Robert Buelteman Captures the Secret Beauty of Plants

PUBLISHED APR 28, 2024 5:14 P.M.
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Field Flowers (2010) by Robert Buelteman

Field Flowers (2010) by Robert Buelteman

Before he started making images without a camera, Robert Buelteman was a celebrated nature photographer who worked primarily with black-and-white film. But, he says, his iconic landscapes and images of forests and trails did not get deep enough into what he feels is the essence and magic of life.

So he invented a new way to create “energetic photograms” by placing plants directly on a sheet of film, pumping 80,000 volts of electricity through them, and using fiber optics to “paint” their true colors onto the film.

Wired magazine in 2009 said of the resulting works: “This bizarre union of Dr. Frankenstein and Georgia O'Keeffe spawns photos that seem to portray the life force of his subjects as the very process destroys them.”

See Buelteman’s energetic-photograms on his website.

Read about the process in “Force of Nature: Artist Puts Petal to the Metal for Electrifying Images” on

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