Robert Buelteman Electrifies NatureJuly 1st, 2009 by Erin
Robert Buelteman is not your average photographer. He’s not out there taking pictures of lawn chairs and chain link fences, or endearingly fat babies in buckets. He is turning nature into a vision of electricity so difficult and dangerous that nobody else will even attempt it.
Here is a thorough breakdown of Buelteman’s process:
- Buelteman begins by painstakingly whittling down flowers, leaves, sprigs, and twigs with a scalpel until they’re translucent.
- He then lays each specimen on color transparency film and, for a more detailed effect, covers it with a diffusion screen.
- This assemblage is placed on his “easel” — a piece of sheet metal sandwiched between Plexiglas, floating in liquid silicone.
- Buelteman hits everything with an electric pulse and the electrons do a dance as they leap from the sheet metal, through the silicone and the plant (and hopefully not through him), while heading back out the jumper cables.
- In that moment, the gas surrounding the subject is ionized, leaving behind ethereal coronas.
- He then hand-paints the result with white light shining through an optical fiber the width of a human hair, a process so tricky each image can take up to 150 attempts.
The images may not look like much at first, until you consider the ridiculously tedious process behind it (an extension of Kirlian photography).
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind seeing some of his herb photography.