With France poised for an election and the polls showing the incumbent president Emmanuel Macron having a comfortable lead, it's likely the country's citizens will be considering its past as well as its future. In a timely display, Pierre-Louis Ferrer's latest series reveals our neighbours in a patriotic infrared light.
A specialist in photographic techniques "beyond the visible", ultraviolet and infrared photography is nothing new to the Paris-based photographer. "As a former engineer in optics and sensors, I built my own cameras and filters to reach a new perception of our environment and our body. I am fascinated by the possibility to offer people a new perception of our world, to make them aware of the limits and subjectivity of our eyes," he tells Creative Boom.
Doused in red, white and blue, his latest series – Infra: Blue, White, Red – reveals "the heritage of France in infrared," as he puts it. "Because the heritage of France is not limited to the Eiffel Tower and Mont Saint-Michel, I have travelled my country for several years to illustrate its natural and cultural riches. The main goal of this work is to reveal the beauty and diversity of each region of France in terms of monuments, remarkable gardens and historical sites. Each of them reflects our traditions and our coexistence with nature over the centuries."
Pierre-Louis also wants to "bring back to the fore this omnipresent nature on France's territory, but which expression is increasingly limited by the expansion of human activity," he says. "This is in order to make our natural environment more visible and readable, to understand its modes of expansion and to become aware of the limits that we impose on it."
To achieve these objectives, Pierre-Louis opted for infrared photography, one that captures radiation invisible to the naked eye, but has a very real impact on any organic element: tree leaves, plants, our skin. "The result is a vivid red colouring of the plants, which strikes the eye and destabilises the viewer. Red energises or dramatises depending on the subject photographed."
Set against the backdrop of bright blue skies with only a splattering of fluffy white clouds, one can see tones reminiscent of the French flag. It's a patriotic tribute to his home country as it faces one of its biggest elections following Brexit and two years of a global pandemic.