Many of you will have seen images taken with the famous Kodak Aerochrome film, or more likely in today's photography, you will have seen a digital homage to its created aesthetic. But how did this film come to be, and why was it originally used?
My first experience of KODAK's Aerochrome film was back a decade or so ago, when I read about an exhibition by Irish photographer, Richard Mosse, who created a series of war images from the Congo using the striking, infrared film. The bright pink tones were a jarring addition to a typically bleak genre of photography, and whatever you make of his decision to use the discontinued film in that way, it was captivating.
The history of this iconic film — which has seen its time in the sun on multiple occasions due to pop culture — is as interesting as the various applications of it. Todd Dominey does a frankly wonderful job of explaining it in this video, and I refuse to tread on his toes where possible, but here is KODAK's rather dry description of the film:
KODAK AEROCHROME III Infrared Film 1443 is an infrared-sensitive, false-color reversal film intended for various aerial photographic applications where infrared discriminations may yield practical results. This film has medium resolving power and fine grain.
So, why would anyone want an infrared-sensitive, false-color film for their photography? The answer is a surprising one.