Zachary Burns, Buckley Tap Water
Upstairs Gallery

Zachary Burns

Footprints of Water

January 2 – March 23, 2013

Artist’s Reception: Thursday January 10, 6-8 PM

Photography and science have always been related. From its creation, photography has been used as a tool by science to record objects and phenomena. A photograph is considered to be almost the same as seeing the actual object. While this assumption of truth has been useful to science, it also has been a limiting factor for photography. Photographs were not originally considered to be art because it was thought that they were just recordings of what the camera observed without any artistic input from the “operator.” However, many images created in the service of science are beautiful in their own right. This observation has led many photographers to create works based on science but for the sake of art.

This project follows that tradition. Each print is an image of the non-volatile contaminates left by a water sample after it was evaporated. The word contaminates in this case is not necessarily a negative term; it only means things that aren’t water. Sample evaporation is used in water testing to determine the amount of such contaminates by weighing the sample after the water has been evaporated. While a general sense of the amount of contaminates can be gained from looking at these prints, they serve no scientific purpose.

Thanks to Cathryn Hallett, David & Muriel Larson, Susannah Miller, and Megan Rekow for collecting some of the samples used here.


Zachary Burns was born in Redmond, Washington in 1991. He studied photography at Bellevue College where he received an Associates of Arts and Science in 2011. It was while studying at Bellevue College that Zachary became interested in quasi-scientific photography. He has been able to continue to pursue this interest at Seattle University where he expects to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in June of 2013.

Zachary has lived in the small town of Carnation, Washington for most of his life. He attributes his interest in water to the fact that Carnation is surrounded by rivers. Besides photography, Zachary’s hobbies include bicycling, and the Japanese martial art Aikido.

Zachary received the Printing Sponsorship Award from Photo Center NW in 2012. These photographs were printed in the Photo Center’s black and white analog lab as a result of the program benefits.