• February 10, 2014

Musings: Daniel Zvereff’s Infrared Introspective

When artist Daniel Zvereff saw Richard Mosse’s Infra film project from the Congo, he knew he had to find a way to make the most of the discontinued, magenta-hued film. Known as “Kodak Aerochrome,” this film was originally intended for aerial photography to indicate areas of vegetation in surveys and to find camouflaged military encampments. Kodak describes it as “infrared-sensitive, false-color reversal film.” Plant life turns to a majestic red or purple hue while non-plant life often renders in grey or blue.

Picture of moscow infrared
Moscow, Russia

Zvereff, who is primarily a designer and illustrator, decided that the best way to take advantage of the film’s unusual properties was to take an epic trip to the Arctic. It seemed appropriate to use a quickly expiring plant-centric film to document the rapidly changing landscapes there. “I really wanted to create something that embodied adventure and free spirit but at the same time have an underlying concept to tie it all together.”

He also decided to keep a journal and draw illustrations of the places he visited. For him the journals were “a combination of my own thoughts and the inspiration I receive from other cultures and experiences all mashed together.”

Picture of journal pages
Picture of graveyard and mountains greeland infrared
Kulusuk, Greenland

Zvereff’s trip required a lot of time, patience and flexibility. “Knowing that the film reacts to chlorophyll in plants, I planned my trip within a three month window in the summer, considering the photographs wouldn’t come out as I had envisioned if everything was covered in snow.” While his original concept centered around the arctic, Zvereff’s trip ended up spanning Iceland, Greenland, Spain, Russia, Svalbard, Kenya, England, Alaska, and the Northern Yukon.

“I decided I would start in Greenland, where the ice is melting and traditional hunting practices are shrinking. Simultaneously, the ice melt has opened up natural resources to mining and oil companies and altered Greenland’s economy and social makeup. I wanted to document it with a film that was no longer in existence.”

Picture of journal illustration greenland
Picture of boat and helicopter greenland infrared
Tasiilaq, Greenland

“As long as I can remember I’ve had this fascination with Greenland,” he continued. To me it was always surrounded by mystery. It was so big—right in the middle of the map—and somehow I had never met anyone who had been there.”

Picture of journal page with earth illustration
Picture of infrared mountains svalbard norway
Longyearbyen, Svalbard, Norway

One particular experience from Greenland stands out as a highlight of his trip. “My first impression of Greenland was in Kulusuk,” Zvereff says. “I was walking alone down the road from the airport to the center of town. There was so much fog everywhere I couldn’t see 20 feet ahead of me. As I neared the town I could hear the strange high-pitched squeals of sled dogs that were chained to the ground. They had thick metal 15-foot long chains, and they looked like filthy wolves. Beautiful, but if you have never experienced them before it can be intimidating. Near them, a hunter and his son were gutting freshly caught seals they had captured earlier that morning. They looked at me and smiled and told me I could hang out with them, they were so kind. I remember feeling so stunned, it was such visceral experience. Greenland’s culture and environment those few days in Kulusuk really sparked this creativity within me.”

Picture of journal illustration iceland
Picture of infrared south iceland
South Iceland

Throughout the journey, Zvereff was intent on keeping his costs low and the quality of his experience high. “Every portion of this trip was very open-ended and free. It was about me figuring out ways to get to some of these remote locations on a budget.” Although some of the places were originally supposed to just be stopovers, they ended up becoming part of the journey.

Picture of journal with giraffe illustration
Picture of person walking on road in nugumbulu kenya
Nugumbulu, Kenya

“Our world is beautiful and inspiring. In an age where nearly every part of our world is visually available at our fingertips, it can still surprise us in ways we can’t even imagine.”

As for the film itself, it is literally all gone. Zvereff says his supplier purchased a bulk roll from Kodak years ago and cut it down into different film formats. He is completely out now, save a few rolls on Ebay that go for around $100 per roll.

Picture of journal with tribal illustration
Picture of landscape mountains lake yukon infrared
Tombstone, Territorial Yukon, Canada

See more of Daniel Zvereff’s work on his website, and follow him on Instagram.

Follow Janna Dotschkal on Twitter and Instagram.

There are 40 Comments. Add Yours.

  1. Dennis Huey
    March 26, 2016

    Fantastic EIR/Aerochrome images. I have some rolls of 120, and shooting 6×17 images with them.

  2. Bruce Couch
    July 7, 2015

    @scott … do you have a clue how crazy your comment is? The article is about shooting color infrared film. Not digital. This is how the processed film looks. You should actually read the article… it’s rather good. ;o)

  3. Scott Alan
    July 19, 2014

    Good job, but you are doing it wrong. Learn how to properly edit a RAW image like all the other real photographers do using the Alpha channel along with the standard RGB channels.

  4. Paul Locher
    March 5, 2014

    I really like the repurposed use of the technical film in a show of excellent creativity. The graphics are a real plus in an age of digital everything! Great work.

  5. Tina Wade-Lucas
    March 4, 2014

    I love the photos. But more than that, I love the Prelude. It’s wonderful to read what someone’s thoughts are as they embark on a journey; or, return from one.

  6. Betsy Plummer
    March 2, 2014

    The beautiful purples against the stark blacks and grays is imaginative and simply beautiful.

  7. Uroosa
    February 24, 2014

    Great Job!!!!!!!

  8. Miron Popescu
    February 24, 2014

    Besides the amazing effects of the inverted colors there is little real contribution. The man is a good self promotion agent and advertiser.

  9. Apurva
    February 24, 2014

    Pandora on Earth!

  10. Sandra
    February 23, 2014

    Excellent colors; especially loved the Yukon photo.

  11. Bill Murray
    February 23, 2014

    Beautiful, imaginative, and creative…

  12. Jireh Jalipa
    February 21, 2014

    Beautiful perspective!

    February 20, 2014


  14. Dipayan Dutta
    February 16, 2014

    Heavenly!!!! Very much creative…just loved it…

  15. Raju Gurung
    February 16, 2014

    Beautifully crafted in writing Janna and thank you for coming up with this PROOF. I was inspired with infra-red photography and this added motivation to my daily photographic explorations. Best wishes,

  16. Robert Redford
    February 15, 2014

    So very surreal. The Earth is teeming with life, even in some of the most punishing environments.

  17. Asadul Hakim
    February 15, 2014

    Tell me: How can you ignore “HIS” creations? Please never forget HIM.

  18. yoram israel
    February 15, 2014

    N G has many years of amaizing art phottoes.From the years there wher only Magazins..! This days,every one is an “artist”..every thing is “art”..people does many ways for “better” and every idea is aloude! Please dont be afraid from the situation about so many photoes artrist arownd the world ! please dont use and share art bild from..every thing is art..idease that makes the phottoes worth! like in the red couler that makes phottoes look bad! kip your abilities it will allways be better..more beautiful then others! Nature is beautiful without new invantions from modern artist! Adding red is less beautiful..in all phottoes iv seen! Please stay in the real, Modern time,when everything alowed, makes art go down! And its the same in all kineds of Art !

  19. Andrea van der Velden
    February 15, 2014

    These are the most beautiful photos I have seen. They took my breath away. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  20. Ms Crystal S Brown
    February 15, 2014

    Beautiful, images and Journal.

  21. ann duggan
    February 15, 2014

    Fab work…if anyone is in Dublin Richard Mosse Exhib is on there at the RHA right now…powerful experience. …

  22. koumoulos
    February 15, 2014

    so mich great !!! so much great !!!!! feeling so happy !!!

  23. Palatine
    February 15, 2014

    Fantastic pictures

  24. Arun
    February 15, 2014

    Beautiful pics… I live in Yukon 😉

  25. Flor
    February 13, 2014

    Inspiring, amazing. Just great photos!
    Thks for sharing.

  26. Charles Freeman
    February 13, 2014

    Awesome!!! Take some pics of different strains of cannabis with this film or digital setting and write a book in this manner. Free kick start…I just wanna see it. 😉

  27. Immy
    February 11, 2014

    So beautiful! Very inspiring images

  28. daniel
    February 11, 2014
  29. S.Baines
    February 11, 2014

    Nice work 🙂
    I have a roll of 35mm frozen film .

  30. iBernard
    February 11, 2014

    Just breath-taking! What a wonderful series, truly close to your heart…and eye! Bravo!

  31. Andre T
    February 11, 2014

    that’s a breathtaking pics
    very” nice purple color

  32. Nizamuddin Danwer
    February 11, 2014

    you have beautiful mind & exploring adventurer’s energy & great potential to reach the ultimate heights.Wishing you the best.

  33. Shrestha prakash raj
    February 11, 2014


  34. Brad
    February 11, 2014

    Very neat idea!! Love the pictures! It is sad this film is a thing of the past!

  35. Arpit
    February 11, 2014

    Great. Awesome snaps, Daniel. What a thought to create such masterpieces with something that people could not have imagined. This is amazing truly.

  36. Demetrius white
    February 10, 2014

    these pictures are so beautiful!!!!

  37. mantha ravi
    February 10, 2014

    So very inspiring snaps as well as notes there Daniel. someday my wish is to meet U. Its when we meet, U will recognize me instantly. Keep up the good work.

  38. mary mangan
    February 10, 2014

    Amazing photos

  39. Adrian Sifuentes
    February 10, 2014

    Amazing pictures

  40. saeed jaradat
    February 10, 2014

    Creative …Amazing Photos

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