A few weeks ago, some of my work wasÂ shownÂ in on online group exhibition called “Auras” on Don’t Smile, a women’s photography blog. I had never received that kind of recognition for my photography before and itÂ was an honor to see my photographsÂ alongside work from talented artists from a range of experience levels.
I realized I hadn’t previously posted anything about this project, though it was completely analog, and decided I wanted to share my process on the blog.
I created the body of work, Artifacts,Â during a 4×5 large format photography class. My great grandmotherÂ had recently died and myÂ family was beginning to clean out her home. Through photography,Â I hopedÂ to document her houseÂ as itÂ was before anythingÂ was moved. But equally important, I wanted to find a way to represent an almost spiritual feminine presence that I imagined I could still feelÂ in itsÂ spaces.
This lead me to incorporateÂ photogram techniques. Photograms are images created by placing objects darkroom paper and exposing the paper to light. The spots where the objects sit on the paper blocking the lightÂ remain white. The parts of the paper that recieveÂ direct exposure to light turn black during development.
I had seen Man Ray’s photograms (which he called Rayographs) and had made similar ones, thoughÂ rudimentary,Â in my first darkroom class by dumping all the contents of my backpack onto the paper.
I had not seen any work, however, where photogram techniques were used in combination with images taken on a camera.
I experimented withÂ semi-transparent materials (so they would not completely block out the images) likeÂ salt, plastic wrap, artificial flowers, and lace. In the dimÂ red glow of darkroom safelights, I strategically placed the objects on top of the paper (either 11×14″ or 16×20″) where they would interact with different parts of compositions in the images. After exposing, IÂ developed my prints normally.
My artist statement: