a virtual online art gallery

Art Education
Art Collecting
About SVAM
Support SVAM

Robert Buelteman : electophotography of flowers
Artist's Notes Technical NotesCuratorial NotesBack the Buelteman Gallery

Technical Notes : Through the Green Fuse

The creative process begins with my selection of a subject, after which I bring the living subject into the studio, where I sculpt it with surgical tools. I then move into the darkroom to manipulate the subject on my imaging easel into the shape of the vision within.

The easel I work on is surrounded by a safety fence of wooden 2x4s to avoid electrocution. It is composed of a piece of aluminum sheet metal floated in a solution of liquid silicone, and is sandwiched between two sealed pieces of 1/8" thick Plexiglas.

Once satisfied with basic aesthetic issues, I go into total darkness to build the exposure matrix on top of my electrode/easel. First, the 8x10 inch color transparency film is laid flat on the easel. Then the sculpted subject is placed on the film, sometimes with and sometimes without layers of diffusion material, which are laid on top when used. The subject is then wired to a grounding source with cable and clamp.

The actual process of imaging begins with the introduction of high frequency, high voltage electricity into the exposure matrix to create and define the blue aura that emanates from the subject. Then a variety of light sources including xenon-strobe, tungsten, and fiber-optic light are used to paint the subject by hand so the light is scattered through the diffusion screens, through the subject, and onto the film where the exposure is recorded.

I invented this method of imaging in March of 1999, but its component parts have long and well-known histories. Popularly recognized as "Kirlian Photography", the electrical component of this method is associated with Semyon and Valentina Kirlian, Russian scientists who devoted their lives to the search for the new and the cultivation of the hidden. As for contact imaging, this technique is as old as photography itself, having been used by English gentleman Henry Fox Talbot in 1834 in his earliest experiment with silver-nitrate paper which is considered by some to be the birth of photography.

With the addition of fiber-optical devices to provide a greater degree of control in the delivery of the exposure energy to the subject-film-diffusion matrix, this work represents a new interpretation of a time-honored art form.

-Robert Buelteman
October 2001


website design by bob von elgg : bigfish smallpond design


Sign Up a virtual online art gallery