Despite its many benefits too numerous to list, photography, as an artistic medium, has been known to feel impersonal at times. Though there's an eye behind the lens, it's easy to feel like the true imprint of the individual artist's touch -- that you'd feel in a brushstroke or a scribbled line, for instance -- is missing from photography's mechanical process.
For years artists have been experimenting with new ways to make their mark on their personal photographic process, thus turning a democratic art form into something quite unique. Brigette Bloom, a Hawaii-based artist, decided to really mark her work as her own. Dog on a water hydrant style. Yup, Bloom incorporates her own urine into her photographic process. And the best part is, though the whole thing may sound a bit gimmicky, the resulting images are surreal, confusing and bubbling with magic. Basically, they look nothing like pee.
"I had accidentally washed my pants with a roll of film inside my pocket," Bloom explained to the Huffington Post. "I was so bummed because I thought the film would be ruined, but I tried developing it anyway to see if anything came up. As it turned out, I loved the results even more! They added so much feeling and texture to the images. Ever since that day, I have been soaking my film in different potions to what will happen. It's a process of trial and error. I've had many, many rolls of film that didn't turn out, but it's all part of the process. The 'Float On' series was actually the first attempt at soaking my film in a cup of pee. I didn't know at the time if it would even turn out."
To make the images Bloom begins by, you guessed it, peeing in a cup. She lets her film soak in the fluids for a few hours -- often toying around with the exact amount of time -- and then leaves it out to dry for around a week. (Bloom specifies that she lives in a very arid area, a more humid region may require up to a month to dry fully.) Once the film is dry, she loads it into a camera and snaps away as usual. She adds on Facebook: "You can try this method with any liquid like lemon juice, vinegar, wine, or just throw it in the dishwasher or washing machine."
Bloom's "Float On" series is, in effect, a love letter to her surrounding desert landscape. "I was born in the desert," she said, "and this was the spot I had spent everyday for the past couple years. It was a truly sacred place to me. This desert was right out front of my house, and my dog and I would walk there each morning at sunrise. As time went on, I started noticing a couple people wandering in the desert. It just felt like it wasn't our secret refuge anymore. I knew it was time for me to 'float on' and find new places. This series is my way of saying thank you to the desert, and a farewell at the same time."
Bloom's images combine the familiarity of her secret safe space with the unknown liquid textures of another planet. (Thanks, urine!) With glowing liquid pockets that resemble otherworldly orbs and waves, Bloom's photos are (literally) dripping with nostalgia and imagination. And urine, that too.
Take a look at her work below and let us know your thoughts in the comments.