This project is called Take A Picture, by Toronto artists Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements. Though described as “paintings,” it appears that their pieces are in fact IR LED mosaics assembled behind blank canvases. Invisible to the unaided human eye, the IR light is detectable by the CCD in your digital camera and/or smart phone. [via Hack a Day]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

  • Anonymous

    Neat–I’d just add that it’s not necessarily only digital cameras, any analog video camera that’s CCD-based would work too.

  • Kyle Clements

    Wow. Thanks for posting this, I’m honoured. If anyone has any questions, I’m glad to reply.

    Anything CCD or CMOS should work. It works very well with my Dad’s old super8 camcorder.

    I’m actually working on a guide for this project:

    • Sean Michael Ragan

      Great to hear from you, Kyle! Shoot me an e-mail when your guide is
      ready and I’ll hit it again on the blarg. Cheers-SMR

  • Anonymous

    it must have been a pain to get the photo of the effect from a digital camera! ;) Good project, I’m very tempted to follow your instructions.

  • Kyle Clements

    “it must have been a pain to get the photo of the effect from a digital camera!”

    The promo picture was shopped. (well, “Gimped”, but that just doesn’t sound as good)

    I Shot the canvas when it was unplugged, and the cell phone when it was plugged in, then composited the two images together.

    New DSLRs like the 7D and D7000 have really good IR filters built into them that block out IR really well, so it would be possible to re-shoot this image today without any trickery. But I’d rather spend that time building new stuff.

  • Epicanis

    I’ve been wondering where I can find potential dyes that are either dark-appearing but reflective in the near-IR, or light in color (within the visible spectrum) but absorbent of near-IR light so as to get an effect like this, but without the need for LEDs.

  • Phil Archer

    i did something very similar a couple of years ago for a an exhibition about mobile phone photography:

    it was interesting to see how the effectiveness varied on different makes and models of phones / cameras.

  • ___

    Used something similar to the promotion of the music festival in Oslo, Norway.
    The only drawback is that it does not work with Iphone 4 and newer phones. because of the light spectrum on which perceives.
    my version:

    • Kyle Clements

      We had the exact same problem with the iphone4. It simply does not see the IR. Nor do new DSLRs. It’s a shame, there is a ton of potential in this, and camera makers are taking it away by making better cameras.

  • Joseph Merrick

    did someone just wink at me? that was definitely for me

  • Benjamin Hable

    I made a similar project recently, even sent a video of it to this blog. Might as well:

    • Sean Michael Ragan

      Wow, that is pretty sweet, Benjamin. Gonna blog it tomorrow morning. Sorry if your first submission got lost in somebody’s in-box.