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Mixed media from photographic ephemera and antique glass

Optographic Objects are studies in light, time and materials using experimental photographic processes. This body of work explores the ways in which materials, objects and places seem to hold memories in their molecular structures. It uses ephemera such as antique lenses, obsolete film formats, developing byproducts and other cameraless techniques to create strange landscapes and forms. It harks back to the early days of photography as a magic alchemy from which it was believed with the right chemical combinations it would be possible to capture spectres, souls and other apparitions, including Optograms - which were said to record the last image seen by the eye before death.

Following on from work such as The Light of Other Days (2021) and Shotska Reel (2022) and the lens experiments in the project Eyes of Time (2018-present), this body of work seeks to explore the threads that run from the molecules of materials and our cells to the matter of the cosmos, narratives telescoping through time and space and chemicals.

OPTOGRAPHIC OBJECTS: Copper Chemigrams I-V (2022)

Silver extracted from photographic fixer on copper sheets, wood, 160x160mm each

Photograph/chemical painting hybrids made by applying expired photographic fixer onto copper sheets. The copper extracts the silver from the fixer meaning that it is safe to dispose of. It was painted on to create strange landscapes from the chemical reactions and verdegris.

OPTOGRAPHIC OBJECTS: Slow Glass Windows I&II (2022)

Photographic prints mounted on antique glass panes, 250x420mm each

Cameraless photographs made from expired 35mm Kodachrome film, an obsolete format that can no longer be developed as its chemical process is highly toxic. Instead it is developed as a 'ghost film' in black and white - in this case in Caffenol-C, a developer made from coffee. It is unreliable and in this case the anti-halation layer forms strange cloud formations and night scenes. Another layer of time and materiality is added by the frame - made from antique window panes, some of which have been left blank to reveal the wall beneath.

OPTOGRAPHIC OBJECTS: Optograms I & II (2022)

Photographic prints mounted on antique glass lenses, 120mm diameter each

Cameraless photographs made from discarded/waste 35mm negatives. Another layer of time and materiality is added by mounting onto antique lenses, distorting the image through light and time. Optograms were said to record the last image seen by the eye before death, and I see these objects as  ‘eyes of time’.

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