This orange battery was built by photographer Caleb Charland (previously) as part of his ongoing alternative energy photographs using fruit, vegetables, and other objects to create light for his long-exposure photographs. The electricity powering the lightbulb inside the orange is generated through a chemical reaction between citric acid and the zinc nails inserted into each wedge. I think this is by far the most lovely piece he’s done in the series, but before you start work on a bunch of orange lights to keep on the nightstand, the light generated was so dim this particular photograph required a 14 hour exposure.
Update: Now available as a limited edition print!
Lamp powered by 300 live apples, 2012
Vinegar Battery, 2011
Fruit Battery Still Life (Citrus), 2012
Coin Battery, 2010
Portland, Maine-based photographer Caleb Charland frequently merges art and science with his photographic experiments involving electricity, fire, and magnetism. One of his ongoing projects involves a series of alternative power sources created using fruit, coins, and even vinegar to power the lights in his long exposure photographs. The apple photograph above involved a nearly 11-hour setup as he carefully hammered 300 zinc-coated galvanized nails into apples (zinc reacts with acid in the apples creating electricity, science!) and used copper wiring to transfer the current to a standard living room lamp. Even then, the light was so dim it required a 4-hour exposure during which Charland fended off ravenous deer through the night with an impromptu shaker made from a tin can and wire nuts. You can read much more about the ordeal over on Discover, and here’s a video of the entire project coming together.
Caleb recent launched a new website where you can access a few years of his photography, I strongly urge you to at least look at his Demonstrations gallery. He’ll also have a few prints in an upcoming group show at Brancolini Grimaldi in London this September.