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Photographer Goes Searching For Ghosts, Finds Awesome Smoke Bombs Instead

Yes, we’re kidding. Read on to find out how Brice Bischoff achieved these enchanting images.

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Located in Los Angeles’s Griffith Park, the Bronson Caves have been used as a stage set for numerous movies and TV shows produced by nearby Hollywood studios. “A hundred years of filmmaking has occurred at the caves imaging events from explosions and gun fights to the discovery of cave paintings,” writes the photographer Brice Bischoff, who chose the canyon as the backdrop of his own visual project: a series of photos showing ghostly, colorful bodies–what Bischoff calls “a chaotic specter of fictional realities”–against the unchanging landscape.

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Bischoff isn’t coy about how he achieved the special effects. Those trippy blurs are the photographer himself dancing around with massive sheets of colored paper. He used long-exposure so that the paper recorded as voluminous, glowing colors. “The materiality of the rainbowed forms, emerging from the mouth of the cave, dancing about the canyon, and bubbling up from the ground, are based solely in the photographic process, and can only be experienced when viewing the final photographic prints,” the artist states. “If a visitor to the caves were to accidently stumble upon my performance they would only see a mass of crumbled colored paper draped awkwardly over a man moving/dancing to a camera positioned on a tripod.” The end result captures ephemeral sculptural forms interacting with the history and architecture of the caves.

Bischoff didn’t stop there. After the colored papers had become torn, weathered, and stained from months of use, Bischoff photographed them like props, mimicking the traditional style of shooting art objects in a studio environment. His final act was to set them on fire, “letting the objects pass in transience but allowing them to persist in photographs.”

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About the author

A former editor at such publications as WIRED, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company, Belinda Lanks has also written for The New York Times Magazine, The New York Observer, Interior Design, and ARTnews.

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