Under Strain


Wet Plate Collodion, Photographic Sculptures responding to a range of research done at the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute (HEMI), and Johns Hopkins University. These images are based on drawings made in my sketchbooks during meetings throughout the residency, often pulling from charts and analogies made by the researchers and students.

Photography has always had a deep connection with science. From its complex chemical nascence to the continual role as observer and recorder, the medium has continued to evolved often due to the needs of scientific imaging over nearly two-hundred years. In order to come to terms with this complex history and as a means to share a unique and rare facet of my medium with HEMI, I decided to examine their ideas using the Wet-Plate Collodion technique. Wet Plate Collodion is a historic process of image making. Invented by Frederick Scott Archer, it was introduced in the 1850s and by the end of that decade it had almost entirely replaced the first practical photographic process, the daguerreotype. It is a wet, instant process, so the darkroom needs to be nearby to complete the coating, exposure and process all within about ten minutes. If you are picturing a horse drawn darkroom from the Civil War, you are on the exact right track. I took this process and designed a way to mix silhouettes of HEMI members, photographs from labs and drawings inspired from meeting notes in my sketchbook, in order to build works that curiously reflect the research I observed this year. The unique sculptural framing brings the imagery into three dimensions, much in the way that HEMI always needs to consider their materials in a physical form.

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