In 2006, I took my first black and white darkroom photography class.
At the time, I was double majoring in writing and studio art. I continued 19th century style processing throughout my undergraduate education at Florida State. I spent hours processing, troubleshooting and experimenting with the cyanotype, van dyke and silver gelatin methods. This surprises many, as my work went and remained documentary and digital since graduate school.
Today, Nine years later: photographers are able to make a substantial living off of their iPhone photos and instagram accounts. In 2012, I met photographer Ben Lowy at Snap! Orlando. The photos we exhibited from him were all taken from his iPhone. At the time, (which really isn't that long ago) this was a new, and refreshing thing. Now, there's a flood of artists doing this on Instagram (for example, the popular "follow me" instagram account, Murad Osmann)
I'm fascinated at how accessible photography has become. In the Victorian era, photography was something you had to be able to afford. Port-mortem photography was commonly used if a loved one had passed. Having a portrait taken was for the privileged.
We photograph everything today. I photograph my breakfast, I take selfies, I overshare photos of my pet rabbit. I find myself using my Nikon less and less. I've decided to take photography back to where it started.
In ten days, I'll be on scholarship to my first artist residency in Maine. I get to stay in a private cottage, there's a shared studio, and awesome food. There's going to be workshops, other artists/writers and most importantly - a clean slate for new inspiration. (If this sounds good to you, they're currently accepting 2016 applications!) My proposal is to use 19th century processes to create images referencing SnapChat and Instagram. I've been experimenting with printing and processing digital negatives at home. I plan to photograph the other artists' cottages, personal belongings and projects. I chose the Cyanotype method because much like SnapChat, the images will fade and disappear over time.
I'm looking forward to this residency and hope to greet you in my next post with a new body of work.