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Generative Photography

While experimenting with a paint spray gun, Franke noticed that objects that do not lie flat on the substrate, but are a little above it, can be depicted in much greater detail than one would expect. Surprisingly, details of the surface facing the spray are then even visible on the paper – as if a view around the object had been achieved. If the spray gun is allowed to move over the object while spraying exactly vertically from above, so that the geometry of the flow path does not change, this effect becomes particularly clear. The physical background naturally fascinating Franke is that the jet path does not run in a straight line as, but follows the flow lines that hug the surface all around. He documented this new knowledge in al litte series calles Aerogramme. This leads to the surprising insight that a flow system can also have imaging effects – a fact that might be related to the orientation ability of animals living in water, FRanke once mentioned. Irrespective of this, visually appealing images are created in this way that point to a third way of seeing our world – in addition to optical images and X-ray transparencies.

Herbert W. Franke also made aerograms of fir branches. Once he used a color paint spray gun for a printed Christmas card (the front on the right), which he sent to friends in 1955 with this dedication at the back side.