How to Photograph Electricity without a Camera


You’ve always wanted to catch one awesome photo of lightning striking down on Earth’s surface.

Turns out we’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.

Phillip Stearns figured it out: Step 1 — throw out your camera. Step 2 — expose your film with 15,000 volts of electricity.

Inspired by the science between cameras and our very own eyes, Phillip turned to experimenting with peel-apart instant film.

He starts by pouring household chemicals (like bleach) onto the film to manipulate color and then touches a neon tube ballast to the film to electrocute the surface.

The result is a dreamy rainbow of lightning-like images emblazoned onto a final print.

It’s no wonder that Phillip’s main work has dealt with digital glitches. You might call this the ultimate analog equivalent of a glitch.

You can watch how it all goes down in this awesome video.

Extra cool thing: Learn how to make emulsion lifts with instant film!

Phillip Stearns’ Electrified Instant Film

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Posted in Inspiration, Photo Projects