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What Happens When You Soak a Negative In Gasoline and Set It on Fire

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You might be surprised to learn that the photographs in Peter Hoffman's "Fox River Derivatives" series got their ethereal, psychedelic beauty from a fairly violent source. Those effluent purple bubbles are the result of a negative that's been doused in gasoline and set ablaze.

Inspired by the disastrous BP oil spil in 2010, Hoffman began experimenting with ways of incorporating a "water and oil" theme into his photography process. For these shots taken with a medium format camera, the Fox River, a 202-mile-long tributary of the Illinois River, served as the backdrop for his artistic vision.


After developing the film as usual, he coated the negatives in a layer of gasoline, dropped them into a puddle of more gasoline, and finished them off with his pièce de résistance—a blistering, burning match. A cool splash of water stopped the negatives' total destruction, and these were the results. All beautiful to behold, indeed. But please, don't try this at home. [Peter Hoffman via PetaPixel]