Fruit. Vaseline. Urine. Not the processing tinctures one would expect to find in a darkroom. But those Brigette Bloom has discovered bleach and blight her film just so, creating images that are perfectly imperfect. “My work is all about experimenting—in my photos and in my life,” says the San Francisco-based photographer, by way of Portland and Alaska. “I’ve tried hundreds of techniques to damage my film to create different effects. I’ll smear fruit or Vaseline on the lens filter, but the film soak I use most often is pee. I get a lot of strange looks when I tell people about my method, but it works beautifully!”
Beautiful is an understatement. Bloom’s photographs look more like psychedelic mirages than real moments. Kaleidoscopic colors bleed into each other as a dreamy delirium washes over the image. “Dreams are a huge part of my work,” says Bloom, whose book, White Moon, is a visual dream diary. “In dreams, you can’t filter anything so you must face all aspects of yourself. [This project] has allowed me to tune into my subconscious and discover the hidden depths in my life; it has been like uncovering the key to another world.”
Bloom’s otherworldly photographs are set in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where she wanders with her dog Leo at her heels. “I feel at peace when I’m in nature. It’s where I feel closest to my spirit and the energy that connects us all,” she says. “Although I’ve always felt a strong connection with animals, Leo and I share a bond that is beyond anything I’ve experienced before. He is my angel here on earth. When we go hiking in the desert, he brings me back all kinds of stuff: coyote skills, rabbit paws, deer horns…”
All of which become props in the misc-en-scénes she stumbles upon. It was a lifeless songbird that inspired “Broken-Winged Youth,” a collaboration with Margaret Durow for the 2013 VICE Photo Issue. “It’s fascinating what we find when we look a little deeper,” says Bloom. “I’m constantly humbled by how life unfolds around me. What a strange and wonderful planet we live on. The fact that we are living on a planet spinning around in outer space is just astounding. I mean, honestly, how crazy is that?!”
All images courtesy of Brigette Bloom
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