Abstract smoke from a fire – about the Wildfire images – Kenneth Rimm

Fine art photograph of abstract smoke from a fire from the “Wildfire" exhibition in Copenhagen by photographer Kenneth Rimm

The Wildfire series comprises of abstract photographs of fire & smoke from a fire on a field.

Images created out of coincidences, but at the same time they reflects a time in life, where all seemed black & hopeless.

The contrast between the pitch black smoke & the beams of sunlight, constant fight to gain power without luck.

Swirls of smoke, fire & clouds in the strong wind constantly created abstract images in the sky, replaced by the next seconds later.

The fire started quickly & was over a few hours later, like life that can seem long & chaotic, but is fragile & short.

Like the Satellites series the abstract shapes & colors are enhanced & reworked more like an abstract painting.

The Wildfire series were photographed very quick & spontaneous, very much like the fire started.

Usually my images are in a very long process from idea to the final fine art print. But in this case I had to seize the moment, before it was too late.

The light disappeared

I was inside working on a hot summer afternoon when, when the room suddenly became strangely dark. 

Outside the window, a large black cloud of smoke filled the sky. At first glance it looked as if the whole neighborhood was on fire. 

Slightly surreal and shocking, but most of all I thought it looked pretty amazing. A nearby field was on fire & because of the strong wind, it was spreading fast.


I quickly grabbed the camera and a few lenses, and jumped on my bike to find a good spot. Which turned out to be more difficult than I first thought. 

My first attempt was on a motorway bridge, but that was the completely wrong angle, and way too far away.

But from there I could get an overview and see where it would work better. Which meant I pretty much had to go back to where I came from.

Unfortunately, I now stood behind a noise barrier, and a couple of trees that I had to shoot around.

One image at a time

The strong wind and the fact that I couldn’t see the fire itself, or how far and how fast it spread, made it difficult to put it mildly. 

The camera I used is completely manual & without auto focus, & therefore not exactly built for action photography.

When I looked in the camera, it was very difficult to see what I was doing, because I had the sun against me. But I could clearly see the possibilities when I looked outside the viewfinder, through my sunglasses. So I ended up with a kind of weird combination of both.

The images came in small fast waves, carried by the strong wind, and I had to quickly and instinctively predict exactly where and when, I could catch the next one.

I shot as fast and as much as I could, with the limitations the camera has. But it was more or less one image at a time.


I was pretty energetic when I came back, and very excited to see if I had something usable. So I started working on the images straight away, and released them on my website, as soon as I was happy with them, without worrying too much about the details. As a kind of open sketchbook of the final images.

Using my immediate energy & excitement to play with the images, instead of saving them until they where completely finished, as I would normally do.

Making the final prints

There is however a big difference between the immediate & smaller web versions and a perfect large scale print.

When the time came to make the final prints, I spend several weeks working on them again, before they were ready to print & frame.

Each image is created by combining soft & contrasty layers of the same image. Mixed by using countless small brushstrokes in various sizes & densities,

to bring out the shapes & details of the clouds & smoke. All images are revisited & refined again and again, as the series progressed to match & compliment each other, like pieces of music on an album.


The cause of the fire is still unknown & luckily no one was harmed.

Installation view of two fine art photograph from the “Wildfire" exhibition in Copenhagen by photographer Kenneth Rimm. Viewed from left side.


Installation view of two fine art photograph from the “Wildfire" exhibition in Copenhagen by photographer Kenneth Rimm. Viewed from right side.


Detail of "Wildfire” exhibition print framed in solid smoked oak.


Photography exhibition Copenhagen Denmark by photographer Kenneth Rimm


Exhibition view from the Wildfire series by photographer Kenneth Rimm.

Installation view from the Wildfire photography exhibition in Denmark during Copenhagen Photo Festival

All exhibition prints are in limited edition size 80×103 cm (image size 70×93cm) / 31,5×40,6 in. (image size 27,6×36,6 in.) framed in solid smoked oak on Dibond mount.

The whole stem of the tree is used, which makes each frame unique, showing all the texture & growth rings of the tree.

Prints in the Wildfire series are available in sizes up to 160 x 215 cm (63 x 85 in.)

For inquiries about available edition sizes & pricing please contact us, or visit the buy prints section for general information.


Text & photographs © copyright Kenneth Rimm 2022