When I was seventeen, I was given a big cardboard box with unexposed photo rolls. Thirty glossy little boxes, yellow, gold and black, emanating a distinctive dull sour smell of vinegar. Thirty-five millimeter, black and white acetate film, the sell by date just expired. These photographic rolls of film had a purpose, a key element of a master plan.
Black mushroom clouds soar gently upwards, dispersing tufts of dark cloud. I am looking at black ink spreading in water.
The setup of micro experiment is simple, you need a jug of cold water and ink. Gently release a drop of cool black ink under the surface of the water with a pipette and watch how the ink unfolds in gentle swirls towards the bottom of the glass. It is like a plume of smoke floating through the air.
Later on, in my experimentation, when I had improvised a little photo studio with a desk lamp, I found a method of getting the ink to settle at the bottom of the glass and I would warm a small area of the glass with a lighter. The ink heated, and suddenly in what looked like a micro nuclear explosion the black liquid would billow out in a magnificent big swirling mushroom cloud. Through the lens of a reflex camera, I observed how the inky clouds slowly climbed up and stretched out in magical forms and shapes. For about two weeks, each day after school, I set up my modest laboratory photo studio and caught those spectacular mushrooms and dramatic swirling eddies on the photo film.
An experienced photographer would have told me that the dull smell of vinegar was a sign of acetate film base degradation, and that the film had more than passed its use by date. Till this day I am fascinated by the majestic movement of the flow of fluids. And I am inspired by the motion of steam being expelled from vents in large puffs or by the clouds appearing and receding over the skyline. Videos, computer simulations, drawing, graphics, photography, 3D models and paintings are ways for me to observe the impressive world of the flow of fluids.