The essence of photography is the capture of light to create a visible image. A camera is, by design, a light capturing device but what if you don't use a camera to capture the light? For our exhibition, Illumination - Capturing Light Without a Camera, we feature two artists who make photographic prints with the cameraless alternative process know as a photogram. Each artist in this exhibition has a unique method to create their visual illuminations on photographic paper.
Jan Cook uses a process called “chromoskedasic painting” on her silver-gelatin photograms during the black and white development process by applying photo chemistry that manipulates the paper’s emulsion to scatter the silver particles. This allows Jan to work with several elements that are interesting to her, making marks on paper, altering a photographic image and integrating another medium into the surface of the print. Visually, she is interested in pushing the boundary between where the photographic image begins and ends. Such a hands-on effect gives her photograms a unique radiance that belies the black and white nature of the paper. The light bulbs in her series Bright Ideas seem to glow as if they were electrified. This process is not commonly used and it is a rare treat to see these kind of print in person.
Ross Sonnenberg has embraced a very physical photographic process that could be described as “controlled chaos” which reflects his on going chaotic battle with Lupus. The imagery of distant galaxies from the Hubble telescope inspired him to create a series of unique solar system photogram prints with a “big bang” of his own – fireworks. Ross exposes both chromogenic color paper and silver-gelatin black & white paper to the flashes of exploding fireworks crafting his other worldly visions of an alternate universe. He gives may of his prints a final celestial touch by using a hand-held magnifying glass and the Southern California sun to burn a radiant halo into them. With these one-of-a-kind photograms, Ross harnesses the power of light in a very unconventional and exciting way.