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Insanely Talented Artist Can Manipulate Virtually Any Material or Matter into Photo-Like Images

Artist and photographer Bill Fink is the creator of ‘Time and Matter Photography’, an amazing art form that involves producing photograph-like images out of virtually any material or matter. So instead of conventional materials like silver halide or inkjet, the 60-year-old artist uses hair, human ashes, soil and anything else you can think of to painstakingly create photo-like images.

Some of Bill’s most notable works include a portrait called ‘My Eye’ – made entirely from his own hair, ‘Flowers’ – made entirely from the pollen of those flowers, ‘Quaker Oats’ – a picture made with Quaker Oats, and the image of a man named Bob, made using his ashes. These pictures look just like vintage photographs; nothing betrays the unique technique used to produce them.

(made from human hair)

“Photography makes an image from light reflecting off materials,” Bill explained. “Time and Matter Photography can capture the image and the material together as one, and since everything that exists is material or matter, it makes sense that materials are important!”

(the artist and his mother)

“For example: some people are willing to pay a lot of money for the glove of Michael Jackson, or the gown of a movie star, but how important would a picture be if a teaspoon of John Lennon’s ashes was turned into his memorial picture, or if some of Paul McCartney’s hair was turned into his picture, or if a picture of Neil Armstrong was made of moon rock, or if a picture of the Hindenburg was made from a scrap of fabric from the Hindenburg,” he asks.

Flowers (made entirely of pollen)

Bill has been dabbling in photography since he was 14 years old, when he landed his first job at a photo lab. Back then, he used all the money he earned to experiment with all kinds of photo emulsions and chemicals. In 1969, after conducting several experiments with household products, he found that he could preserve a developed picture using alcohol.

Mission (made entirely of soil)

“Although it created a bluish green color of sorts, it did keep the picture from turning black once the light was turned on,” he explained. “I still have that dated picture and I have never stopped experimenting. Questions inspire me to make experiments, and experiments create my art.”

Chicken (Made entirely from eggshells)

“Time and Matter Photography creates more than a mere image; it produces an artifact that becomes a piece of history,” Bill writes on his website. “It also creates one of a kind artwork. It allows for experimentation in other fields like making pictures with enameling, glass and ceramic decorating, leafing metals, or perhaps even scientific or criminal photography documentation.”

Bob (made of human ashes)

Bill has said that the only things required for making his kind of fine art is effort and curiosity. I would add that talent has a lot to do with it as well, though.

My Eye (made of Bill Fink’s hair)

(made entirely with hair)

Photos © Bill Fink

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