Artist's Statement

Ernie Button

Archival Pigment Prints - Varies from 7”x 7” to 30”x 30”

Vanishing Spirits is an internationally acclaimed photography portfolio featuring images created with the residue of dried whisky. My discovery of this phenomenon has led me in new directions: talking with scientists, chemists, master distillers, journalists, newspaper and magazine articles, exhibiting in galleries & museums, all of which I could not have anticipated when I uncovered this phenomenon over 12 years ago.

My wife came from a Scotch drinking family and thus exposed me to the appreciation of whisky. The idea for this project occurred while putting a used Scotch glass into the dishwasher. I noted a dried film in the glass and when I inspected closer, I noted these fine lines filling the bottom. What I found through some experimentation is that these patterns that are seen can be created with the residue of Single Malt Scotch whisky left in a glass after most of it has been consumed. It’s a little like snowflakes in that every time the Scotch dries, the glass yields different patterns and results.

My love for my wife was the start of this project but I continue to make whisky images because I find the images and this phenomenon fascinating. Because whisky is as much a product of the wood as it is the distillate, it peaked my curiosity of when, in the aging process, does the wood impact the distillate enough to allow these lines & patterns to emerge? A few of the submitted images hint at where the project is headed.