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Photographer Uses Fluid and Sounds to Create Surreal Photos That Look Like CGI

We all try to push our creative boundaries, but have you ever created an image through ferrofluid and sound waves? Photographer Andrew Hall does exactly that to create these surreal photo that, at first glance, you’d think were CGI.

The bio on his website talks about his passion for photographing a moment, and “preserving forever the purity of that instant.” True to form, these incredible pictures document what liquids and gases look like when they meet.

In creating the images you see here, Hall pours ferrofluid (containing nanoparticles of magnetic material suspended in it) into a 3 millimeter deep container. From there, a magnetic field is applied underneath while drops of pigment are added. This can be anything along the lines of paint or ink, which are added to the fluid.

Petard. Photo by Andrew Hall.
Benign. Photo by Andrew Hall.

He explained, “If the magnet's close, the fluid tends to go into spikes, but as I move it away, it morphs into the beautiful organic pattern you see here.”

As for the use of sound waves, Hall plays music, that being either melodic, or sometimes a humming tone. This causes his liquid (usually water) to vibrate, or as he described it, “dance with the music.”

Photo by Andrew Hall.
Asgard. Photo by Andrew Hall.

Despite shooting this niche of project for around 5 years, there are so many variables in how such an effect is achieved that Hall says he is only just getting started. "It can work with the spoken word,” said Hall. “There's no limit to it — it's like making sound visible."

See more of Hall's work on his website.

All images used with permission.

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David T's picture

Very interesting. Reminds me a bit of the footage used for the space scenes in The Fountain. They filmed moving liquids instead of rendering wormholes and stuff.

Jon Kellett's picture

I've been meaning to do this for many years, however it's always been a bit tricky and expensive to get ferrofluid in NZ.

Great shots.

Ian Goss's picture