Lynda Laird’s series ‘Dans le Noir’ – Visualizing memory and the sense of place through the contrast of grey, blue and the aggressive red of infrared film as an act of remembering the D-Day landing and the role, and the impact it had on the common people.
“The story is based on a diary of Odette Brefort, a young girl living in Deauville during the German Occupation and throughout WW2, who was a part of the French Resistance, providing military intelligence on the German defenses by drawing intricate and beautiful maps to send to her comrades in Paris. It is a 5 years diary, but I decided to narrow it down and to use only day – the D-Day landing.
I walked the coast and photographed the bunkers that formed part of the Atlantic wall along the Normandy coast from Utah beach to Deauville. They were all looking out to the sea and some of them had these paintings of trees and forests on them to disguise it.
Infrared technology was created by the military in WW2 to detect camouflage and expose a visual spectrum that is invisible to the naked eye. They used it as a means of surveillance. It is picking up anything that is alive bright red and anything that is dead, black. The vegetation reflects a large amount of infrared and the trees and the forests appeared bright red when the film was developed.
It worked quite well. But that wasn’t the plan. It was much more about the film being relevant to the work… I definitely think it’s an act of remembering to kind of get into the head space of someone that was living through it. It is something we can connect to more than the soldiers or the people that were involved in the fighting. Someone’s friend or someone’s mother to have their experience of that day, I think, is quite important.”