mentioned that this continuation of his infrared visual experiments was particularly made to depict extraterrestrial landscapes. I was especially thrilled about this, since I very much liked how otherworldly he transformed the European alps into an alien world for “The Coral Mountains” series.
However, in addition to a modified digital camera, he also used a 590mm filter over the lenses to shoot this series. This, he said, filtered out all the wavelengths of visible light below 590nm. So, he ended up with photos that had less visible light than those of his previous infrared projects. They were also more monotonous and had less color variations.
Shot last year during a trip to southeast France, this series is an alien alter-ego of the high plateau of the Queyras National Park. “On altitudes between 2500 to 3000m & above the tree line it felt like wandering around the surface of an alien planet. No trees, just rocks, grass & a few little lakes as far as the eye can see. Clouds in between. A strange atmosphere.”
Inspired by a strange atmosphere
Even without the crazy colors, it’s easy to see how the landscape that Krämer found himself exploring would look epic in infrared. With a terrain almost devoid of foliage but rich in gritty textures, jagged peaks and mysterious shadows, a pop of vibrant and surreal colors can instantly make viewers feel like they’re looking at another world. “A world in which we are strangers,” he said.
As with his previous infrared projects, I find myself drawn to this series not only because of the surreal colors, but also the idea of exploring a world both alien and familiar to us. We’re already on the way to discovering the most fascinating secrets and hidden worlds waiting for us somewhere in the universe. So, I find it amazing that creatives are also getting inspired to share their own take on what these unchartered territories could be like.
All photos by Roland Krämer. Used with Creative Commons permission.