Abstract Long-Exposure Photographs of Colored Paper in a Cave


Los Angeles-based photographer Brice Bischoff has a project titled Bronson Caves. Between 2009 and 2010, Bischoff visited the caves in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park with his 4×5 large format camera and some very large sheets of colored paper. He then used long exposure times to paint colorful blurs into the photographs by waving the papers around.

The caves are actually manmade, and have often been used for shooting Hollywood movies. Bischoff says his goal was to create sculptural, photographic objects that interact with the history and architecture of the caves.









Since a long-exposure photograph was produced rather than a motion picture, the papers were recorded as voluminous, glowing colors. The materiality of the rainbowed forms, emerging from the mouth of the cave, dancing about the canyon, and bubbling up from the ground, are based solely in the photographic process, and can only be experienced when viewing the final photographic prints. If a visitor to the caves were to accidently stumble upon my performance they would only see a mass of crumbled colored paper draped awkwardly over a man moving/dancing to a camera positioned on a tripod […]

The colored paper used during the production of the cave photographs was transformed, weathered, stained, and torn after months of constant use. Deciding to isolate the medium, the props of the action, a studio setting with a pedestal was used to photograph the various scraps of paper. The format of these photographs mimics the traditional way of documenting art objects. However, a photographic technique similar to that explored at the caves was used, exposing the paper into a blurred mass, a pure photographic object. The final phase of the series involved setting the paper ablaze, letting the objects pass in transience but allowing them to persist in photographs. [#]






The project reminds us of light painting, except it utilizes colored paper during the day rather than colored lights during the night.

You can see more photos from this series over on Bischoff’s website.

Bronson Caves by Brice Bischoff (via American Photo)

Image credits: Photographs by Brice Bischoff and used with permission

  • Jjjustinnn

    When I grew up, this was the type of stuff I imagined artist did for art.

  • Bob Prangnell

    pretentious BS alert

  • Reciprocity light success

    I’m sorry but this is just pathetic. It’s the kind of thing you did at college and thought you were pushing boundries. Why is it that if it’s shot on a 4×5 camera in 2013 it’s by default cool.

  • Peter Grifoni

    and this is interesting because?

  • Benicio Murray

    Reading Bischoff’s description made me dumber. What a complete wank of words strung together to form a paragraph.

  • Kent Long

    I’m digging this series. A thoughtful investigation of photography’s relationship to time, and how the permanent and the ephemeral can be documented simultaneously. Especially love the first image- as if we’re witnessing some bizarre natural phenomenon of light and air. The use of the 4×5 doesn’t seem arbitrary or “cool”; it is the perfect format for his performative/process-based concept. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kent Long

    If you find the artist’s words so daft, at least offer up a critique that showcases your brilliance.

  • Bob

    What a load of Shite

  • gabe sturdevant

    Man, my family has tons of pictures like #4 from family vacations where the film got double exposed. Maybe I should dig them out and call it art.

  • harumph

    I think the very first shot is really cool, but the photographer should have just stopped there. Not everything needs–or deserves–to be a series. And yeah, the artist statement reads like a parody of an artist statement.

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    I’d have to disagree – one photograph on it’s own could almost be meaningless. Though, this series here doesn’t really have any real consistency to be completely effective as a series apart from the coloured paper aspect and there isn’t any clear narrative within the series but I still think that what he’s exploring is worthwhile – I, personally, haven’t seen any long exposure photography made with coloured paper

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    I love to know why you think it’s pretentious and BS

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    someone thinks rather highly of themselves…

  •!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    I think people tend to dismiss older photographic processes these days as a novelty or a fancy gimic or whatever because it’s quite easy to replicate older processes in Photoshop/Lightroom these days but they fail to realise that it’s actually quite a skill to use large format cameras this successfully – I recently did a shoot with a 5×4 camera and I spent 5 hours preparing the set/models and setting up the camera to make 2(TWO) exposures. That’s what’s so fantastic about it, you have to slow down and take your time and realllly think about what you’re doing. You have to take your time and there is no doubt that the photographer here has spent a heck of a lot of time getting these great exposures, I’ve only ever used large format in the studio and i’m sure it’s even more time consuming outside with changeable conditions. Hats off to the guy!

  • Colleen Mulvey

    i love this work! at once performance, image, and experience. it’s like magic, keep it up Brice!

  • harumph

    So you agree that they don’t work as a series, and you don’t think that the idea works as a single photo, yet you still think that there’s something worth “exploring”? If the one shot is meaningless to you, then they all are. What exactly is the thing that’s worth exploring here?

    In my opinion, he got the shot. The rest are just outtakes, because they don’t add anything to the idea, and they don’t hang together as a whole. I think this faux-academic impulse to make every idea into a series is a plague on the art form. Just because your photography instructor in art school assigned series projects doesn’t mean that all art photography has to be done in series.

  • harumph

    “…but I think everyone has the desire to create a series”

    Not me. I don’t see the appeal in doing a series just for the sake of it. I think a single solid shot is much more powerful, and meaningful, than any series can ever be. Even when I see a series that I like, I’m usually just impressed by one or two of the shots. The rest are usually just outtakes to me–stuff I would have left on the floor.