Process 1

 

Using landscape water and elements into the photographic process.
Sites include an Victorican arsenic mine in Cornwall, An granite quarry in Dartmoor Devon, and the Berlin Wall



Calstock - Arsenic Mine

The genesis of my arts practice can be traced back to a conundrum I faced whilst sitting on the banks of the River Tamar just at the boundaries of a Victorian copper, tin and arsenic mining complex called Okeltor Consol. Nestled between the flowing grey blue river and the luscious greens of the trees of Harewood Hill, stood the relics of the Victorian mine including open shafts and chimneys that pierced the tree canopy. As I navigated a small path that intertwined through these visible signs of past British Industry, I encountered notices which read “Warning, No Entry, Arsenic Contamination”, and eventually arrived at an area that was incongruous with the surroundings: bright red pools of water, enriched with copper and arsenic waste, pierced by the once vibrant greens of the foliage of the trees, shrubs and other plant life which now had brown exposed trunks and branches jutting out with barely a leaf in sight. The reddish hue of the copper arsenic solution left residues as tidemarks near the base of the trunks. I wanted to capture this landscape within my camera, but had only black and white film to hand. This was my conundrum; how exactly could I capture this complex and durational landscape.

My second approach was to attempt to capture the reddish hue of the copper arsenic within the black and white film.  My thinking at the time, was that the use of the red copper arsenic water within the developing process would dye the gelatine layer of the film, thereby capturing the exact colour that was present within the landscape.




What i realised that I had started to create changes in the dynamics of my own personal comprehension of the photographic discourse, for it, perhaps, to become a contribution to that large construct of the Expanded Field of Photography. Although at the time, in my naïvety, I dubbed it a bastardisation, breaking the preexisting rules of photography.  Through further practical and theoretical understanding, I discovered that I was breaking down the thresholds of my own experiences and understandings of photography, thus allowing for the de-centring of my own Perception and the collaboration of the nonhuman landscape’s agency within the film. It was what Deleuze and Guattari call filiation, an arboreal or tree-like system that breaks apart or ‘deterritorializes’ differential skills and methods in order to legitimise them or root them as ways of becoming and forces of production (Deleuze and Guattari, 2008).




Merryvale - Garnite Quarry

i continued this process to another location, Merryvale was where i spent most of my third year of my degree, collecting water samples and taking images of the quarry at different times of the year. the water collected was from the basen of the qaurry. i devopled a film process method where i could process films in the qaurries basen in location, without leaking the additional photogrpahic chemicals into the landscape. during this time i also transitioned to large format cameras and film to capture the landscape.


The Berlin Wall - Germany

I also experimented with this method of processing at different locations. on this occasion i photographed the Berlin wall, it was during winter, and therefore i collected sbow that had fallen on the wall as my fluid mixure to add to the photographic developer. as per chance of the snow melting in the photographic tank, only half of the film got developed, casuing wall like imagery in the film, minicing the wall itself.