Unique Photography Project Takes ‘Self Portrait’ To All New Levels

In a world that is so obsessed with selfies,  it’s hard to stand out from the crowd, but the unusual technique adopted by American photographer, Brigette Bloom, may just steal the show. Bloom, an advocate for film photography, soaks rolls of film in her own urine before exposing it. Yes, you read that correctly, she pees on unprocessed film.

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Bloom uses a variety of techniques to process her film including steeping it in her own urine.

Bloom discovered the quirky technique while experimenting with various film soaking procedures. She also frequently steeps her film with different liquids such as lemon juice, soap water, and wine  to see create interesting artifacts in the emulsions, which are visible only once the film has been processed. Soaking the film in urine, however, she says makes her portraits more personal since her very own DNA helped to create the finished look.

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A frequent traveler, Blooms self portraits are taken in locations all over the world.

After soaking a roll of film in it’s canister, she rinses the urine from the roll and allows the film to dry for about a week before loading it into her camera. Bloom hopes to one day have her own darkroom where she can expand her experiments, but say in the meantime she will stick with more affordable ways to add interesting effects to her film–including using urine which costs the fine art photographer absolutely nothing.

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The deterioration caused by the urine is different on each photograph Bloom creates.

One observation Bloom has made about the photos she treats with urine is how unpredictable in nature the results tend to be. Depending on what she has been eating in the days surrounding the days she collects the urine, the film’s emulsions will deteriorate in different ways providing an incalculable amount of variations. That may seem quite daunting to some, but, in a way, it’s also part of the charm. Part of the reason artists like Bloom still shoot film.

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Bloom layers exposures in camera using double exposure techniques.

When Bloom first tried the technique, she admits that she wasn’t sure what was going to happen and that was okay with her. She had no expectations as she worked through the process, but, needless to say, she was delighted with the results and kept at it, experimenting more and more until she eventually amassed quite a collection of the pee soaked photos.

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The color shift that results from the urine can sometimes give the photos a surreal quality others have more prominent and dramatic effects.

Browsing through Blooms portfolio and Instagram, you may bump into some NSFW stuff. Bloom isn’t bashful when it comes to posting nude self portraits as way to suggest that the human form is a work of art itself. In a recent interview with The Lab Magazine Bloom is cited saying:

I do a lot of self-portraits, mostly because I’m always around! I think the female form is so beautiful. Actually, I think every form in its natural state is beautiful. And I want to celebrate that! It saddens me that as a culture we’ve become brainwashed to the point that people are actually ashamed of their own bodies…I’m not saying that everybody should be going around taking nude photos, but more that we should accept and embrace the bodies we’ve been given.”

[Brigette Bloom via The Lab Magazine and Feature Shoot]

  • http://yngvethoresen.com Yngve Thoresen

    This reminds me of the results I find on my camera after the kids have been playing with it. 90% of the images are not worth a second look, but sometimes I find abstract masterpieces, great photos or both. But of course, this is for the most part random, and any monkey could get the same results. Without comparing my kids to monkeys of course. They just happen to have opposable thumbs… Just like my kids.

    Maybe if I get my dog to take a dump on the prints I can sell them for millions! But would I want to be that person that gets 15 mins of fame for selling images with dogshit on them? No. And I wouldn’t want to be the person known for soaking anything in my own piss.

  • rea5245

    Finally! An inexpensive piece of photo equipment!

  • Andres

    Fantastic! Another piece of crap who’s meaning is about as deep as a puddle! Keep it up, you might just get to White on White at this rate!!

  • Ann

    How incredible and remarkable! WOW! I think it just inspired me…yes, I’m going to go take a giant steaming dump on my film right now. Watch this space!

  • Whitney

    If you know anything about photography, then you know it has been nothing but experimentation from the start. That is how we even have this awesome form of art. From trying new things and learning from mistakes, as well recreating a perfect mistake. She was curious, so she experimented. It’s art. If you love art, or are an artist yourself, you should love and respect other artists. It’s not easy, as so many ignorant people think. I’m just not sure what’s with all the negativity here. It’s almost like you are all jealous… perhaps because it didn’t cross your mind to do something different too? Good for this chick… This is why I love the art of photography! So many weird things you can do.

  • Rhiannon

    So if she doesn’t have a darkroom she is passing these urine soaked rolls to someone else to be developed? That instantly makes me question the health and safety of that (clearly the other person wouldn’t know or they wouldn’t touch it). And I really hope she doesn’t sell her camera second hand to some poor buyer…