Where the Light Goes started as an homage to the Japanese tradition of folding 1,000 cranes to heal a loved one, but soon became a way to discover how light interacts with a three-dimensional photosensitive object. For some time I’ve been folding silver gelatin photo paper into three-dimensional forms and exposing these forms under light and then unfolding and processing them as flat prints. The unfolded prints record this indexical act of the path of light, reflecting and refracting, revealing the imperfections of my handiwork. Many of the prints in the Carnegie exhibition are enlarged cropped portions of the freeform folds I made in the darkroom.
The closet in the room contains origami cranes folded from unprocessed, silver gelatin photo paper. The closet becomes an exposure unit that is activated by the viewer when they open the closet door. The viewer becomes an active participant in the work. The catch is that their action is not readily apparent and can only be seen through repeated visits as the exposure process is inherently slow. This isn’t to say that the onetime viewer receives no pleasure, but time spent with the work is rewarded by repeated visits.
The commissioned piece for the Carnegie is an enlargement, approx. 50”x60”, of a small 8”x10” cyanotype. This piece was created with the idea of folding and exposing a piece of coated paper to replicate the experience of a three-dimensional space. My cyanotype work is similar to my folded silver gelatin work but differs in that I expose this work in the sun for minutes rather than seconds. Something I’ve been exploring with my cyanotype work is to create what look like photographic records of 3- dimensional solids such as cubes and pyramids which are in fact created solely through folding and selective exposure to the sun. Through this work I find myself interrogating, somewhat playfully, the nature of the photographic image, a vein that runs through much of my work.
The fundamental tendency of light to diffract around the edge of a surface is what makes these prints possible. It is something I explore with the freeform folding and bending of paper. Causing light to move through and around photosensitive material, I allow the medium to perform two roles as disrupter and recorder of light. In all these works of diffraction and folding there is an element of psychology as well, insofar as the resulting images assume an almost Rorschach aspect. What is it in the simple study of light, shadow and line that allows space for contemplation?