Ernie Button


"Whisky is a time-honored drink, finely-crafted and enjoyed for centuries. I feel fortunate that I stumbled upon the Vanishing Spirits phenomenon. I continually notice the smaller details in life that are often overlooked or ignored. The inspiration for this project occurred while putting a used Scotch glass into the dishwasher. I caught a glance of a film on the bottom of a glass and when I inspected it closer, I perceived these fine, lacy lines filling the bottom. What I discovered through some experimentation is that these patterns and images are created with the lingering amount of Single-Malt Scotch whisky left in a glass after it has been consumed. The alcohol evaporates, leaving the sediment in various structured patterns. It is similar to the variety found in snowflakes. Every time the Scotch dries, the glass yields uniquely different configurations.

I have been working on this project for nearly a decade and it has taken my photography places I didn't imagine it would go. My curiosity led me to investigate further into the science behind the phenomenon and eventually inspired scientific research conducted by Dr. Howard Stone's Complex Fluids Group at Princeton University. Their research helped to explain some of the science behind the Vanishing Spirits images and ultimately led to a research article. The images for this EDITIONS portfolio were created with The Macallan whisky, a company which has been a bold supporter of the photographic arts with their Masters of Photography program. I was given complete artistic freedom to create these images that were used for a Capsule Edition of The Macallan whisky." – Ernie Button

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