Tuesday 26 May 2009

What is Infrared 100?

October 2010 will be the centenary of a landmark publication in the Royal Photographic Society's Photographic Journal. In the October 1910 edition there is a paper by Professor Robert Williams Wood, originally presented as the 13th annual Traill-Taylor Memorial Lecture, called Photography by Invisible Rays. As far as I know, this marks the first publication of an infrared photograph.

Wood demonstrated uses of both infrared and ultraviolet imaging. His influence over the medium was such that he gave his name to one of the most striking attributes of infrared photographs, the glowing foliage. This is known as the Wood Effect.

Some of Wood’s photographs were included in the 1911 RPS exhibition and as a result were published in the London Illustrated News in June that year. He also presented a paper to the Royal Institution.

This centenary can be used as an opportunity to celebrate and promote a branch of photography that has numerous scientific and medical applications, produces beautiful images of the world, and (in theory) is easier than ever to do with the arrival of digital cameras.