Photographer Deborah Bay was once inspired by a sales display advertising the strength of bullet-proof Plexiglas. What she saw of the fragments stuck in the glass was "a visual record of the energy released on impact," but she felt something more -- a "psychological tension."
With the help of law enforcement professionals from the Public Safety Institute at Houston Community College, Bay captured abstract "macro photographs," as described by Peta Pixel, for her project "The Big Bang".
Bay explains more about the project in a statement on her website:
From Dirty Harry to Andy Warhol, guns continue to fascinate. From Guns N' Roses to guns and butter, they're potent metaphors in today's pop culture. And what's a gun without a bullet? Taking a cue from the cultural zeitgeist, I began thinking about "The Big Bang" after seeing a sales display of bullet-proof plexiglas that had projectiles embedded in it. The plexiglas captured the fragmentation of the bullets and provided a visual record of the energy released on impact. As I began to explore this concept further, I also was intrigued by the psychological tension created between the jewel-like beauty and the inherent destructiveness of the fragmented projectiles. Many of the images resemble exploding galaxies, and visions of intergalactic bling sublimate the horror of bullets meeting muscle and bone. In fact, Susan Sontag described the camera as "a sublimation of the gun" -- load, aim and shoot. My interest in the project grew out of the pervasiveness of guns as cultural symbols and America's long-held affection for guns as part of the country's heritage. This seems particularly relevant in Texas where it's estimated that there are 51 million firearms -- two guns for every man, woman and child in the state. Professionals in law enforcement at the Public Safety Institute at Houston Community College fired the shots into the plexiglas used in the series. The photographic images were made in the studio -- well after the gunshots were fired.