In her trippy Infra Realism series, Melbourne photographer Kate Ballis turns familiar and well-documented landscapes into a world of surreality. While we're all acquainted with the dreamy hallmarks of Joshua Tree and Palm Springs (think ancient trees and freestanding rocks, modernist mansions and still pools), Ballis shoots the terrain in infrared, a photographic technique that picks up extremities of light that the human eye can't register. The result is a colour cast of deep violets and electric blues, blood reds and hot magentas.
"The infrared spectrum of light emanating from plants sits just beyond the light spectrum visible to humankind," Ballis explains. "My work, in that sense, straddles science and magic, providing a glimpse into the unknown, making the unseen, seen, and the seen unseen." Magic, perhaps, but also Mars: the photographs look like a 1950s imagining of where humans may find themselves in the not-too-distant-future; the landscapes seem uninhabitable, but enchanting in their familiarity. Ballis said her aim was to "candy-coat California, from wild deserts to pools, to the banal. I am fascinated with unseen energy and am excited to create work that catches a glimpse of a world that exists just outside human perception, like a memory you can't quite pinpoint".
Ethereal, dreamlike and psychedelic, Infra Realism invites us to take a second look at an overfamiliar world. We're setting our screensaver to these photos, stat.