Haida Gwaii Infrared, is a color infrared photographic survey of the archipelago of Haida Gwaii on the pacific ocean; with subject ranging from unique sub-species of plants and animals, ancient cultural artifacts, historic Haida village sites, modern structures, portraiture, cultural events, landscapes and some experimental photography. All images have been photographed on film in the infrared spectrum of light, something that is present in everyday life but invisible to the human eye.
Kodak Color infrared film is a modified-color ("false color") film originally designed for aerial camouflage detection. It is useful in medical, biological, and pictorial purposes. it detects visible and infrared light (700-700 nanometers). The brighter the reds are in each image is based on how healthy the foliage is. Normal color films are sensitized with each color dye on a separate layer. Kodak chose the red dye to represent infrared light, a "color" or light wavelength that human eyes cannot perceive. By that same notion, I am using the red dye to represent the mystical otherness that the Haida were portrayed in early colonial photography.
The project considers the historical context in which photography and the Haida people first came into contact. Early photographs of Haida Gwaii were taken during survey expeditions of the late 19th century. These photographs were landscape images or documentary style pictures documenting their "disappearing lifestyle." Survey Expeditions were at the same time part of the cultural and environmental shifts endangering the Haida Community and which nearly brought an absolute disappearance of the culture and the people. By revisiting many of the locations that were first photographed and using similar equipment I am reexamining the motives and intent behind the original historical photos. At the same time I am attempting to highlight the importance of practicing ethical photography when from the perspective of an outsider.
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