Gelatin Silver Prints in Ambient Light
1988 - present
Gelatin silver prints in ambient light are produced with the inherently chaotic nature of light, a brut and rudimentary exploration of picture-less photography embracing, not avoiding, elements of chance and surprise. The images involve no optics, no camera, no darkroom, working only with the primary elements of photography: silver gelatin paper, chemicals, light. The paper is exposed, over hours or days, directly to ambient indoor/outdoor light and chemistry is applied by pouring, dripping, patting, splattering, splashing, brushing. Materials and gestures that are distinct and sequential in conventional photography here confront each other all at once and over and over. Treated this way, the silver develops not in black and white but in a multitude of colors. The resulting image is the very object exposed to light, without intermediary, like Daguerreotypes and other photographic processes that engender neither negative nor copy. The one-of-a-kind results are a mixture of my control and the force of natural elements: part prediction and part discovery. It is material photography, as in materialism, the doctrine that the only or fundamental reality is physical matter and that all beings, processes, and phenomena are manifestations of matter.
Images from this series have been exhibited at Galerie Lambert (Paris), the Kathleen Ewing Gallery (DC), School 33 Art Center (Baltimore), et al. The Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris) purchased eight of these images between 1992 and 1996.