The Unseen Light

This is a photographic series of images of common marsh plants known as glasswort or pickleweed (Salicornia europea) taken in the tidal shallows of the Cape Cod National Seashore. With repeated efforts, I developed a unique and very specific approach to my shooting sessions, observing over time how the contributions of natural elements (light, wind and water) influenced my results. I found that with a certain balance of conditions, I could achieve a physical connectedness between my camera and the scene, transcending the rather ordinary nature of the subject to produce an intriguing alternate universe of imagery.

My intent with this series is to look past a literal interpretation of the subject, and present something more subliminally evocative. I have become fascinated by the differing impressions drawn from the shapes that appear in each image, much like in Rorschach ink blots. It leads one to question: ‘Why do I see things differently than others?’

These images were captured with a digital SLR camera that has been converted to record only the infrared wavelengths of light, which are invisible to the naked eye. Water very quickly absorbs these long wavelengths of light and is represented with dark tones in infrared images. Vegetation, on the other hand, is highly reflective of infrared light and appears ghostly white when captured on a digital camera sensor. These conflicting elements combine to produce images that show striking and mysterious depths: depths hidden in the shallows, that I have plumbed with my camera and have found revealed by the unseen light.

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