When I was quite young, I found a stash of discarded photographic paper (from a printing studio next door probably) and, not quite knowing what it was, experimented by putting objects onto the sheets - leaves and coins etc - to create 'magical' instant art. Which was fun, but nowhere near as brilliant as this exhibition at the V&A sounds:
|Untitled, (Körperfotogramm), Kassel, 1967 by Floris Neusüss|
The essence of photography lies in its seemingly magical ability to fix shadows on light-sensitive surfaces. Normally, this requires a camera. Shadow Catchers, however, presents the work of five international contemporary artists - Floris Neusüss, Pierre Cordier, Susan Derges, Garry Fabian Miller and Adam Fuss - who work without a camera. Instead, they create images on photographic paper by casting shadows and manipulating light, or by chemically treating the surface of the paper.
Images made with a camera imply a documentary role. In contrast, camera-less photographs show what has never really existed. They are also always 'an original' because they are not made from a negative. Encountered as fragments, traces, signs, memories or dreams, they leave room for the imagination, transforming the world of objects into a world of visions.
|Butterfly Daguerreotype by Adam Fuss, from the series My Ghost (2001)|
I love that idea of fragments, traces, signs, memories or dreams - to be explored further in ghosting through...
Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography, V&A - 13 October 2010 - 20 February 2011