An Interview with Corrie White, Liquid Drop Artist
Photographer Corrie White creates images that range from beautiful and delicate to down-right alien, all with the use of liquids, dyes, and impeccable timing. While some of her images use dyed liquids of different viscosities, some of the most interesting come from a perfectly timed and captured splash. I got the chance to interview Corrie White about her process, her ebook, and her motivation to start liquid drop photography.
How long have you been doing liquid drop photography? What drew you to it initially?
I have been doing water drop photography now since early 2009. I became interested in this after seeing Martin Waugh’s Liquid Sculpture works and when I had some free time I decided to give them a try for myself. I found I had quite a knack for these and continued to the point where I am today.
What did you do before you started this type of photography?
Before I started doing the water drop art, I was involved in the printing business, mainly helping to produce magazines, etc.
It seems that the process involves a lot of trial and error. How many photos do you take before you get the one you want, or how many attempts does an image usually take?
It is a lot of trial and error. You need to do a lot of tweaking the parameters to get to the type of shape you are after. Then you need to deal with liquids, which quite often have a mind of their own and it is sometimes quite difficult to bend them to your will.
To get a good water drop shape, I can get one almost immediately, however, these days, to get something new and unique it will take a lot longer than before. How far can it go to get something different? A lot of what I shoot I already have on my computer so I don’t keep many. I hope for something totally unique, so I experiment with liquid additives, colors and settings and test the system to the limits to see what else is there that I don’t already have in my archives.
You have evolved this process in both materials and equipment. Can you tell us about some of the improvements you’ve added?
I started doing drops manually with a medicine dropper. After a year I moved on to electronics with the Time Machine and Drip Kit. After a couple of weeks working with this, I came up with the first three drop water shape which had never been done before and from this came a lot of new shapes in the world of water drops.
I then started using guar gum as a water thickener to stabilize the liquid which worked very well. I now use xanthan gum which is similar to guar gum. As a surfactant to reduce water tension, I found Nature Clean lotion which worked wonders for the shapes and again, allowed me to discover even more new water sculptures.
Lately, I have been using the Splash Art Kit and the MJKZZ Water Drop Kit and they are both very good systems.
We were first drawn to your images when looking for “ink in water” style images, though it seems you use mostly food coloring and thicker materials like milk. Have you ever used ink? Any reason why or why not?
Yes, I usually use food dyes because they mix well with water and are a smooth blend. I have not yet used ink. I have seen results with printer inks and they seem to blend very well with the liquids and additives. I have been thinking about giving this a try soon and I’m certain I will get excellent results with it. I’m looking forward to it.
Often in photography, the lighting is just as important as the subject. What type of lighting do you use?
At the moment I am using four Yongnou flashes. Speedlite flashes are the most common for this type of photography. You need flashes that can give you a burst of light at approximately 1/25,000th of a second. This is what freezes the motion in high speed photography.
You can view and purchase more of Corrie White’s images on her portfolio page. She has also written an ebook called “The Ultimate Guide to Water Drop Photography” which can be purchased at her website here. We are very grateful to Corrie White for taking the time for this interview and for allowing us to showcase some of her images.
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