To those of you that have been asking about my next gallery showing and what all these cryptic Facebook posts and texts from the darkroom mean...
Here's the dealy yo - my next show will be in September of this year. The opening reception will be First Friday, 9/6/13 from 7-9 p.m. in the Outback Gallery at the Burkholder Project. I'll be splitting the show with my friend Lexi Bass (1 | 2) who introduced me to a process called Mordançage.
Mordançage is amazing. My early days of being a photographer centered around many, many hours in the darkroom developing film by hand and printing photos from the negatives. I loved this process. It was always "me" time, where I could collect my thoughts, and I think there's something special about having a hands on approach to creating art; something photographers don't get to do as much any more. Using Lightroom and Photoshop comes no where near the amazing feeling one can get by actually doing things by hand. Forcibly slowing down and thinking about each individual frame you want to work with.
Mordançage takes this to the next level.
On top of making the original prints by hand (by the way, watching my first print appear from nothing on photographic paper was the exact moment I became a photographer at the age of 14), Mordançage adds a very alternative take on the darkroom process.
Here's how it goes:
Lexi, amazing as she is, made some copper chloride from scratch. The copper chloride, combined with glacial acetic acid and high volume hydrogen peroxide creates a mixture that bleaches the original silver print and lifts the emulsion off of the surface of the print. By constant agitation and various techniques I'll get in to later or in person at the show, the "blacks" of the image veil and through our movement take on a new shape.
This process is highly caustic and we've had to be very careful in the darkroom with our ventilation procedures and handling of the chemicals and prints.
One large method to my photography is finding a way to make an image unique to whoever ends up with it framed and on their wall. I have attempted to do this through various means; though ultimately, it boils down to limited edition prints and sales.
But this time is different.
Because each individual Mordançage attempt can not be directly reproduced. The way we agitate the tray and chemical and the precise time the print stays submerged can never be replicated. Sure, one could take a photo of one of our Mordançaged images or scan it, but this is a physical process. You can literally feel where the veils have lifted and laid back down on the print. There is no way to perfectly reproduce these images.
Which means that anyone who may purchase one will own a truly unique piece of art. And when it comes to photography, which can be easily reproduced via electronic file or negative, this is an amazing thing. Not many people have heard about, or let alone seen it in person.
But wait, there's more! On top of the unique nature of these prints I've already explained, the chemical process leaves the prints in a state to where they are constantly evolving! A traditional B&W image is just that. Black and white, with all shades of gray in between. But Mordançaging leaves the prints vulnerable, and changes the color! We have experienced an amazing palette of colors in paper that should only be capable of the aforementioned range of color. But we're getting rusty orange, purple, gold, crimson.... so many amazing things that one would not consider normal. And they change on varying factors. Whether or not we reapply developer or fixer, or if the image is exposed to air. So on top of having an already unique image, those untreated with developer will change over the course of it's life, just like you! The colors will shift, and you'll have a constantly changing image.
So, please join Lexi and I in September to see something awesome!
Here are a couple of the images, and more to come soon!