La Ville Lumière: Pierre-Louis Ferrer's “Invisible Paris”
Paris — the City of Light, the home of the enlightened in arts & science. History is kind to this richly-cultured city, continuously remains as a top destination for travelers. However, resident French photographer Pierre-Louis Ferrer paints his hometown in a different light — literally.
Through infrared photography, he turns the city into a winter-like wonderland. Read our exclusive interview with Pierre here in Lomography Magazine.
Hi Pierre! Welcome to Lomography Magazine. Firstly, Paris is often noted for being the romantic’s destination, reminding most of us vignetted and sepia photographs. We are very astonished to see it in your neutral palette! How did you get the idea to shoot the city in infrared?
Hi! I am working on infrared photography for more than 3 years now, and since this summer I never found time to apply this technique to the city where I live. One of the reasons was the difficulty to apply infrared effect to street photography : infrared effect is the most efficient on natural subjects like landscapes and forests, so I needed to find a way to integrate natural elements on typical views of Paris.
White, blue and other neutrals are the colors found in the images. May we know why you chose this sort of palette?
In infrared photography, the colour effect depends on the type of IR filter you use. With very restrictive IR filters, like the one I used, there is not a lot of visible light passing. So the only colour remaining is the blue of the sky. I was looking for this pure look where white foliage surrounded the buildings.
With another less restrictive filter, the foliage would have been golden or yellow, and the ambiance would have been totally different.
It is no question that Paris is one of the most photographed places in the world. This series definitely brings a refreshing image of the city. What were you trying to achieve when making the series?
My main goal was to make vegetation the main subject of the pictures to create a dreamy effect, but at the same time an effect which looks natural. Paris is not really known for its parks and gardens, so I wanted to show how vegetation is presented in this city.
What do you love about the City of Light?
The number of different subjects you can shoot, and the important number of impressive monuments. I love walking along the Seine River.
As a street photographer, apart from the colors, what else matters most to you when composing an image, especially in street photography?
The light, because without light, there is no photography. And its properties make possible infrared photography. So I am first looking at the light direction when I decide to shoot a new place.
If you could liken the Paris portrayed in your series “Invisible Paris” to a Parisian figure (could be an artist, musician, writer, or any famous Parisian figure), who would it be?
I would say Michel Berger, with his song “Paradis Blanc” which means ‘white paradise’. Even if I do not know any other song performed by him, just for the title.
Where do you take inspiration from?
From music most of the time. It explains why I give music titles to most of my pictures.
The toughest thing to do as a photographer is to grow out of his comfort zone. What do you do to ensure you keep growing as an artist?
I keep playing with light properties, shooting in ultraviolet too since a few months. There is always something to learn in photography, so I keep shooting and meeting other photographers.
Lastly, what’s next for you? Any on-going project lately?
Two main projects: a set of portraits in infrared and a set dealing with the circulation of people in the city.
Written by Ciel Hernandez. Originally published at www.lomography.com.