Brandon Seidler draws attention to the damage humans have done to the environment by photographing natural landscapes that have been altered by chemical pollution and then soaking the film in the same harsh chemicals that were found at the site. The developed film, which has been corroded by different acids, yields distorted, uncanny images of a world transformed by manmade toxins.
Seidler, who was raised in New Jersey, was a college senior when he found a way to treat film using chemicals, producing extremely colorful results in the process. Later, he came up with the idea of pairing chemically altered film with the environmental issues he was so passionate about. “I was Googling one of the chemicals one day, and found that a chemical spill of that particular chemical had occurred not far from my school,” Seidler says in a video about his project. “I decided to take pictures of the landscape and nature surrounding the spill site, and used varying amounts of the same chemical to alter the film later on.” Since then, the photographer has captured polluted landscapes around the state, while using chemicals like bleach, phosphates, and nitrates to treat the film.
Although some of the pollutants can be removed from the site of a toxic spill, Seidler doubts whether the damage can ever be completely reversed. “What happens to the initial amount absorbed into the ground? Or by the plants or animals that are there at the spill site?” he questions. “If this is the effect they have on a piece of plastic, what is it doing to our environment?”
To help turn Seidler's Impure series into a photo book, check out the photographer's Kickstarter campaign, but be quick because today is the last day it's accepting contributions.