Photographer Cody Cobb reveals the hidden luminescence of the American West in his intriguing photo series Spectral. Over time, Cobb discovered that certain minerals and organic materials emit a glow when exposed to UV light, and this knowledge has formed the basis for the images. Using UV light and long exposure photography, Cobb uncovers a different side to familiar landscapes.
Cobb, who is based in Las Vegas, was looking for a way to render the familiar landscape of the American West into something otherworldly. Through ultraviolet-induced visible fluorescence, he is able to expose new aspects of the environment in ways that normally can't be seen. Though the work is challenging and requires long hours, the outcome is well worth it.
“The more I explore the landscape with a UV light source, the more I’m finding myself transported to another world,” Cobb tells My Modern Met.
When working in a particular area, Cobb is never entirely sure what will be revealed. “It’s been an interesting learning experience to find what responds to the UV light. Sometimes I’ll stumble upon a single, lone rock that is the only thing in the area that fluoresces.”
The blue, red, and orange glow that dominates Spectral‘s images add mystery to the photographs. By making us wonder exactly what is causing the colorful reaction, the images also provoke us to think about the environment. Just what are the minerals and organic matter that are fluorescing? And how much more is out there in nature that we can't see with the naked eye?
As Cobb continues Spectral, he hopes to explore coastal environments and continue on his journey to reveal the unknown.