Actually, I had to do it twice. The first time the wad of kerosene-soaked paper towels didn’t blacken until the flames had died down considerably. With the second go I spray painted everything black first. When everything is black that isn’t the flame it is much much easier to composite the flames into other images.
I’ve seen plenty of pictures of fire before but it really surprised me how captivating pictures of flames really are. Watching the kerosene burn in person vs what you see in the following images is quite different. The flames are so much more expressive and interesting in the still images. In real life it looked mostly like a giant candle flame.
These pictures have not been retouched other than a tiny amount of brightness adjustment. Some really crazy shapes!