A Canvas of Water: Heidi Westum’s Oil-Painted Macro Photography

While macro photographers often focus on the detailed textures of insect and flowers, amateur photographer Heidi Westum deviates from the norm to take us instead on simpler yet more structured macroscopic journey. She does this by fusing photography with oil painting by carefully arranging tiny drops of oil on an illuminated canvas of water.

The droplets in Westum’s photos seem to defy gravity; staggered bubbles are seen cushioned crookedly against one other while occasionally dipping beneath waves of color. In each photo, Westum portrays stillness while sometimes initiating the appearance of movement: rolling down steep inclines or revolving around a larger guardian, each droplet appear so eager to attach to another. Westum juxtaposes this clustering with isolation; a lone droplet is seen either filled with an entire transparency or it’s found bending and reshaping the incoming color to its liking.

Westum began her macroscopic adventure six years ago when she tried out her first macro lens. She became fascinated with seeing everyday things up close and soon experimented with water droplets, appreciating how they refract and reflect to reproduce the colors they clung to. Westum has since perfected her amazing droplet photography by pinning the fluids between a glass bowl and plexiglass. She then accentuates the curves of the oil drops from behind with either colored paper, glass, or fabric. Even though she captures such a soft subject, with a macro lens she is able to strengthen the thin yet sharp boundaries between oil and water.

Keara Wright

Aspiring creative author and astrophysicist, with degrees in Physics, Mathematics, and Psychology.

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