Bill Fink is the revolutionary artist behind Time and Matter Photography. He captures images not by film, but by painstakingly recreating them using material from the subject.
Bill’s medium of choice can be a bit controversial. In the past, he has used human hair, soil, and even human ashes. The image above is that of Robert Eugene Christensen – a man Bill met and photographed in 1991. Bob was dying of AIDS back then and gave Bill permission to use some of his ashes to create a memorial art picture.
Initially, Bill only displayed Bob’s memorial at various gay and lesbian centers since several curators had expressed concern for the controversial medium and topic. Society has gone a long way since then and Bill has since gone on to create ‘paintings’ that are tributes to the image they project as well as the materials they’re made from.
Also, unlike conventional photography where images can be reprinted as many times as possible, Bill Fink’s images are limited editions. You can only make so many hair paintings until the hair runs out. He said: “Photography makes an image from light reflecting off materials. Time and Matter Photography can capture the image and the material together as one.
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 also adds that: “Time and Matter Photography creates more than a mere image; it produces an artifact that becomes a piece of history. It also creates one of a kind artwork. ”
People might find his medium a little bit creepy (let’s face it, it’s only one small step from human ashes to human blood), but one can’t argue with his expertise in creating these astonishingly detailed paintings using some of the most unconventional materials.
I love my dogs, reading books, and taking great pictures with my battered but still functional digital camera. Taking great pictures with a high end camera is almost too easy, producing fantastic images with an outdated one is an accomplishment by itself.