The World We Don’t See

Transcend, by Matthew Stuart Piper, St. Louis. False Color Infrared Photograph

The first infrared photographs were taken by American photographer Robert Wood and published in 1910. Infrared photography captures wavelengths of light that are outside the visible spectrum. Because we can’t see this light, it produces some unusual results. Due to the reflectiveness of chlorophyll to infrared light, foliage appears white or near-white, resulting in what is known as the “Wood Effect.” IR photography produces a surreal, otherworldly look. While there were early military and agricultural applications, it wasn’t until the 1930s, that infrared film became commercially available. Legendary photographer Minor White was one of the first photographers to use infrared film for creative purposes, creating dreamlike scenes in the 1950s.

In the 1940s, Kodak developed false-color infrared film that was used for camouflage detection during World War II. This became commercially available in the 1960s. The unusual color and effects created by this new film fit well with the psychedelic culture of the times. Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and the Grateful Dead all used false-color infrared film to create album covers.

In Cleveland, Progressive hired photographer Abe Frajndlich to produce a portrait of the city for its 1979 annual report. That project grew into the book Cleveland Infra Red in 1981. That same year, Gallery+ artist/owner, Zackary Hoon, came to Cleveland to study at Case Western Reserve University, where he minored in photography. One of Hoon’s most influential instructors, Nicholas Hlobeczy, had been a longtime friend and student of Minor White. White’s influence on Hlobeczy had a major impact on Hoon’s development as a photographic artist. Hoon experimented with infrared film photography in the mid-1980s but didn’t do any more with infrared until 2014 when he learned that digital SLR cameras could be modified to capture infrared images. Since then, he has focused his creative energy on digital infrared photography—first with traditional B&W infrared images and more recently exploring the world of false-color infrared.

Today, there is a small but active worldwide community of infrared photographers dedicated to keeping the art of infrared photography alive. As part of the inaugural Cleveland Photo Fest, Gallery+ is proud to present the work of Hoon as well as several other infrared innovators in the show The World We Don’t See. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the surreal, otherworldly, dreamlike images of some of today’s best infrared photographers. The show will run from August 14 through September 20.


Preview Party 6–8pm Wednesday, August 14 | Show Hours: MWF 1–5pm & Third Fridays 5–9pm, or by appointment.



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Cleveland, Ohio 44102