Big Bang: Abstract Photograms Created by Exposing Photo Paper to Fireworks


What kind of imagery results when you mix photo paper and fireworks? That’s a question photographic artist Ross Sonnenberg has been exploring for the past few years. He creates one-of-a-kind camera-less photograms that look like abstract images of galaxies, but are actually random and colorful patterns created by the light of firecrackers.

He has been creating images for two projects: Color Bang, which features this technique done on smaller pieces of photo paper, and Long Bang, which uses the technique on much grander scale.

Here’s a video in which Sonnenberg introduces his technique:

He writes,

I have always been fascinated by the planets and stars, looking through telescopes and wondering what these far off places might look like. With this series I have tried to create imaginary solar systems and super novas using different materials, and fireworks for my light source to make one-of-a-kind camera less images directly onto color and black and white photographic paper. Like the darkness in outer space, I work in the dark to create images that mimic the interstellar places that I always dreamed about going to as a kid.

Here are some of the photos in the Color Bang series:







You can find more of these images over on Sonnenberg’s website.

P.S. If you like this concept, check out photographer Caleb Charland’s recent experiments in exposing photo paper with a dripping candle.

Image credits: Photographs by Ross Sonnenberg and used with permission

  • John R

    Honest and original work. Great stuff

  • Kay O. Sweaver


  • Alexander

    Does he not use developer? Kind of like solarography process?

  • Rey Palatzo


  • elektrojan

    nice work! like the extreme format a lot. hope his fire insurance does not see this vid ;-)

  • lidocaineus

    Heh, like photograms taken to a whole different level. Good for him – something with no direct possible way to execute in a digital workflow.