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Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2016- )

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait
Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Briney" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2016)

"Axel" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2023)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"John" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2019)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Jenna" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2016)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Kyle" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2019)

"Mark" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2023)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Briney's Open Mouth" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2019)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Roger" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2023)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Laura" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2023)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Alexis" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2023)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Madaslyn" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2017)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Mom" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2021)

Linda Alterwitz, Thermal Portrait

"Samantha" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2017)

"Shinlei" from the series Heat: Portraits of the Invisible World (2023)

I am interested in the whole spectrum, revealing human beings at all times of life. I am especially drawn to people who are brimming with a life force, those close to death and those whose lives are most affected by visibility and invisibility.

These portraits are captured using a high-resolution thermal camera. It takes away the familiar. It creates ambiguity to the physical characteristics that can socially divide us, such as color, gender or age. Pigmentation, tattoos, hair color cease to exist. Marks and wrinkles on the skin often disappear. The depth of field and three-dimensional object are flattened, and the figure comes to the forefront, often isolated in space, floating in nothingness, the absence of gravity. It’s disorienting. It’s not clear where the surfaces are. The images don’t connect to previous assumptions. Instead, radiating from each portrait are the biological commonalities that unite us—breath, sweat, inflammation and the warm circulation of blood. We are forced to see differently.

The thermal camera enables me to present an alternate vision of what a portrait can be—one that void of prejudice by having stripped the markers that trigger habitual responses.

At a time when we are so divided in this country, in this age of polarity and punishment, with partisan politics and strangled language, my interest is in what connects us, the raw humanity within us. My hope is to inspire people to see that connectivity.

Heat is a declaration that beyond the boundaries of visibility are elemental truths that bind us as human beings.

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