About the Project: Illuminated Landscapes
Support the Project: Illuminated Landscapes
About the Artists: Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements
About the Gear: How We Made Illuminated Landscapes
Illuminated Landscapes: Opening Statements
Copyright Info: How to Share and Reuse These Images Legally
About the Project:
Illuminated Landscapes is a Photographic / New Media project by artist duo Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements. Rather than relying on digital manipulation, Illuminated Landscapes creates surreal landscapes entirely in-camera by bathing the environment in coloured light.
Before the photo shoots, a number of LED 'throwie bags' were created. A 'throwie' is a simple circuit consisting of a single LED, a small watch battery, a magnet (optional), and some tape. For the throwie bags, arrays of LEDs were soldered together and powered by 9 volt batteries. The lights are then placed inside zip-lock bags which creates a bright, waterproof, and extremely portable light source.
After the winter sun had set, the artists would venture out into the wilderness and get to work. Once a location is selected, the throwie bags are arranged and the photography can begin. The artists took these photos while battling the cold, difficult locations, inclement weather, and technical difficulties. The result is a series of otherworldly photographs, reminiscent of something from a fantasy or science fiction movie.
The primary visual form this project takes is an 80-page hard-cover photo book. A single image is printed on each of the 8" X 10" glossy pages. A soft-cover version is also available. If there are particular images that really stands out, archival-quality photographic prints are available for each image. For those who prefer a digital version, a free PDF version is available. The PDF is split into two smaller files, one in portrait orientation, and the other in landscape orientation. The PDF version includes 79 of the 80 images. (This isn't a sneaky trick on our part to get you to buy one of the books, we just forgot to include it when we were making the PDF, and rather than fix it, were just going to go with 79 images).
To acquire a digital copy, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ensure that your email system is able to accept large attachments (11 and 8 megs).
Support the Project:
If you like what we are doing, and are interested in supporting us, there are many ways you can help us out. Obviously, heading over to the Blurb Online Book Store and picking up a copy of our book would be greatly appreciated, but you don't have to spend money to support us.
The biggest thing you can do is spread the word. Let people know about this project. After receiving your Free PDF version of the photo book in your email, forward it to any of your friends who might be interested.
Tweet about us!
Blog about us!
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If you are signed up with the micro-payment service flattr, You can flatter us with a small donation:
About the Artists:
Brad Blucher is an artist from Northern York Region who fell in love with the Toronto art scene during his education at the Ontario College of Art of Design. Brad's art practice focuses on light and our biological relationship to it.
Kyle Clements is a Toronto-based OCAD graduate. His work is vibrant and colourful with a focus on capturing the overwhelming buzz and energy of life in the city. Kyle's acrylic paintings hover between representation and abstraction.
Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements met in high school, where they were commissioned to create a large wood sculpture to commemorate the opening of a new wing for their school. Since then, a working partnership has existed between the two artists. Both were educated at the Ontario College of Art and Design, where they continued to collaborate on artistic endeavours. After graduation, Brad pursued a Bachelors of Education from the University of Western Ontario in London, while Kyle ran off to Korea to teach English, collect source material for his 'Urban Landscape' series. While both artists are focused on developing their own individual practices, they continue to collaborate on a number of projects.
Before Illuminated Landscapes, Brad and Kyle created Take a Picture, a series of invisible paintings that were made visible through digital photography.
Download Brad Blucher's CV (.pdf)
Download Kyle Clements' CV (.pdf)
About the Gear: How We Made Illuminated Landscapes
For Illuminated Landscapes, it was important that the images be created entirely in-camera. Digital manipulation is, simply put, too easy. Relying on Photoshop would, in our opinion, cheapen the effect. It was important that these images be created through analogue means. The colour was controlled by using throwie bags. Each throwie bag contains a home-made light module inside a Zip-Lock bag. Each light module contains five Light Emitting Diodes powered by a single 9 volt battery.
Kyle shoots with a Nikon D70.
Brad shoots with a Nikon D7000. (That's two more zeros!)
For both artists, the lens of choice was the AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.8D.
The only digital alterations made to these images were curves adjustments and saturation reductions to prepare the images for accurate printing.
The PDFs were created in Open Office on a system running Ubuntu 10.04.
The Illuminated Landscapes photo book was created using the Blurb Book-Smart software.
Illuminated Landscapes Opening Statements:
In the beginning, I was reluctant to participate in this photo series with Kyle. I have never been very interested in photographing the natural world. My preference is to spend the time required to properly appreciate a beautiful and rare scene as it is happening and then commit it to memory. I find this to be far more pleasant than using a device to capture an imperfect record of what I witnessed. This sensibility is what informed my treatment of the photos contained in the following pages. I tried to approach the act of taking pictures with the same set of sensibilities that I have always approached my light based work: from the position of a sculptor (manipulator) of light. This means that each photograph was produced with an eye toward what was impossible for nature to produce (or the naked eye to experience) under normal circumstances. The end result is a series of photos that capture an environment that is much closer to a world of fantasy than the natural world.
I originally had the idea for Illuminated Landscapes in March of 2010. I imagined a bunch of snow covered trees bathed in multi-coloured light.
Unfortunately, it was March. The snow had melted and I would have to wait nearly a year before I could put this idea into action.
Imagine my frustration eleven months later, when I discovered that not only was the snow very difficult to properly light, but the results were consistently uninteresting. Standing in the middle of a forest at midnight in temperatures well below -20 was entirely unnecessary.
Of course, having nearly a full year to prepare meant that I put everything off to the last minute. Our first photo shoot was delayed several hours because I was still soldering together the components that would be our lights.
What interests me as a photographer is how an image can be completely transformed by lights and lenses; the mundane can be transformed into the extraordinary.
For Illuminated Landscapes, my goal was to push that effect as far as I could. I wanted to create otherworldly scenes by projecting strong vivid colours onto otherwise very ordinary landscapes. I wanted to do this entirely on-location with no post-production trickery.
Illuminated Landscapes by Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
We encourage you to share these digital copies with your closest friends and family, or a bunch of complete strangers online. (If this doesn't end up on The Pirate Bay, we will be very insulted.) Alter and re-use these images however you see fit. But please respect the "by-nc-sa" conditions of this license:
Attribution - You must attribute the work to us, Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements. (but not in any way that suggests that we endorse you or your use of the work).
Non-commercial - You may not use this work for commercial purposes. We don't care if you post these images on a blog running ads or something, but outright selling copies of these images is a big no-no.
Share-Alike - If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.
So, for example, if you decide to use these images as visual accompaniment to your own song on YouTube, that's cool! Just put "Images by Brad Blucher and Kyle Clements" in the credits at the end of the video, don't sell copies of this particular video, and release the thing cc-by-nc-sa. (releasing the video under the creative commons doesn't mean you must also release your song under the creative commons, just that particular use of the song.)