Spa mineral water, the Belgian beverage brand, set out to prove how "pure" its water is with an unusual approach; it commissioned a photographer to take portraits using a drop of the water as a "lens."
The campaign, by JWT Amsterdam, challenged Dutch portrait photographer Robin de Puy with the task, while the agency set out to build a unique camera, teaming up with tech specialists Etulipa.
As seen in the video here, the concept involved overcoming several problems. First, in order to make the drop of water keep its spherical shape, water-repellent coating needed to be used. To control the shape of the water drop to allow the photographer to pull focus, the team also employed an electro-wetting technique: by changing the electricity voltage running through the drop of water, its shape either contracts or expands. A small mirror was added underneath at a 45-degree angle to reflect horizontal light up through the lens, and finally, a sensor was added.
Bas Korsten, JWT's creative partner, is no stranger to such challenges, having masterminded other innovative tech projects such as ING's The Next Rembrandt. "When people talk about innovation, it generally means working with cutting edge technology," he says. "What I love about 'The Purest Picture' is that we are being innovative, but rather than high tech, this is low tech: we're using one of the world's oldest natural materials, water. Sometimes the most interesting results come from stripping the creative process back down to its essence and using old school elements in a totally new way."
The film of the project is being aired on Spa's website and social channels, while a one-day exhibition of the portraits took place at Amsterdam's Art'otel.