It’s not easy to meet someone who challenges the laws of physics and turns the result into art. Corrie White did so by turning water into a beautiful dancing show. Whether it’s a colorful mushroom or a subtle feminine figure, Corrie loves to capture water’s drops in photography and make them dance. It’s called liquid drop art, but it comes across as a miracle.
But how did this style begin and how has it developed into a successful art project?
Corrie, Canadian by adoption but with Dutch roots, has always been interested in photography, especially macro. She used to work in a publishing facility but was one of hundreds to loose her job after a a nationwide downsize in the company: this allowed her to devote more time to photography. Everything started when she happened to saw some water drops on a website a few years ago and was instantly mesmerized by them. With some extra time available in 2009, she started to give it a try and was fascinated by the results. She now sells her photographs to magazines all over the world, such as The Daily Telegraph, The Sun and The Daily Mirror.
In order to achieve such level of precision in her shots she uses the Mumford Time Machine, a programmable controller and intervalometer for special photographic effects. Bryan Mumford also invented and developed a Drip Kit to go with it to be to allow people to photograph drops of water. Corrie was one of the first people to use the Drip Kit which is is now commonly used for time-lapse photography - something invaluable for Corrie's work. As she says, “Thanks to it, I have full control over the type of drops I want: I can control the interval between the drops, their size and the moment in which the flashes are triggered." But how does she capture such magical shots? “For the water drops, I need a large drop pan. I then fill the reservoir and drip tray with water. Next, I test the lighting and make sure it is centered and evenly displayed. I choose the colors for the background and the drop itself. I then trigger the drops and adjust to get the shape I'm looking for at that moment. Throughout a shoot this varies. I don't need hundreds drops of same shape, so I'm always looking for something a bit different either in shape or color effects.” Colour is a big protagonist in her water drop portraits: “I find that color is very important in water drop art. I find a plain background makes drops dull. Colors catch the eye!”. She uses colored gels on the flash guns for the background and food dye for the drop itself.
The whole process that at the end leads to the perfect shot can take time, although it always varies. “Sometimes it's the first one you shoot, and other times it can take hundreds. It depends on what I consider to be the perfect shot. I like symmetry, sharpness and uniqueness. It's hard to get something totally unique.” she explains. I wonder if she has ever tried to work with any other food-element difficult to approach, or if she is planning to do so in the future. “I find milk and water work the best. I have tried with oil but it doesn't mix with water and leaves a big mess. The liquids need to be very thin and "fluid" to work the best. Sometimes, in fact, I add a thickener such as glycerin or guar gum to the water, which makes a big difference in the end result.
After all these technical details that make it clear to me that nothing is random in these shots, I ask whether she has anything to add, “I just want to thank you for your interest” – she smiles – “I really hope you enjoy my liquid art. I'm not a great cook, but I can make water dance.”