Bumble bee and nandina

Bee and Nandina.
Sewanee, TN, June 6, 2016.

It is Summer.

Simple.

Skala Shamanka at dusk, Olkhon, Lake Baikal, Siberia, August 13,

Skala Shamanka at dusk, Olkhon, Lake Baikal, Siberia, August 13, 1995. Selenium toned silver gelatin print from 8×10 negative.

That very creamy base white is actually a stain from selenium toning, rendered when the print is fixed, washed without a hypo clearing bath, and toned. My photography class this semester has spent most of the time delving deep into the nuances of printing with silver gelatin, which includes understanding what it means to ‘make’ a negative. Together, we have learned about that exquisite dance between seeing, framing, exposing, developing, contrast, luminosity, surface, image and ultimately (a nod to Thomas Joshua Cooper) vision. We have spent almost three weeks printing just one negative, working with myriad combinations of exposure-to-developer-to-toning work flows. We have slowed down. We have learned to look, with care and kindness. And this class has filled me with hope. On Sunday night, we met for our final critique session, looking at just one print by each person. The session ran for almost five hours, and while exhausting, it did not seem forced. One reason for the ease with which we moved from print to print may be summed up by Paul Caponigro’s contemplation of what he called the ‘voice’ of the print, “where mind and imagination might combine with the world of feeling to bring a new object into being. It is here also that overtones from the symbolic language of the medieval alchemist might be apprehended. … In the same way that I come to see my exposed and developed negatives as a shaped terrain…there is also a deeper cutting and impressing within the psychological landscape. Inner correspondences to the outer shapes and physical events provide me with a magical bridge to link the seemingly separate places and spaces of man and earth. A living and fluid ecology ensues. …the voice of the print wishes entrance to the migrations of ideas and materials.” 

So, I thank all who took this class. I have learned a lot and have had my love of printing with silver gelatin revived.

The quote is from Paul Caponigro, The Voice of the Print, Muse Press, 1994

view full scan

 

detail:Skala Shamanka at dusk, Olkhon, Lake Baikal, Siberia, August 13,

Sorting Coffee, Baptiste, Haiti, May,2013

Sorting Coffee, Baptiste, Haiti, May, 2013

Ziko Jeromè scooping water out of a dried up river bed for his

Ziko Jeromè scooping water out of a dried up river bed for his animals during a drought, Bois Jolie, Haiti, February, 2016.

 

Elephant, Beverly, MA. Christmas, 2015

Elephant, Beverly, MA. Christmas, 2015

Sad.

 

In the Forest, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder Simili Japon) from original 8x10 negative.

In the Forest, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder Simili Japon) from original 8×10 negative.

like an incessant chant:
sudek janacek sudek janacek

view full scan

detail

In the Forest, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder Simili Japon) from original 8x10 negative.

In the Forest, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder Simili Japon) from original 8×10 negative.

Plum Trees, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print o

Plum Trees, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder Simili Japon) from original 8×10 negative.

view full scan

The image is the paper, with pure platinum and palladium particles deeply bonded to the very fibers that make up the paper. The fibers, transparent macaroni-like strands of cellulose, filter, scatter and reflect light arriving at the paper’s surface. Small cathedrals of noble metals and space. One of the great joys of holding a platinum-palladium print in your hands is just this–to bring it up close, and tilt it this way and that, to almost hear the flow of light around tiny clusters of metal. This detail shows the unexposed paper surface beside the left edge of the printed image.

Plum Trees, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print o

Apple Blossoms, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium pri

Apple Blossoms, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder Simili Japon) from original 8×10 negative.

view full scan

detail:

Apple Blossoms, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium pri

Bough, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100

Bough, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder Simili Japon) from original 8×10 negtive.

“This unheimlich place, however, is the entrance to the former Heim (home) of all human beings, to the place where each one of us lived once upon a time and in the beginning.” Sigmund Freud, from ‘The “Uncanny”‘, quoted from Norman Bryson’s ‘Looking at the Overlooked: four essays on still life painting’, Reaction Press, London. p.170.

I think Freud was barking up the wrong tree. We may all be barking in the wrong forest. Thinking about individuality, the subject and the subjective has been a useful paradigm. But oh the places it has taken us. And oh the cords we have dissed. But who am I to say? Nothing. Just some where in the forest.

view full scan detail: Bough, Cumberland Springs, 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100

Dogwood and Sumac, Cumberland Springs, TN. 1986. Platinum-pallad

Dogwood and Sumac, Cumberland Springs, TN. 1986. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Van Gelder Simili Japon) from 8×10 original negative.

It had been well established that the addition of mercuric chloride to platinum-palladium sensitizers would render a warmer and smoother image, along with lower contrast. I wanted the prints from this series, made during a personally transformative time, to feel tenuous but certain. A strange mix.

Now we know that mercuric chloride creates some problems, archivally speaking. Hence the edge marks. The print was made about 20 years ago.

view full scan

detail:

Dogwood and Sumac, Cumberland Springs, TN. 1986. Platinum-pallad