I wanted to create original work, something what can not be reproduced, as Walter Benjamin explains in ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical photography’, that when art is re-produced mechanically, then the Aura of the work is lost. Paintings are a good example of this, when you go to a gallery you want to see the original piece when you can always view the art work on your phone or in a book as many times as you want, but there is a power, an Aura that is bound to the original. But current cultural values dishonour and devalue art and especially photography with the desire to fill our lives with images and representations of real things. "In photography, display value starts to drive cultic (tradition) value back along the whole line. However, cultic value does not give ground without resistance. It occupies one last ditch, and that is the human face. It is no accident, not at all, that in the Cult, of recalling absent or dead loved ones, the cultic value finds in its last refuge. In the transient expression of a human countenance in early photogrpahs, we catch one final glimpse of Aura." So being inspired by a local artist and art theory I wanted to create a photographic project using modern day film materials (FujiFilm Instant) and combine painting with the work. Picking up on unsustainable processes that are used by many amateur photographers; Chemically a very toxic process. I produced this work on Fuji Instant which retains more than one root practise of mine, photography and painting. The work questions/ entertains thoughts of feelings, reality, time, space, colour, form and identity. The originals are negative palm sized images to which I will explain the journey.
I created these FujiFilm Instax instants, In early 2018, I was trying to think of a way to combine painting and photography at the time. Thinking of using glass plates and liquid light and various ways to capture portraits, through speaking to tutors and researching into the art works of Peter Beard, Ellen Carey, Mike Ware and many more, I became fascinated of how they used such simple tools to capture these amazing polaroids and cyanotypes etc. I realised a more contemporary way that is quite available and something I have not seen much work on. I have created a body of work that shows the journey of my ideas, starting with the pure curiosity of wanting to find my own way to figuring out how to get an original piece of work. The process combines the two perfectly, capturing an image on film before its processed uniquely, each one with tools and my decisions. So i'm painting with light and also painting with developer using tools. Seeing these images come out in the moment clicked with me one day that maybe i'm already doing it. The fact these physical film creations are what they are, showing the journey of getting to the end of an idea and envisioning it all. something that can not be re produced again makes them original to me. Starting with patterns that recur throughout nature everywhere, fractals; the patterns Hiroshi Sugimoto captured using electricity, water and film to make a statement on his discovery on how the first resemblance of life came about on the earth. These first images create a scene; an organic one, something that changes and adapts to the world around it, reaching into the empty space ahead and cutting through space and time. As you see in the first 6 images that they are all objects and shapes and colour and subjective representations, which just happens to question space, time, colour and form. This shows the birth of photography only as I would know it. As we move through I start taking self portraits; a realisation of these outcomes, I wanted to place myself in the scene, I figured out how to create frames and to put myself in them or in the open space or inside colour or an object, I figured it out after around 10 double packs of them. I made them as simple or as complex as I wanted from one exposure to six; layering them up and developing each one as I wished, some images I would spend half an hour setting up and envisioning - 10 minutes shooting it and a minute to paint. To me this combination I have found and figured out myself with a bit of time and space to breath shows me how to come about an original idea; for it it was to go against the rules of the whole process.
The polaroid was seen as an object to be discarded of, a dud image before the 'real photography happens', to me this original image of the moment of figuring out the scene and how to light the subject; that can not be replicated is just as important if not more important to the photographer. The information that was received allowed and gave the photographer trust for the whole shoot. The whole realisation is contained in those moments. 'But i'll know my song well before I start singing"- Bob Dylan. The images are in chronological order of creation in negative first and then positive.
A book is underway.