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Palms Springs midcentury architecture and its plants get the infrared treatment

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Kate Ballis’s “Infra Realism” series candy-coats the California desert resort town

Photo taken with infrared lens and light filters of a midcentury house whose pale surface turns pink and the cacti and palm trees surrounding it blue.
The infrared treatment allows succulents and palm trees pop against a pink background.
Photos courtesy of Kate Ballis

Palms Springs, California, and its glamorous Old Hollywood vibe already exudes a stuck-in-time quality, but Kate Ballis’s infrared photographs of its iconic midcentury modern architecture and its namesake flora take it to the next level.

Hoping to appreciate the desert resort city just outside Los Angeles anew, the Melbourne-photographer decided to look at what she considers her second home through new eyes—that is, through infrared and colored filters.

The result is a collection of images saturated in radioactive pinks and blues that lend palm trees, succulents, and the simple, straight-lined architecture of the city an otherworldly quality.

Titled “Infra Realism,” the series “sits in the mysterious realm between reality and the surreal,” Ballis shares in a statement. “Residing in a lucid dreamscape, it is familiar in form and yet subverts the familiar color and scale we rely on to interpret the visions around us.”

Ballis noticed that because many homes and buildings in the area are painted in neutral hues to blend in with the rocky mountain backdrop and desert landscape, plants and gardens often disappeared into the background as well. But the infrared process offered a new perspective on the greenery, allowing them to take center stage and come alive: “What appears to the eye as a dusty brown scene is actually a glowing world.“

(h/t Dezeen)