Invisible Paintings That Can Only Be Seen by Cameras

Toronto-based artists Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements have an exhibition titled “Take a Picture” which features paintings that are invisible to the human eye but visible to cameras. To do this, they use a frequency of light that is outside the visible spectrum but visible to the CCD and CMOS sensors found in digital cameras.

Here’s a video introducing the project:

Take a Picture (via Make)

  • Patti

    There’s a very similar painting in the SFMOMA right now. It looks like a black painting, but when seen on a monitor the painting reveals itself.

  • Ryanroehl

    There is so much you could do with this. Just one idea that came to mind, you could use this light to mask things in a museum that you don’t want people taking pictures of. Everyone has a camera in their pocket these days, the possibilities with these lights are endless.

  • Ryanroehl

    I am curious though, whatever is being used to record the video obviously cant see the light.

  • Pingback: Invisible Artwork Only Visible to Cameras | Suzi's Smufah Site()

  • Wing Wong

    This is interesting technology… I’m guessing the frequency is either IR or UV. I’m guessing this kind of technology would work well on fairly inexpensive cameras with poor IR/UV filtering, but would not work well with cameras with a sufficiently good UV/IR filter ala most mid-high end DSLR(s).

    As for protecting artwork… a simple UV/IR blocking filter would render any kind of protection moot. They probably did that with the video recording to showcase the effect.

  • Kyle Clements

    Wow! Thanks for picking up my project and saying all the nice things about it. It’s an honour.

    Ryanroehl: That was one of our motivations for creating this piece. If it ever ends up in a museum, their anti-photography policies will kill the artwork.

    Wing Wong:
    Good guess! We have IR LEDs hidden behind the canvas.
    Newer, high quality digital cameras have very good IR filters, which block the light very well, while older and lower-quality cameras (like the ones in cell phones) see the light very clearly.

    This video was shot with a D7000, which is very insensitive to IR light, while the cheap point and shoot could see it clearly.

  • Guest

    They should so put these around paintings to prevent people from photographing them at museums.

  • Pingback: Invisible Paintings that can only be seen with a Camera | Helablog()

  • Jeff

    That’s a really cool idea.

  • Will

    whats wrong with lemon juice and matches?!?

  • rainer kohlberger