Chemical-Soaked Photographs Explore The Wild Realities Of Polluted Places

According to his online biography, artist Brandon Seidler grew up in a part of New Jersey “where the ocean and the mountains met,” a place that taught him to see the beauty in imperfections. These days, those early imperfections take center stage in Seidler’s career as a photographer. His hallucinatory series, “Impure,” features landscapes that appear to be ripped straight from a vintage science-fiction film, with colors and shapes blending in ways both creepily familiar and altogether alien.

But sci-fi they are not. Seidler captures real places, mostly lands in and around New Jersey and the Hudson River, that have been historically contaminated by various chemical pollutants. He then takes his photographic negatives and soaks them in the very same chemicals found to be befouling the bodies of water and land he’s documenting. The results attempt to reveal the tainted realities of America’s natural havens.

“I started this project my senior year at Ramapo College of New Jersey,” Seidler explained to The Huffington Post. “Originally I was just taking pictures and finding ways to alter the camera or film with chemicals. After a few critiques I decided that I needed to add something to my images to help give them meaning, and that’s when I decided to research chemical spills in the area and pair those chemicals with the film negatives.”

Even prior to college, Seidler had become interested in chemistry and the various environmental issues plaguing his home state, inspired by his marine biologist sister and chemical engineer grandfather. “Impure” proved to be a good way to blend these interests with art, allowing the photographer to embark upon an impassioned process of trial and error. After snapping photos of mountains and oceans, using at first disposable cameras and then a Nikon F100, he would introduce chemicals from those —> Read More