Saturday, October 27, 2012

Making marks

In a photographic sense I have been making marks on paper by burning and slashing the paper and then adding cyanotype to create a print.

Not only each paper receives the coating differently and responds to the varying amount of light I expose it to, but each type of paper gives a different result also.
To construct the final piece I need to make many more so back to work we go.....!

Sunday, October 14, 2012


I have been working with different papers. This is several burned and torn pieces of white Kraft paper using cyanotype.
Because these papers are not traditional water media when rinsed in the final step of the cyanotype they became too fragile and tore easily. Having burned them in the beginning the paper fibers were so weak in some cases that the whole paper tore into one giant gaping hole. To remedy that I began to sew a simple repair.
It was during my reading of Lyle Rexer's Photography's Antiquarian Avant-Garde: the New Wave in Old Process that I read about Bea Nettles using a sewing machine. I have seen her work and cookbook but didn't realize she had been shut out of the all male darkroom due to using a sewing machine.
I enjoy the additional feminist element. I hate that images and ideas can be classified or read as domestic or feminine. That of course is another issue of the baggage that all of us bring to what we see, hear, and think which I need to leave for some future time.
I have a lot more reading to do so I will leave now with this view 

Some writings

Here are something that I have wanted to post but have been busy and have not found time for until now.
My mentor Susan Dunkerley Maquire had me write out a description/evaluation of several pieces I showed her. This was an exacting exercise which I took a long time over. It was very interesting in how it developed the awareness of the pieces.

This piece with a semi-representational figure was not followed up much through the rest of my time working with the cyanotypes. I have spent quite a deal more time on creating the imageless pieces I have posted and will update later. This figurative image was done before the intense reading of Uta Barth that I was doing. I had been looking into the idea of traces and loss of complete image as a way to explore how memory works and sometimes fails. Reading Uta Barth and her idea of seeing tied into my exploration into highlighting how we look.

Here then is the description of one image.
Description of #4.
This is a traditional landscape format with a single female figure in a soft palette of pale to mid-tone blues. The isolation of the subject framed by fragile tree branches sets a lonely distancing tone. The lack of distinct and specific detail in the image area immediately challenges a fast traditional reading of a representational photograph.

The paper buckles and warps generating a depth that contradicts the traditional flat plane of photographic papers. The image is blurry and blocky where the figure and face should be, this loss of information raises questions about the meaning as well as reinforcing the feeling and depth of isolation.

The texture of the paper is evident not only in the in the paper’s rough surface but in its thickness which can be seen when the edges buckle. The uneven color coating is also another element of texture while referencing photography’s traditional use of light (and dark). Irregular staining creates blemishes in several areas of the paper, indicating the hand of the artist and adding an element of chance to the process. This milky sense of a veil separates the gaze of the viewer from a traditional engagement or entrance to photography.

Together these features create a piece that challenges expectations of what photography means.  

Monday, October 1, 2012


Just to keep you updated. I have shown a few of the beginnings of this new series. In exploring the cyanotype, I am using chance as well as planning to make these images.

You can see the marks on the paper from burning. I also have cut several to see how they will react/form after rinsing when I hang them to dry.
Here you can see the coating I spread over the paper. This is to help create a starch layer to give added color so the cyanotype doesn't sink into the paper too deep. And with that I have added a salt resist.
This is a finished piece (minus the burning) with a salt resist.
As you can see they are really removed from the traditional representation images associated with photography. I hope to get into the readings I've been doing later. Right now if you are interested the books to read are by Lyle Rexer. Very informative and they say all the things I've been thinking but hadn't put into words yet!