Here’s What Happens When You Ignite Gunpowder on Printed Photos

All images by Dewey Keithly. Used with permission.

Photographer Dewey Keithly has been a fan of old photographic processes for a really long time, and he’s also always been very experimental with his work. His latest project was a combination of things including a super interesting and creative idea. For his latest project he took color print images and set them ablaze with gunpowder to give off a really unique look.

“I wanted to bring color back in a way that showed the old transforming into the new,” explains Dewey to us in an email. “I decided, the best way was to layer the black and white over the color print. I then used multiple gun powders with different burning rates on the seams.” He continued to explain that the different gun powders is what creates the different textures and colors in the burns. Of course, this meant that in order to not totally destroy the images he needed to get the right amount of gunpowder, put it in the right places, etc. They needed the burned look. Putting the burns in just the right spot is tough but you also want to ensure it doesn’t look too doctored as well.

“It would show the color burning through the black and white images to symbolize the transition from old to new. There is also something to be said about using gunpowder to create the images for a company that makes firearms products.”

Dewey did the project for SilencerCo., his employer. They needed images for the booth, catalog and cover shot. For Dewey, all the previous images were purposely done in black and white to represent “oppressed” people as he states. “With the new 2017 catalog, they wanted to bring color back with the release of a new product that was in theory, supposed to change the suppressor industry through innovation.”

When you think about it this way, it seems like Dewey really got the project right with his creative intentions. I’d surely pay money to see this technique used on printed images in a gallery of some sort.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.