Sunday, June 6, 2010

First damaged photos


I trawl the internet, searching for photos that show the streets of Lucerne, buildings in Lucerne, people in Lucerne. The choice is as much determined by accident as the process of converting them to prints. The images can be standard tourist shots of people posing in front of monuments and ancient edifices, or shots of buses taken by automobile fanatics, or random pictures taken by people during street fairs.


I print out tiny copies of these photos, and then enlarge them again and again on a xerox machine, often by as much as 1000%. I stop when the graininess threatens to dissolve the entire image -- when the 'damage' to the photo is so great that it almost destroys it. What I am left with is always a detail that is different from the original.

I then soak the xerox in a mixture of gum arabic and water, and roll the xerox with a mixture of etching ink and setswell compound. The ink sticks to the toner, but not the white areas. I print these inked xeroxes onto paper, like so:


Or onto wood panels, like so:


The print on wood panel also has some oil pastel added to it. I will proceed with this method until I have created dozens of these prints. At some point I will start to think of text to add to them. The personal narrative is not clear yet. It is contained somewhere in the casual detail, the unfeigned expression, the shy glance, and the brooding presences of the ancient structures. I will keep working until I hear that narrative and can express it somehow.

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