How do you get your inspiration for your work?

Inspiration for my work comes from nature. Nature is the best artist, and I am a catalyst for nature. I invoke natural processes, and then work to show them to their best advantage.

How do you generate your photographs?

I place ink and paint in water, which I photograph whilst the liquids are moving in different kinds of flow. I shoot sequences of stills and videos. When working with glass, I photograph in bright lighting conditions, usually sunlight, with a macro lens.

What equipment do you use and where?

For the ink/water work, I use a Canon EOS 500D digital camera with EF100mm F2.8 macro lens and Speedlite 420EX flash, a bowl and a variety of inks and paint. I work at home, choosing positions with optimum lighting conditions – I try to shoot in full sunlight. For my work with glass and light, I use the same macro lens and a variety of glassware and natural objects.

How do you complete the image-making process?

For the still photographs, I crop and enhance the images afterwards, always treating the image as a whole. For the movies, I edit the clips according to the story I am trying to tell. I use Aperture and iMovie.

Who are your main artistic influences?

Jackson Pollock, Ernst Haeckel, David Hockney and Salvador Dali. Also Stanley Kubrick – I saw ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ when it first came out – the sequence depicting Dave’s journey through spacetime is a big influence on my work.

What made you decide to work with nature; to act as a catalyst for natural events?

I became interested in working in this way when I had RSI in the 1990s and was unable to use a paintbrush. In order to carry on working, I developed other methods of painting with ink on paper. I continued to use these methods after I had fully recovered.

What made you decide to photograph ink in water, and later on, glass?

With the ink, I was looking for different ways in which I could get ink to move by itself without my direct intervention. A moving substrate (water) met the case, and provided the basis for much experimentation, out of which came my present work. The glass/light work grew from an interest in glass as a dynamic medium, which I felt sure had hidden secrets. I became intrigued by the way glass can capture, bend and reflect light, and my work grew from photographing natural objects with the glass, and later on, the glass alone.

What do you aim to show in your images?

  • I want to show connections between the worlds of ink/water, ink/paper, glass/light and other natural phenomena. There may be microscopic or macroscopic similarities – perhaps both simultaneously. The ink or glass images may carry a visual metaphor for something in the outside world.
  • I want to reveal the underlying power of the dynamic image guided by unseen forces.
  • In my photography, I want to capture effects that would come and go unseen if it were not for the presence of the camera.
  • I want show the unsurpassed beauty and variety of nature, and how the answers to so many of life’s questions can be found so close to hand.

    What are your long-term aims?

    I’m currently taking steps towards producing a substantial video with a cosmic theme. I also want to produce a book of artistic flow visualization, inspired by Milton Van Dyke’s ‘Album of Fluid Motion’.

    What would you wish for most with regard to your work?

    To collaborate with scientists in order to explore all aspects of fluid flow. I also wish to combine my new ‘lightscapes’ with my fluid flow work, and it would be great to talk about the technical aspects of it in detail with experts on optics. My work straddles the disciplines of art and science, and I feel there is great potential for fruitful exploration. I would then like to share the results with as large an audience as possible.


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the art of pery burge

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