Switzerland-based photographer Fabian Oefner has a knack for exploring the intersection of science and art. In his latest work, he pours a variety of colored paints over a rod connected to a power drill to produce some remarkable shots of fluid in motion. Who knew combining acrylics with power tools could be so beautiful?

Oefner describes the process behind the series – dubbed "Black Hole" – on his website:

The motion of the paint happens in a blink of an eye, the images you see are taken only millisecond after the drill was turned on. To capture the moment, where the paint forms that distinctive shape, I connected a sensor to the drill, which sends an impulse to the flashes. These specialized units are capable of creating flashes as short as a 1/40000 of a second, freezing the motion of the paint.

Embodied in these photographs are physical properties you're probably familiar with, including centripetal force and surface tension. According to Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics, the droplets that form at the terminus of each spiraling arm are due to less commonly known phenomena, namely Plateau-Rayleigh or rimming instability.


When we last spoke with Oefner, it was about his ferrofluids project, "Millefiori." At the time, he told us: "Whenever I start working with a new material or exploring a scientific phenomenon... I just experiment with it. After a bit of time, I come across something that I think could be developed further into a series of images."

And that appears to be exactly what he's done with "Black Hole." We've included a few of our favorites below, but you can check out the series in its entirety – including a video that documents how the images were created – on Oefner's website.



[Fabian Oefner via Fuck Yeah Fluid Dynamics]