Decades after Edgerton’s initial breakthroughs in high speed flash photography, we can imagine, but it’s hard to evoke, the excitement and magic of those images at “first sight.” I hope to rekindle that wonder. To show you something you have never seen before.
These photographs avoid the expected vocabulary of high-speed water drop photography. My intent is to strip the images of any clues of origin, leaving you entirely to your own devices when interpreting what you are seeing. Scale-, material, and timeframe are not obvious. What you will “see” is a manifestation of reality and imagination.
The images are alien, so your mind’s eye will interpret and categorize them based on a lifetime of experience with known forms—a human figure or face, an animal, molten glass or rock, or perhaps a Brancusi sculpture. The photographs are a kind of Rorschach test.
The forms you see here are raw, spontaneous, and unaltered. No attempt has been made to introduce color or symmetry. The goal was to capture, not tame, the wild flow and forces at work.
What is controlled are the size, frequency, pacing, and travel of the water drops. Collisions are encouraged! Final framing and the knifes-edge of focus are painstakingly set over time, as the images emerge in brief flashes. Finally, the bright moment of capture (at about 1/30,000th of a second) is adjusted to reveal different aspects of ascent and decay. Each image is viewed after the fact. The forces at work adjusted. Repeated thousands of times over.