A Day In Decay: Studio Visit With Kelly Barrie

kelly Barrie Photographer

The other day I swung by the studio of photographer Kelly Barrie. Kelly’s artistic process is one of the more bizarre and unique methods I’ve seen in quite a while. It involves multiple photos, a darkroom squeegee, photo luminescent pigment, and Kelly’s feet. Intrigued? Click on the handy “Read More” button to find out how Kelly creates photo magic with a lil help from his feet.


Kelly Barrie photographer

Like most artists, Kelly stumbled onto his process by accident. While walking barefoot in his studio he noticed his dusty footprints on backdrop paper that had rolled onto the floor. Intriqued with how the dust print became a drawing Kelly decided to photograph the footprint. After a few trials with photo luminescent pigment and  a some fancy footwork a new body of work was born!

kelly Barrie Photographer

Each image is constructed by Kelly literally drawing the image with his feet and photo luminescent pigment. Kelly has developed quite a large body of footsteps to create various marks and lines in each image.

There’s a great painterly quality to these photographs. From a distance they look like paintings framed behind glass. Only when you get closer do you realize that what you’re looking at is really an ephemeral image constructed and then photographed. Once the work is photographed the drawings are destroyed.

kelly Barrie Photographer

This work started with this newspaper clipping of a house in louisiana which was flooded by Katrina. Attracted by the reflection of the water, Kelly decided to replicate the image.

kelly Barrie Photographer

kelly Barrie Photographer

Because of the reflection in the water, the image is initially abstracted. As you look closer, several visual cues alert you that you’re not looking at an infinite landscape but at a reflected image. The reflection was achieved by completing the entire image and photographing it. Once photographed, Kelly went back and partially erased the house by hand using a darkroom squeege. Then the image was photographed  for a second time digitally to create the reflection.The final result is extremely seamless and seductive.

kelly Barrie Photographer

Many of the reference images in Kelly’s work come from newspaper and magazine clippings.

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The scratched graffiti/carvings on the trees were also done with a darkroom squeegee. Gives the photos a great painterly quality that you don’t come across in most photographs.

kelly Barrie Photographer

Skulls and dead trees, two of my favorite subjects.

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I love Kelly’s work but this was by far the highlight of the studio visit. While shooting a photo of this piece Kelly accidentally shot a spider that had crawled onto the photo paper (bottom left corner). Rather than delete it in photoshop he left it in, incorporating this happy accident into the work.
Let Kelly’s work be a lesson to all of us that inspiration and the creative process can be born by the most mundane things, even a dirty studio floor. Kelly’s next body of work will introduce color pigment. He will also have a piece in Book 4 of Beautiful/Decay so if you’re a fan of his work make sure to subscribe to reserve your copy.
  • http://inkstainedhands.com Bill

    great images! the tree with things carved into it is sweet.