Infrared Film Turns The Arctic Hot Pink

Many photographers share a fascination with discontinued film stock–shooting on film that’s in danger of extinction seems to lend their work a rare, enchanted flavor. New York–based photographer Daniel Zvereff recently got a hold of some of the last remaining supply of expired Kodak Aerochrome film in 120 format, and he took it to the Arctic–a place as endangered as the film itself. In his photo series, mountains, graveyards, and highways in the brief, verdant Arctic summer are stained in otherworldly pinks and purples.

Zvereff was inspired by the photography of Richard Mosse, who, in 2010, traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo during a rare lull in the conflict there. He shot startling photographs in psychedelic infrared Aerochrome, dissonantly depicting the war-torn land in candy colors. Now discontinued, Aerochrome was originally developed for the military to help them detect camouflage from helicopters: It responds the chlorophyll in plants and reverses green colors into lavenders and magentas and browns into deep blues. But art photographers soon found the film was good for more peaceful, nonmilitary purposes, too.

Compared to Mosse’s, Zvereff’s subject matter is decidedly more serene–the beauty of nature, inverted–but the endangerment of the Arctic landscape infuses his series with melancholy. “The Arctic will essentially be the next frontier for mining natural resources, and with a warming climate it’s safe to say it will soon be transformed as we know it, forever,” he writes in his artist statement. “It only seemed appropriate to photograph its incredible natural beauty using a film that is no longer in existence.” The photographer plans to return to the Arctic next summer, before his last stash of Aerochrome, which rapidly degrades, becomes unusable.

[h/t Feature Shoot]CD