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Photographer Coats Negatives With Gasoline for Series on Clean Water Scarcity

Peter_Hoffman_Photography

Metaphorically speaking, I feel that our consumption habits—specifically dealing with precious natural resources—are out of control and unsustainable. I also feel that not many people care enough about it because they won’t be around long enough to see the mess they’ve started fully materialize. I wanted to transfer that feeling I had, which was maybe something like a sense of powerlessness or dread, to the image making process. I wanted to lose control, having the resulting work border on ceasing to exist in any recognizable form.
Peter Hoffman

We are intrigued by the process behind Chicago-based photographer Peter Hoffman‘s Fox River Derivatives, a series commenting on consumption and clean water scarcity. Traveling by bike up and down the Fox River, Hoffman shot the photos on medium format film, after which he spray-coated the negatives and the flat surface beneath them with gasoline. He then threw a lit match onto the puddle of gasoline that the negative strip lie in, dousing them with water—fingers crossed—before the negative was too obliterated. It was a trial and error process, mostly error, he says. The result? Newly transformed babbling brooks that teeter on the edge of radioactive and ethereal. The Fox River lies between a densely populated suburban landscape and a more rural landscape in Chicago, a location that Hoffman describes as perfectly paradoxical.

Peter_Hoffman_Photography

Peter_Hoffman_Photography

Peter_Hoffman_Photography

Peter_Hoffman_Photography

Peter Hoffman

Announcing The BlowUp NYC: A new photographic storytelling event presented by Feature Shoot. Speakers include Bob Gruen, Chris Stein, Danny Clinch, Janette Beckman, Amy Lombard, and many more. New York, April 3. More info and tickets here