Eye-Popping Photos of Central Park by Paolo Pettigiani
New York’s Central Park is a place we all know well, whether we’ve been there ourselves or experienced it through the lens of a film, book, or TV series. It’s one of the city’s most prominent tourist attractions, and is always awash with walkers, carriage riders, and buskers. Basically, it’s a hive of activity.
This viewpoint of Central Park is turned on its head in Paolo Pettigiani’s series of infrared photographs. Normally resigned to a greyscale skyline of high rise towers, the Italian graphic designer manages to make the lush green space into an otherworldly experience; an experience that’s less grey and more colourful, bringing viewers a new world entirely.
The landscape is miraculously turned into a saturated sea of colour, mostly prominent in rich pinks and bright turquoises thanks to the theory behind the infrared filter. The aim? “To highlight the majesty and the contrast of nature included in the famous big apple’s skyscrapers,” Pettigiani himself says, which, as a result, turns the urban sprawl of one of New York’s biggest attractions into a peaceful, quiet backdrop.
This a new series for Pettigiani who, before opting to showcase Central Park in a new light, snapped infrared photographs of his home country, Italy. In a similar vein, these shots captured a peaceful element of the country, limiting the views to those bathed in pink and blue. The surreal colour scheme of Pettigiani’s photos encourage viewers to look at popular places in a new way, picking out elements that might otherwise have gone unnoticed and exploring nature and urban scenes in a different light.
Pettigiani’s choice of the infrared filter isn’t random. Bright whites become deep turquoises and darker tones in the scene are printed as vibrant prinks, completely contradicting the colour palettes we know and are familiar with. This also works to give the images a moody ambiance, turning a fun tourist attraction into something that has considerably more meaning behind it.
It seems like such a simple method, but the results are very effective. By simply changing the colour schemes of icons we’re familiar with (like the grass, sky, and buildings), we are ushered into a new world entirely; we are brought into the unknown and encouraged to take a good look around and spot the differences.
It is clear to see that Pettigiani values simplicity in his work. Looking across his other series, there’s a heavy emphasis on minimalism, where he picks out details and focuses on the intricacies of a place or object. This theme is carried across into his Central Park series, where he focuses on individual elements of the attraction – an interesting tree here, a row boat on the lake there.
The beauty in Pettigiani’s Central Park series lies in the minor details. He picks out the parts that we might overlook in a bid to explore one of the world’s best loved attractions. By honing things down into block colours, he encourages the viewer to stop, take a step back, and admire the little things.
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