Photography After Photography (A Reckoning)

This publication is centered in playfulness as an entry point into current research. Can we, as practicing artists, live with the decisions we make in employing the photographic medium as we have come to know it? Silver mining, rare metals in chips, animal-derived gelatin, vast quantities of water…. Can we retool our entire approach to the material/political ethics of contemporary photographic making? These questions are deadly serious, but I use humor, and play, as the backbone of my own studio forays. I attempt, in this new work, to defy industrial photography.

My research looks to plant-based printing methods, reliant on slow acts of photosensitivity that involve neither silver grains nor plastic papers. The anthotype is the epitome of slow photography: organic material (spinach, turmeric, pomegranate, prickly pear….) renders a vivid emulsion, coated on substrate (usually paper). Sandwiched under an object or photographic transparency, and left in the sun to bleach, a photograph is slowly delivered, over the course of hours to months. Many of these methods were explored in early photographic history, but had little commercial value due to slower emulsions, mediocre stability, and tedious exposure times. Can we remake a culture of photography that places more value on the act of making itself, and on more ephemeral, less commodified prints? Do we have time?

Photography after Photography (A Reckoning) is a publication that is a visual, technical, and theoretical exploration, tackling the future of photographic practice. A cookbook cum manifesto, it contains recipes for plant-based photography, hints gleaned from my research, and reflections on the future of the medium.