A friend and I got together one evening at my studio to try something completely different. He had an idea and needed my help to make wall art out of photos of ink plumes in water. I bought a small aquarium and seven colors of India ink.

We set up a table near the sink and backlit the aquarium with a strobe outfitted with a softbox larger than the tank for even lighting. I wanted enough depth of field to have the front through the back of the tank in focus, so I set the camera at f/16 with a shutter speed of 1/125 second to freeze the motion. With some experimentation, we adjusted the light and found some ways we liked to introduce the ink to the water. We spent the next few hours refreshing the water and trying different color combinations and techniques of dropping in the ink.

In the research I had done beforehand, I noticed that most photos of ink in water featured a single ink plume. We found it to be more interesting when the water became saturated with ink, forming beautiful abstract washes of swirling color. My favorite result is the triptych below. It is made of three non-contiguous photos, each rotated 90 degrees. The magenta swirls line up as though it’s one photo separated into three sections.







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