Iridient: Bursting Soap Bubbles by Fabian Oefner, Zurich, Switzerland – Jul 2012

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Fabian Oefner / Rex Features (1793982d)
Iridient: Beauty In Bursting Bubbles
Looking like heavenly bodies in space, these are in fact incredible pictures of soap bubbles.

Talented Fabian Oefner made it his mission to capture the short-lived beauty of bubbles at the point of bursting.

The results look like shimmering space objects or even otherworldly transparent creatures.

Fabian, a 28-year old art photographer from Zurich, was inspired by memories of blowing bubbles as a child, but put scientific principles into place to get the required results.

He explains: “Most of us remember playing with soap bubbles in our childhood, when we were fascinated by the colours of them and therefore even more disappointed when the bubble all of a sudden disappeared again.

“With this series of images, I was trying to capture the beauty of these short-lived sculptures, which consist of 99% air and actually do not have any colour at all.”

Fabian used a sugar funnel through which to blow up the mixture from an ordinary children’s pot of bubbles.

But in the series he calls ‘Iridient’ the challenge was in lighting the subjects to make them visible to the camera and then capturing the split second before they popped.

Fabian explains: “There are two major challenges, when taking images of bursting soap bubbles. One is how to light the bubble, so that its colours become visible and second is obviously to capture the right moment.

“A soap bubble is made of a thin film of water, on which soap molecules gather on both sides. The vibrant colours, that bubbles are famous for, are created by the reflected light hitting the surface of the bubble. This effect is called iridescence, a phenomenon that is also visible on the wings of the morpho butterfly or on the tail feathers of a peacock.

“To make these reflection effects, that create the colours, visibl…
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