Through my photographs I am investigating the nature of photography, explored though experimentation with varied the photographic processes as a means to come to grips with their seemingly magical nature. I am drawn to experiment with materials and techniques for producing images and have sought to use a variety of photographic methods such as pinhole cameras, daguerreotypes, digital image making and photograms. These differing processes have provided a means of exploring the ideas of theorists and generating concepts for artworks. While the methods vary they share the common elements of a recording surface, a subject, and the action of light.
To some degree my way of working has a trial and error methodology that helps my thinking processes, for it pushes me to question assumptions about photography. For example, to what degree is there any contact between the subject and the image produced? How do different production methods give the image maker greater or lesser degrees of control over the end result? In creating images in response to my readings on the trace, I am struck by four things. Firstly, it is the nature of the touch, the contact between what is depicted and the image that is implicit in writings about photographs as traces. Secondly, it is how this touch has been equated by some to give photographs a metaphysical dimension, a capacity to transmit the aura of their subject. Thirdly, it is the idea that the trace depends on contingency, and although the camera is a mechanism for control, the image gains veracity though the removal of agency. Finally, it is the idea that the trace connects the photograph to “reality” and gives it claims to veracity beyond other images.
|Drifting In The Light|
|It’s not Where I Left It: a photogram of an old hp sauce bottle |
that turned up in the alleyway down the back of my house.
Photograms look like ghosts I think.
I consider the most direct examples of the photograph as a trace are to be seen in photograms, the most simple form of light drawing. These images are produced by placing objects on photosensitive paper which is then exposed to light. The image is then fixed. Photograms were produced by pioneers of photography such as Fox Talbot who used it to make images of lacework, and Anna Atkins who produced was is regarded as the first published photobook with a series of images of algae. The process does away with the lens to render the image and creates an impression of the thing, more like the footprint. As footprint in sand is a negative, preserving an inverted impression in the same sense that the photogram shows an absence, rather than the subject. The photogram records the action of blocking light from reaching the photographic paper. What attested to is the absence of the thing it depicts, not the thing itself. They record an obstruction, recording the parts of the paper that the light cannot reach because the contact between the paper and the object. This is the action that leaves the impression and creates the image. In making the image the object is in contact with the paper and a trace is left. But what the photogram shows is not the object but its action in resisting the flow of light against the recording medium. It is recording an event, showing that an object, for a time, was in contact with the paper and protected it from the blackening effect of the light.
|It Curves Away from the Light: |
I found this dried out twig out the front of my house, it looks like a sparkler.
|Sleep: The tintypes I have been making come out yellow on black. |
Watching the image appear as you process it is fascinating.
I love the errors that come from the coating process too.
Sometimes the best things come from mistakes.
edited and posted by H.N.