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  • Writer's pictureLaziza Rakhimova

Designing Nature

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Focusing your camera on a city park at any time of the year can ignite a blaze of lights and spools of color dancing just above the spectrum of human sight. Prospect Park’s unseen array is composed of a stunning orange, cobalt blue and cadmium red--an altered reality captured in the blink of the camera’s shutter.

Nature exudes a spectrum of light waves and colors which escape the eye but are ever-present in the world we inhabit. Green trees, plants, and clouds reflect intense waves of infrared light throughput the day and night while the sky in this spectrum remains a dark canvas across which the flora plays. Beautiful, it lurks just outside our sight, invisible but real, a part of the world, with which we unknowingly interact daily. For this project, I modified my camera sensor to make it sensitive to the unknown.

While taking these photos I was taking in the bucolic smell of nature and visualizing hazy sunsets, pervasive smoke from fires, hurricanes and other dangers lingering ominously in the future. One could notice a radiating heat, concern, toxicity and distress in these sumptuous colors. It is invisible, but real - the amorphous threat of climate change.

Designers Olmsted and Vaux seized the unseen portraiture in Prospect Park by honoring the aesthetic of paintings. Wishing visitors to experience the park through a myriad of perspectives, they designed the park’s paths to wind through the landscape, creating the illusion of wide-open space tucked into one of the world’s largest cities. These infrared C-prints of Prospect Park reminiscent of Japanese screens pay tribute to the illusionary aesthetic of this monumental urban expanse and urge us thinking about climate change as something we can see happening right outside our windows. Mounted on white acrylic these pieces resemble to a glass plate.

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