Back in November, we challenged you to guess the medium used to create these eye-catching images. Finnish artist Erno-Erik Raitanan had produced the series by cultivating bacteria samples on color negative film.
At first glance, the image up top bears a striking resemblance to some of Raitanan's "Bacteriograms," but photographer Cliff Briggie created it using an entirely different set of media. Can you figure out what he used?
Give up? Instead of bacteria cultures, Briggie opted to combine ice, water, paint, and light to create what he calls "ice paintings" — macrophotographs of the complex shapes, colors, and textures that arise out of his simple mixtures.
"A photograph captures a moment too brief to see," writes Briggie on his flickr profile. "Within the moment is a flash, color, form, or movement — always different, always extraordinary. Little pieces of paint take on a life of their own, suddenly exploding, colors streaming everywhere and then they are gone forever."
In my mind, one of the most beautiful features of Briggie's photographs is the variety of crystalline structures that form in the ice — an example of which can be seen in the upper right hand corner of this particular ice painting. These highly symmetric shapes are built up based on structural information that begins at the molecular level, and can take on any number of forms depending on the conditions under which the water freezes.