About two and a half years ago Danica (remember her?!) posted about photographer Caleb Charland, and how he creates fantastic images without the use of digital trickery. What I didn’t realize at the time is how much of Caleb’s work is interested in demonstrating scientific principles; in fact, he has two series series called Demonstrations where he… well… demonstrates electrical/chemical properties of everyday objects and captures it on film. Another part of his work seems interested in carrying out experiments in film, itself. Whether he’s slapping it, setting it on fire, or letting bacteria eat away at the different layers of fim, this is work where the photograph isn’t just the evidence of the experiment, but the experiment itself.
In theory, you and I could replicate his experiments and get similar results even if we developed very different photographs in the process. A lot of the demonstrations here seem familiar, like the kind your high school science teacher might have used in (futile) attempts to keep you awake. But here, that kind of familiarity becomes something more compelling and awe-inspiring. You might have known that you can make a wet cell battery out of fruit, but did you ever think to take a 14 hour exposure with an LED hidden between its wedges? That’s where Caleb’s skills step in and offer a stunning, scientific sleight-of-hand.