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electrocuted flowers by robert buelteman
original content
nov 04, 2012
electrocuted flowers by robert buelteman


‘trillium’ by robert buelteman

san-franciscan artist robert buelteman‘s latest images from his residency at stanford university’s jasper ridge biological preserve are
a clear example of dedicated artistry. the work is a series of electrocuted flower photographs that are each created without a
camera or computer manipulation – but through a re-appropriated method of photography known as kirlian – and 80,000 volts.

the technique – a high-voltage photogram process which gained popularity in the 1930s – is considered highly dangerous and painstaking
to the point where very few people will attempt it. buelteman will begin the arduous process by meticulously whittling down foliage such as flowers,
twigs and plants with a scalpel until they are almost transparent. he then lays each sample on color transparency film and covers it with a diffusion screen
which is positioned on a piece of sheet metal sandwiched between plexiglas, floating in liquid silicone.

buelteman zaps everything with an electric pulse and the electrons jump from the sheet metal, through the silicone and the flower
while leaving the jumper cables. the result is hand-painted with white light shining through an optical fiber the width of a human hair –
a process so tricky each image can take up to 150 attempts. the work is a series of striking illuminated images published in a book entitled ‘signs of life‘.


‘woodland trio’
the work is a series of electrocuted flower photographs that are each created without a camera or computer manipulation


‘mule’s ear’
the images are created through a re-appropriated method of photography known as kirlian


‘maidenhair fern’
the technique – a high-voltage photogram process which gained popularity
in the 1930s – is considered highly dangerous and painstaking


‘fallen lichen’
buelteman will begin the arduous process by meticulously whittling down foliage such as flowers, twigs and plants with a scalpel until they are almost transparent


‘buckeye leaves’
the painting process is so tricky each image can take up to 150 attempts


‘indian mustard’

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