Phlogiston: A Nymph of the Australian Bush

Phlogiston: A Nymph of the Australian Bush.

Fire is essential to the health, growth, safety and ultimately the survival of the Australian bush. This photo series, taken in the same forest before and after the area was razed by fire explores alchemy’s misconception of fire as a substance: phlogiston. Through logical but incorrect interpretation of experimental data, early chemists came to the conclusion that the the products of burning weighed more than the initial fuel due to the escaping fire within having negative weight. They called this magical substance phlogiston. Although it has never been recorded that these thinkers saw the dark matter of their day as a nymph or goddess rising through the smoke as previous generations did with their unknowables, but it’s a nice thought.

All images are taken by Johnathon Pike and edited by Madelyn Winter.

Phlogiston: A Nymph of the Australian Bush

Phlogiston: A Nymph of the Australian Bush

Phlogiston: A Nymph of the Australian Bush

Phlogiston: A Nymph of the Australian Bush

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