still starting from scratch?: i decided to continue my pinhole camera work, this time heading to the sand dunes of sandymount. while these images are dark and somewhat vague (overexposure – 40 seconds too long) there is something that really draws me into the image because the subtle traces of elements in the landscape need to be worked out and translated into something recognisable. i am reminded of something Deleuze said about needing to draw on subjective resources to complete images in your mind (1986, in Marks, 2000). technically, i am beginning to get a better sense of what works best in pinhole camera work – choosing areas of stark contrast between dark and light, reducing the exposure time. i also read somewhere that the width of the paper should decide the distance of the paper to the aperture which is the next thing i will change and then wait for another bright sunny day to come along. the high gloss paper i have been using also has technical issues in that it is impossible to take an image of it without shiny reflection (something i guess i could work with on some level), so i feel these images do not show the subtly of the images and the ghostly apparitions or traces of the landscape as they seem to emerge from the darkness. one of my photos has a subtle line between two different blacks which i figure is where i pointed the camera towards the horizon of sea and sky.
towards the sea
reflection: one of the things that i like about these images is their subtilty and the quality of their dark tones. there certainly is a wet materiality to the images that seem to correspond with the landscape – moist sand and sea spray in the air. in reading the image, you really have to search the image for something to recognise – translating any sign of light into something recognisable. these images also capture something about the landscapes movement because the exposure time is far beyond any snap shot single moment. because it was windy, i held the pinhole camera down low against my legs to minimise its shaking and so this way of making resonates with my thinking on the embodied practice of camera work (no lens in pinhole camera) – a point of contact beween body and landscape. there is so much resonating with gender also in this type of image making process – the taking (male) versus making (female) comes closer together when the film is side-stepped yet the making is a slow and manual process rather than a snap shot and the making leaves little opportunity to manipulate as it develops straight onto the paper it was captured on. this process is about as analogue a process as you can get and ignores any digital intervention. the framing of the landscape through this process also raises questions about the image’s parameters – the landscape can only be framed vaguely using a pinhole camera and you have no idea where the edges will fall exactly ….. because of all the things this process seems to touch on in terms of landscape, its framing, the gendered gaze and the gendering of image making processes, i feel this process is something i will return to. i will need to equip myself with better darkroom facilities as at the moment i am blacking out my utility room because it has the smallest window and can only develop the image at night because it is not fully light safe. there are darkroom facilities i can go to and rent time (the darkroom in smithfield and the dublin photography club – both of which i have used in the past). like screen printing facilities, i think it is important set up as much as i can on my own as this lends itself to better experimentation. this equiping might be something to work towards and mention in my PPP. having read a paper on the gendering of lens-based processes in relation to the work of Sally Mann (Riches, 2014) i have been looking into collodion photo-printing processes and have signed up to a weekend course (was cancelled due to covid). i am hoping to tease out some questions about the gendering of wet processes through this process and see how it might relate to my landscape image making.
Marks, L. U. (2000) The Skin of Film, Interculturalism, Embodiment and the Senses. Durham: Duke University Press.
Riches, H. (2014) Picture Taking and Picture Making – Gender Difference and the Historiography of Photography. At: https://www.academia.edu/14263288/_Picture_Taking_and_Picture_Making_Gender_Differe nce_and_the_Historiography_of_Photography (Accessed 04.01.20).
Rosenblum, N. (2010) A History of Women Photographers, 3rd Edition. New York: Abbeville Press.
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