Photographer Brigette Bloom on Her Ethereal "Kaya" Series, Experimental Processes (NSFW)

This article contains images and/or video that the editors have flagged as NSFW (Not Safe for Work).
To view this content you must be logged in to your Fstoppers account.
Photographer Brigette Bloom on Her Ethereal "Kaya" Series, Experimental Processes (NSFW)

Photographer Brigette Bloom draws from her start in documentary photography to create mystical, story-driven work. A concept photographer, Bloom works with Impossible Project Polaroid and 35mm film, which she often alters to create interesting effects (you may recognize her as “the photographer who pees on her film.”) I spoke with Bloom about her captivating “Kaya” series, and her overall process as an artist.

Bloom started photographing when she was around ten years old after discovering one of her father’s old cameras. Continuing to photograph throughout her adolescence, Bloom says she never took it seriously as a career choice, preferring to photograph “for the pure joy of it.” Years later, struggling to find a sense of direction in college, Bloom was pushed by a friend to consider majoring in photography. Changing her major just days later, Bloom immediately found a renewed interest in school. She describes the rush of inspiration that came with focusing on photography full-time. “I was introduced to the darkroom and endless books of other photographers who began to inspire me. I would literally spend all night in the darkroom long after they had locked the doors in our school. I could feel this fire inside of me-that this was something I was meant to do.” Preferring the experimental to the technical, Bloom says, “I went through my entire school year without ever knowing how to meter a camera. I only wanted to experiment and create in an intuitive way. That always made more sense to me.” Seeing her work evolve over time, Bloom notes that she still feels her work “has the same heart inside the images, as when I first picked up a camera.” Describing her rather dramatic change in style, Bloom says, “I used to only shoot in a documentary style and run around the streets getting candid photos of strangers. Years later, my work went in the complete opposite direction and I felt drawn to dreamlike, ethereal images and self-portraits. That’s the beauty of art…it changes with you.”

Shot in the desert of Nevada, Bloom describes her “Kaya” series as “born from this intuitive feeling to create images from my dreams,” and became a way to “have the dreams come to life.” While the project ultimately took on a strong narrative, Bloom says she didn’t have an audience in mind while creating it and that her intentions in presenting the project only became clear after its completion. “After the fact, I can definitely see how I was wanting to show the magic of the natural world—noticing the wonder and excitement in the simple things.” As she shot, the series grew into something more, and Bloom followed; “The series itself has shifted from the original ideas I had when I first started. I think you just have to go with it, and sometimes, you’ll get something even better.”

“Kaya” features Bloom and her dog Leo as they wind playfully through the desert landscape. While the series, and much of her other work, features Bloom nude, the artist’s nakedness is presented without overt sexuality or self-consciousness. She states that, while presenting nudity this way wasn’t a conscious consideration, it was part of her experience in creating the series. “I was really just out there shooting the way I am. The desert has been a sacred place for me. Walking in that desert, I feel it so strongly-that we are all connected. Everything is one. I’m grateful that was able to come through the photos…the images aren’t meant to be sexual or self-conscious. I feel that the photos spark that sense of magic… Learning to look deeper at what we see, and realizing that we are part of a greater whole.”

Bloom shot the “Kaya” series on Impossible Project film, noting that The Impossible Project has sponsored her for the past couple of years, and she has published a book of work shot entirely on their film. Shooting with a Polaroid Spectra, Bloom says that while she didn’t alter the emulsion of the film used for “Kaya” she used other experimental processes; “I painted on a lot of the photographs, using every kind of paint I had. I would also double or triple expose the film.” Bloom adds, “All the film that Impossible Project sent for this project was their older stuff that they had pulled from the shelf. So some of it was pretty wonky and I’d have to get real creative to make an image come out. In a lot of ways, that was a blessing because it made me explore other methods to find what works!”

 

Employing many methods-most of them unpredictable-to alter her film, Bloom says the unpredictable nature of alternative processes is both freeing and frustrating. “There is such a huge part of me that wants the images to come out and hold onto an idea I have of them. When I spend hours shooting something I’m really excited about, of course I want the images to turn out!” However, Bloom says, “The unknown is incredibly freeing! I do the work, and then…it’s out of my control—and that feels really, really good. All of my work feels like a collaboration with the universe; some unseen force. I want to make space for that and allow the mysteries of life to come through my work.”

Bloom recently relocated to Hawaii, feeling the need to find a more permanent location after years of travel. “I was really feeling the pull to set down some roots and be part of a community. I’ll always be traveling but it’s really nice to have a home to come back to.” As much of her work revolves around nature and her relationship to it, Bloom says she is excited to explore the geography of Hawaii. Describing herself as “in love with the sea” Bloom says she is constantly inspired by the ocean. While she “hasn’t even scratched the surface yet” in terms of exploring Hawaii, Bloom says she can already “feel something big coming.”

You can find more of Brigette Bloom’s work on her website.

Images courtesy of Brigette Bloom, used with permission.

Log in or register to post comments

7 Comments

That poor tortoise

Mitchell Sargent's picture

hahaha! i cant stop laughing at this comment^^

Spy Black's picture

Some of this stuff is too close to Instagram. Others are very good.

Chris Blair's picture

Is it ok to stand on a turtle? Are they that strong?

They're plenty strong but I don't think they'd really like having 100+lbs sitting on them. A better question to ask is is it OK to squat on a tortoise nude. Frankly, I don't understand the point and that's saying a lot.

olivier borgognon's picture

what's NSFW in this post ?

Depends on where you work I suppose...