Photographer Jack Long uses high-speed cameras to capture liquid compositions that vanish in fractions of a second.
But Long’s documentation of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it works isn’t the only amazing thing about his photography. His rigidly-choreographed “splash sculptures” (as he calls them) are immediately recognizable as vases, flowers, mushrooms, caves or sci-fi landscapes. The works evoke ceramic sculpture so convincingly that you could be forgiven for mistaking them for a less-ephemeral object at first glance.
The artist describes his process on his blog:
“My goal is to create intriguing visual art using liquids as my subject. Because it is fluid, and happen so quickly, photography is the only method of seeing them. The photography portion is only the final stage in the creation of these images of fluids suspended in mid-air for a very brief period of time. The whole action takes just a fraction of a second. I work to create and capture the three dimensional fluid form at it’s most interesting shape and position. The form is captured with high speed flash photography that has a duration of as brief as 1/10,000th of a second. Even with complicated construction and extensive testing, the results are still often surprising and serendipitous.
“While there is a lot of technical aspects to the work, my goal is to always strive to create visually intriguing photography. As an experienced photographer, the quality of light and form are extremely important in bringing out the characteristics and shapes of the fluids.
“Unlike much splash based photography being made lately, the images I create are single capture events. I do not use Photoshop composition or digital imaging to create my images. The techniques I use are self discovered and proprietary.”
It appears as though he’s interested and capable of pushing this one idea into new directions. Long has applied his process to liquid compositions that are abstract or incorporate solid objects such as pedestals, drinking glasses and glass beads. He’s even shot his sculptures in natural settings like rivers (it would be fascinating if he could describe the experience of trying to do this in a less-controlled setting outside of a studio). Long also mentioned that he photographed certain works with two cameras to create a stereoscopic 3D image.
In addition to the artist’s site, which includes dozens of his works, we’ve also included a link an online gallery in which Long discusses his thought process behind many of his compositions.
Bill Rodgers is a Contributing Editor at CFile.
Above image: An abstract splash sculpture by photographer Jack Long.
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