Military & Police Show of Force
Infrared film was originally developed as a military surveillance technology. While camouflage blends in with trees and bushes to the human eye, infrared film reacts to the presence of chlorophyll, marking true vegetation pink and identifying enemy positions through their absence of unnatural hue. In response, modern military paint and uniforms have evolved to mimic vegetation in its spectral signature in order to elude infrared detection in the jungle.
In Boston, as in many other American cities during the Spring and Summer of 2020, military police were summoned in response to Black Lives Matter protests. Deployed in an American downtown, infrared cameras are again able to highlight the presence of the military, now marked foreign by its ersatz vegatal signature in a civilian concrete environment. This unnatural pink, alongside the ambiguous gazes of the police and soldiers who are the subjects of these photos, destabilize their presence, challenging viewers on both sides of a hardening cultural divide to consider these people from a different perspective.