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Dream destinations: Infrared photos transport to other worlds 

click to enlarge David Twedes Vanishing Ranch captures the soon-to- - be-developed - Banning Lewis Ranch site in infrared.
  • David Twedes Vanishing Ranch captures the soon-to- be-developed Banning Lewis Ranch site in infrared.

If you've flown to or from the Colorado Springs Airport recently, you've probably noticed surreal photographs by local artist David Twede inside the terminal.

The infrared photographs give the illusion of a parallel universe. The images and locations seem almost but not quite familiar, capturing a dreamlike quality that perhaps glimpses into another world.

Since childhood, Twede has been interested in the visual arts, finding inspiration and a connection between the "distorted representations" of post-impressionism and surrealism and his own night and daytime dreams.

"When I saw my first infrared photo a few years ago, I was intrigued by the altered nature it provided," he explains. "Infrared photography captures light just beyond human vision. Specific glass filters are necessary to block the light we see normally."

Throughout his career, Twede, a scientist by day, has worked in the photography and processing fields, always experimenting with perspective, lighting and setting.

"Creativity has always been important to me," he says. "Scientific research complements artistic pursuits by encouraging new outlooks and incorporating new information into the creative process."

In 2005, Twede began his journey into photographic art when he visited his childhood home in Hawaii. "It wasn't until I photographed [there] that I found a connection to my own life."

After taking infrared photographs for the first time, "it was a revelation how much more connected I felt to my memories through the infrared representation than the real one," he says. "It was as if the imprints of my childhood were left in the dreams I'd had there."

Twede felt his photographs' pastels were more vivid than Hawaii's actual landscape colors.

Having kept dream journals for much of his life, Twede searches for those surreal images that make up his own personal dreamland what he describes as "experiences ranging from night-terrors and that lonely, lost feeling, to paradise and spiritual obscurities." He relies on feelings that the dream scenes stir up to create his pieces, attempting "to evoke that same mood through composition, filter and processing choices."

Another motivating factor behind Twede's photography is the "preservation or recording [of] landscapes that are disappearing due to over- and poor development of dwindling natural resources."

A piece entitled "Vanishing Ranch," Twede says, was based on the Banning Lewis Ranch in eastern El Paso County that was sold for development. Twede visited the site on an afternoon that quickly turned from clear to cloudy.

"My sense of its uncertain future was heightened through infrared by the storms sweeping the old houses and rock formations," he recounts.

Down the road, Twede plans to incorporate his infrared photos into duo or trio sets alongside standard and, possibly, ultraviolet photographs. These "soon-to-be-forgotten sites," as Twede calls them, would be displayed "side by side, to imply going from the real past to an elusive future."

Rocks and Ranches of Colorado Springs: Infrared photography by David Twede

Colorado Springs Airport terminal, Gate 8, 7770 Milton E. Proby Pkwy.

Runs through March 31.

Ticketed passengers only can view this exhibit. Contact Kelly at 550-1917 or check out surrealcolor.com for more.

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