Essay 2, Draft 1
An ‘artist by accident’ is how Martin Waugh describes himself. Born in Colorado, going to University in Portland, he planned to be a maths teacher. On the way to getting his teaching degree, he saw physics and ‘fell in love’. In the end, he achieved a secondary teaching degree, and a degree in physics.
Still, Waugh planned to be a teacher, but found that the role of ‘teacher’ didn’t quite fit. He continued onto computer programming, teaching himself, and succeeded with a 30-year career, leaving him with plenty of spare time to ‘play’.
Being inspired by A.M. Worthington's ‘A Study of Splashes’ book, he began to try his hand at high-speed photography in the basement of his home. As he was orchestrating a splash, Waugh saw the water create a captivating and unusual splash. After a moment of consideration, he found that a second drop had fallen onto the column created by the first drop, creating a mid-air collision. Waugh says that he thought to himself ‘that should happen on purpose’.
Martin Waugh has now planned and captured over 100,000 photographs of water in flight, taking thousands of pictures at a time, in the hope of capturing that one special shot. ‘Fluids in motion fascinate my senses’, he says, ‘they tickle some faint physical memory, like a scent evoking a forgotten mix of feelings’. He describes water collisions and splashes as sculptures that reflect a perfect balance of dynamic forces. Waugh says that setting the equipment up is the easy part of it all – the hard part is the timing and manipulation of the liquid. He says that he still ‘dances and chortles’ when he manages to capture a specific collision or drop that he planned. Waugh says that his photography shows ‘physics infinite beauty’, and that he enjoys watching other people view his work; as, to him, it seems to strike a chord with everyone, which is ‘unbelievably satisfying’.
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