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Study on the theme of Duality

Updated: Nov 13, 2023

"1Q84" - Martina Margaux 2023.

To my own surprise, this is the work I showed the class for our “crit” session. 

I say “to my surprise” because the aesthetic/style of the picture does not immediately resonate as “me”, although I believe it’s an important step into building my practice and learning to trust the process (and myself in it). 

Therefore the genesis of this piece is worth being recorded on the blog.


It started out as a way to test my new infrared filter. I am looking for ways to evoke other realities through art, ways to momentarily pierce Maya’s veil and capture a glimpse of what “else”, what “other” reality might exist. 

I have previously shot flowers under UV light in timelapse, and I loved the dreamlike/surreal quality it unlocked. So now I wanted to experiment with the opposite side of the spectrum -Infrared.


UV light has shorter wavelengths than our eyes can perceive, while infrared has the longest wavelength in the visible range.

They both see something that is invisible to the human eye.


The outcome of the first test was honestly underwhelming. I tried out different settings and lenses, but the result was basically just a series of deep red photos. 

I love red yes, but in this case, I was a bit disappointed. I imported the pictures in Lightroom to experiment further with the settings and editing tools - white balance, channel mixer, curves… 


There was one shot in particular, that had something intriguing– the lens flare somehow looked like a second sun/moon/celestial body in the sky. I wished the sky was more cloudy that day, but I decided to test it out anyway. 


I played around with a lot of editing, taking inspiration from other infrared pictures I saw online. I have numerous variants, but I like to think the picture I shared in class is a Leibnizian “best of possible worlds”.


I consider this work as a “study”, not really a finished piece. I want to explore more abstract/ambiguous/mysterious subjects and techniques.


Update two days later: funny how my perception of the “best possible world” changes over time (perhaps according to my mood? The weather? Astrological alignments in the universe??). 


Notes from class:


I asked people in the group to give their first impressions of the picture, without any explanation. This were their comments:


- What media is it? Drawing? Animation? Ai? Miniature set? – I like the fact that it is not clear, that there’s an ambiguous quality to it.

- Alien feeling – Yes!

- It feels like climbing out of something/discovery

- Noir vibes

- Two suns give it a surreal sensibility – I like to think they’re two moons but I wanted to play with the warmth of the sky to stretch the surreality (cold celestial body vs warm sky)

- Exciting


To sum up:



  • Testing new ways of seeing the world – in this case, infrared

  • I trusted the process and kept going even though the result was not what I was expecting/aiming for

  • Ambiguity – I want to make art that is multiple things at the same time, that leaves space to interpretation. I don’t want to give it MY meaning or A meaning at all. This motivates to explore more abstract images

  • It is a tribute to one of my favourite books “1Q84” by Murakami, the noir/BD look also goes along with the reference



  • I don’t feel like the work represents me 

  • It doesn’t move me. Emotionally disconnected

  • The infrared experiment failed (yet it turned into something else!)

  • I still haven’t made anything (since the beginning of the course) I am comfortable calling an “artwork” and that I’d be proud to exhibit


Next steps:

  • Continue to trust the process. 

  • Research is good, but DO more stuff. Find a balance – more creation, less theory.

  • Master photoshop

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