Birefringence & Camera Prints

What is it?

This print captures the bold and diverting abstraction of the optical phenomenon birefringence! Birefringence is an optical effect that occurs when polarized light is passed through a stressed plastic. It describes the difference of a material’s refractive index with respect to direction. If we have an isotropic material, say a plain piece of glass, its optical properties are uniform in all directions and in all locations. It will not show any preference with polarized or unpolarized light. It is flat and clear. However, when an apparently clear transparent object is internally asymmetric in structure and subjected to stress, its optical behaviour varies. In this case, a clear plastic is stressed by mechanical gesture. This creates an internal optical disturbance due to force distribution inside the plastic. The composed sculpture is then arranged in the dark room. This contact print process, known as a photogram, is made without a camera by directly placing the plastic sculpture on emulsion-coated polyester material and exposing it with polarized light.

Carol Pfeffer
Irvington, New York
Honourable Mention ( Open Category )
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