I hope you are all well. I wanted to give you some insight into a project I have been working on the past few weeks.
You probably don’t know this about me but one of my hobbies is creating giant bubbles. I am known in town as Tony the Bubblero!
I have been entertaining kids and anyone else around for about ten years with my giant bubbles. I have gotten very good at it and I don’t think anyone enjoys the beauty of the bubbles more than I do. I am always mesmerised and enchanted by them no matter their size. But I do make some really really massive bubbles – my largest wands are over 3 metres long, they are that long so the membrane loop does not touch the ground to give you an idea of the sizes I am talking about. You could easily fit two grown men in one bubble.
I make the bubble juice myself. I started with a recipe I found online but now after ten years of practice I have created Anthony The BubblerO’s Secret Bubble Juice Mix. It’s awesome (and not really a secret. I actually taught a workshop on how to make it…)!
Like being in the darkroom with photos, making bubble juice is a simple chemistry and I find it very enjoyable.
I started this photo project with the simple idea of capturing bubbles with my camera. This has been something I wanted to do from the very first time I did the bubbles, but like most things in life – when the time is right you will know.
So I went out on a day with good weather for bubbles (high humidity, low breeze) and started to shoot. Instantly, I knew I could make this something special. The qualities they possess when interacting with light are astounding. The variation in colour seems infinite – a bubbles thickness (a few microns) determines what colours are reflected and refracted.
On an overcast day with direct sun I can make the bubbles look like they’ve been blown from glass.
In another shoot it was capturing the bursting that I wanted (not as hard as you would think it would be). With some fancy post processing the bursted bubble takes on a figurative presence.
I was liking the photos a lot but was feeling I needed to take it to a more abstract place. So, working with a model I decided I would aim to achieve a figurative scene and shoot through a bubble at slow shutter speed to see what it would look like. This first test was very encouraging and I learned a lot about how to shoot bubbles.
This is from the second model shoot.
Everything so far, visually, I could predict with some accuracy. It is when night came that the real magic started. I am working on these images with Zippy, my bubble wizard and creative partner who controls the wands as I am shooting and also has a new ideas coming out of his ears!
It was nearly dark and I was stowing my camera when Zippy shrieks and tells me to come see this. I looked and was instantly awed by what I saw – the interior of the bubble was alive with light. They were just specular white points zooming around but I saw the potential in them. So I unstowed my camera and guessed the exposure for what I saw in my mind.
I went home that night and dreamed bubbles and light – a sleep of falling into wells of swirling chaos. It was awesome!
I mulled over the technical applications and possibilities of what was achievable. It seemed anything was. We did five more shoots and with varying concepts and goals over the next few weeks.
I am feeling really excited about these images. I personally have never seen anything quite like them before. They are unique, gorgeous and nothing but pure chaotic light. For those of you who know my teaching and how I am constantly going on and on about light and its qualities, you may have an understanding of the visceral feelings I am having…wow. I am very pleased!
There is still much I want to explore and experiment with. The penultimate image is one with a model (figurative or not) inside the dancing lights. I just need to figure out how to light it…
Thanks for reading. Let me know your thoughts please. Commenting below would work the best.