There are basically two ways to capture a great photograph. One is to be at the right place at the right time, with camera in hand, primed for the perfect shot. The other is to create the perfect event or image, and photograph it under controlled conditions. Jon Smith’s photography obviously belongs to the latter, as he meticulously creates the events he captures. Jon is a freelance photographer, specializing in fine-art and high-speed photography. He is also a chemist.
Explosions have always captivated us, and there is a myriad of pictures out there that show detonations from harmless firecrackers, to perhaps the biggest and most infamous one to date, the atomic bomb over Hiroshima. Jon Smith turns his lens on a rather commonplace object that we take for granted in our day to day living.
Jon has this thing for light bulbs, but not just the ordinary variety. He likes them blowing up. Jon’s technique involves filling these little glass globes with all sorts of unusual substances such as chalk dust, candies, sprinkles, or even beer caps, and then smashes the bulb by firing a pellet gun at it. Jon captures the precise moment of explosion as the bulb is shattered. This creates a rainbow of colors hurling violently out of the bulbs. The moment is masterfully captured by Jon and his high speed photography method. he elaborates on the evolution of his craft:
“I learned how to do high speed photography by reading online – I picked up a sound trigger from hiviz.com, found how to connect a kodak disposable camera flash to it (online) and started experimenting. It took several months before I started to really figure out the ins and outs of high speed photography and how to get results that I was really happy with. It’s been a fun journey.”
He also reflects on his fascination with the ubiquitous light bulb:
“People see and use light bulbs every day. They’re something we don’t pay attention to. By shooting them, having them explode and filling them with different materials creates an interesting juxtaposition that I’m really drawn to,” Jon told Flickr.