A few weeks ago, some of my work was shown 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 it was an honor to see my photographs 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, during a 4×5 large format photography class. My great grandmother had recently died and my family was beginning to clean out her home. Through photography, I hoped to document her house as it was before anything was moved. But equally important, I wanted to find a way to represent an almost spiritual feminine presence that I imagined I could still feel in its spaces.
This lead me to incorporate 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 light remain white. The parts of the paper that recieve direct exposure to light turn black during development.
I had seen Man Ray’s photograms (which he called Rayographs) and had made similar ones, though rudimentary, 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 with semi-transparent materials (so they would not completely block out the images) like salt, plastic wrap, artificial flowers, and lace. In the dim 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, I developed my prints normally.
My artist statement: