Robert Buelteman: cameraless, lensless, computer-free photograms. Amazing works.

“These extraordinary images reveal what happens when electrical surges pass through a metal board with a simple plant on top. Photographer Robert Buelteman sends 80,000 volts through his flowery subjects and then literally paints photographs of the outcome. (…) The process to capture these unique images is so complex it has taken him 10 years – and a gruelling average of 60 hours-per-week – to produce just 80 photos. Working in complete darkness, he begins by placing his chosen plant onto a metal board which he then passes the electrical surge through. He can even pinpoint areas where he wants to focus the charge using a wand and a simple car battery. As his subject lights up with the current, and emits radiation invisible to the naked eye, Mr Buelteman captures the moments by passing a fibre optic cable back-and-forth over the plant. The cable emits a beam of white light which is just the size of a human hair and whatever the miniscule torch-beam touches, transfers the image onto film. The captivating blue haze that surrounds every leaf, petal and stalk is actually gases ionising around them as the plant is electronically shocked. (…) ‘You just have to imagine it like a painter creating a picture on canvass,’ he said. ‘The plant is the subject just like the painter’s bowl of fruit or the person they are capturing. ‘The electrified board I place the plants on is the canvass. The fibre optic cable emitting the light-beam is my paintbrush. ‘Another way to try and understand it is like a normal photograph on a normal camera, except I am manually controlling the exposure by hand. In the same way the image I capture is simply burned onto film.’ To give the pictures an added dazzling effect, Mr Buelteman’s aluminium canvass actually floats in liquid silicone. And to make sure he doesn’t get killed or injured in the process, he erects a protective frame of wood around his easel. (…) ‘When people see my work I want them to feel an awakening. The world is an amazing place and evolution has created some breathtaking things for us to look at. ‘For me, art is about looking at the world and all it’s wonder in a new way, seeing something differently.’ “ Text copied from


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