Infrared Photography in the Movies

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

Whenever I’m asked to do a presentation about infrared photography to photographic organizations  I always kick it off with a questions that I was once asked: A reader once e-mailed asking “Why do you do infrared photography, when regular photography is already so hard?”

The short answer, for me anyway, is because it’s fun. Sure it’s a bit more techy than traditional visible light photography but the payoff is that it produces the kind of image you can’t get any other way. And sure, you need specialized gear whether it’s a special filter (read my post on that subject here) or spending extra cash to get a camera converted to infrared capture only by companies such as LifePixel. My advice on the latter is that should should convert an older camera that’s just been sitting around rather than your bread and butter daily shooter.



Infrared is not as exotic as you think. In the 1948 film Fort Apache, John Ford’s cinematographer, Archie Stout, suggested that they shoot Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 9.07.00 AMthe climactic confrontation at the end of the film using infrared film to create dramatic images of the Monument Valley location where it was filmed. The above frame is from of the IR sequences. I’ve often said that one of my main influences was not other photographer’s work as much as it was the movies. And after watching the beautifully restored version of Fort Apache on Blue-Ray over the weekend, I have added photographing Monument Valley in infrared to my bucket list.

IR.bookMy book, The Complete Guide to Digital Infrared Photography is out-of-print but new copies are available from Amazon for $37.65 with used copies bargain priced at $8.99 as I write this. Creative Digital Monochrome Effects has a chapter on IR photography and is available from Amazon with used copies a steal at just four bucks and like the IR book would make a great gift for your favorite photographer or yourself.

Author: Joe Farace

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