Expiration II. 2003. Pt-pd print on vellum from 11x14 negative.Expiration II. 2003. Pt-pd print on vellum from 11×14 negative.

[see the full scan with reference target]

This image comes from a series called ‘Campsite for the Non-Citizen‘. All the photographs were intended to be shown as large digital inkjet prints from scanned 11×14 negatives. I wanted the group of work to be dramatic, overwhelming and bold. (See the digital print version of this image, as compared to the above.)

Soon after showing this work, I began to print it in platinum-palladium. Over ten years later, I look back at the prints and think I should have done the whole piece in pt-pd. This rendering seems to me to be much more nuanced, more expressive of the uncertainties and sacrifices born out of ‘citizenship’, the hypocritical inequities that spin off from freedom, and the cloudy possibility that our sense of individuality may be quite wrong. These thoughts work themselves out in tandem with decisions on how to make a print. And to say they work themselves out is not quite right – its more that they become recognized as the print takes shape, as decisions are made when printing: what paper to print on, what color (even in black and white) to render, what contrast, where to lighten and darken, what overall brightness or darkness, and so on. Printing is a continuum of photographing, and looking at a print, even more than a decade on, is part of that same continuum.

detail:Expiration II. 2003. Pt-pd print on vellum from 11x14 negative.