shadow catchers and the photogram
1 November 2010
and the photogram
" the question is, and this possible with photograms, how to get away from the purely documentary aspect and make a picture of the window about the window. "
- floris neususs
there is a rich and potent discourse occurring at the victoria and albert museum; the exhibition 'shadow catchers'. five mature photographers recount their inventive and often poetic manipulations of light and representation. through technique, timing, medium and subject this exhibition promises to overwhelm me.
a common appreciation of the 'photogram' knits between these five exhibiteurs. while this is interesting in itself, what i find particularly intriguing are the recurring subjects and metaphors of life ± death, internal ± external, thing ± thought, as if working with the photogram and the inherent processes involved predisposes a meta-subject, only found in a dark room.
below i have selected quotes from the interviews of [4 of] these artists, which might give a sense of each own's interests + relation to the exhibition
" an important aspect of my work was more conditioned by the medium itself: I carried the photogram out of the laboratory, that is out of the studio, and took it to the objects... I use this technique because I find it to be a medium that is suitable for purpose, and because, and this is the important thing, I am interested in what they used to do with this technique before my time. "
" a very important aspect of a photogram is this contact, how do I put it…a photogram is not a reproduced print, it is a contact picture. You sense that the object was originally in contact with the picture. "
" maybe the underlying desire to make images in the first place was to talk about what underlies the visible rather than to just show the visible "
" photography is kind of tied up with death in many respects in terms of you're looking at absent moments; they're no longer there. So it is quite a lot I think to do with loss as well as holding and showing "
" my interest in light and time is the accumulation of days... the meaning comes from an engagement with everyday and then making sense of all the days. so
mething happens which is incommunicable, and it can happen in a work of art or it can happen in a moment... and something occurs, a certain kind of light touches the landscape... and something else seems to be in the room with you, and you feel it.
" in recent work I'm bringing two colours together, and where two colours meet they make a third colour and also a kind of floating transitory space and that kind of edge, that is a kind of place of disappearing or emerging. really what my work is about is to try and create a thinking space, but also a kind of place one can slide into, and disappear into and perhaps not come back from. "
" the way I discovered the photogram was through accidentally finding within the pinhole camera process that it would be possible to make pictures without needing the outside world as a subject. a photogram, which has much less information, has much more intimacy and feeling than a normal photograph. "
" metaphorically I stepped into the camera... bringing images, manifesting images, that bringing out and externalising has been therapeutic for me... you don't create, you die. "
Labels: exhibition, history, london, photography, shadow