Florida in a Different Light

From daguerreotypes to digital images, the Florida Photographic Collection features examples that highlight the evolution of the photographic process. Along the way, photographers developed the ability to capture infrared light, which is invisible to the human eye. The process of infrared photography involves using specially formulated film, sensitive to the infrared portion of the spectrum.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Palm Beach County, 1953

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, Palm Beach County, 1953

Infrared photography is used to great advantage in landscape photography, lightening up foliage and darkening skies and bodies of water. This creates images with a sublime and often beautiful otherworldly look. When used in portrait photography, it gives skin tones a soft glowing texture, but it also darkens the irises of the subject’s eyes. This secondary effect makes infrared a less common tool for conventional portraiture.

Palm tree-lined road, Boca Grande, 1960

Palm tree-lined road, Boca Grande, 1960

Modern digital cameras are built with a filter to block infrared light and most of the infrared special effects seen today are made post-production with image editing programs. Many of the infrared images in the Florida Photographic Collection come from the Department of Commerce Collection, where the photographers used this technique to capture Florida’s natural landscape.

Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation, Glades County, 1949

Brighton Seminole Indian Reservation, Glades County, 1949

 

Variety Children's Hospital, Coral Gables, ca. 1950

Variety Children’s Hospital, Coral Gables, ca. 1950

 

Bridge over Crystal River, Citrus County, ca. 1950

Bridge over Crystal River, Citrus County, ca. 1950

 

Cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, 1951

Cypress trees draped with Spanish moss, 1951