Scans from Prints 17
Banyan Tree. Temple. Junagadh, Gujerat,India. 1995. Platinum-palladium print on (Wyndstone) vellum from 8×10 inch negative.
It is like seeing a ghost. Everything in this print is almost there, fully there and not at all what I remember. I remember setting up tripod and 8×10 camera, my driver preparing to halt all traffic on a busy street. Spectators, waiting for something to happen, but there was no loud announcement. Just another little person, disappearing for a moment under a big black cloth, reappearing, then palms being held up to stop all motion, then happy waves and dust floating through charcoal fire smoke. Photo taken, thank you very much.
Here, I see detail, the peculiar rendering of it when prints are made on the glass-smooth surface of cellulose vellum. Layer after layer, and not a paper fiber to be seen. Very strange. Scanning, as this print has been, does not help render sharpness. The scanner light passes through and bounces, more diffuse, straight back out onto the sensor. A strange, but still somehow truthful, mist comes back out me. The mist. I wrote about this print in very different ways some three years ago, and quoted William Blake.
‘I would no more question my eye than I would question a window concerning sight. I look through it, not with it.’ – William Blake (from Kathleen Raine’s excellent Golgonooza: City of Imagination – Last studies in William Blake)