Mia/Project proposal

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Project proposal DRAFT 1 (12.9. 2019)

[Steve note: Maybe emphasise a) making the camera and b) using the darkroom like a camera. The outcome of this process will be a series of photos that approach the question: ('why do I make marks' leave traces/make an index? OR how do I build a practice between photography and mark making? OR...) In this way you can relax in the process and not obsess on the outcome.]

1. What do you want to make? And how?

  • I wish to continue with the practice between photography and gestural mark making (including both 'Trace' and 'Drawing Camera')
  • concretely: I propose to make a photographic series (pictures that merge photographs and drawings), possibly an installation
  • to continue 'Trace' – photographic series, a typology (of marks of use, deliberate or accidental traces in public space). HOW: By making more books and explore other means of presentation (wallpaper, flooring etc.)
  • to further develop the 'Drawing Camera'. HOW: By making another camera (to explore possibilities of movement integrated in the pictures); taking more pictures; trying out different means of materialisation of the photographs (on support such as textile, plexiglass, paper etc.)
  • Photograms and camera-less pictures. HOW: Create in the darkroom.


3. What is your timetable?

  • September&October: printing, materialising the pictures I made in the past trimester
  • October&November: 2 exhibitions (to try out a couple of ideas, as prototypes)
  • October: making another camera
  • December: darkroom experimentation
  • Then … I don’t know yet


4. Why do you want to make it?

With my recent practice, I explore mark-making between photography and drawing because it seems to me that there are fundamental similarities between the marks we leave in general. I believe this kind of traces are something we all have in common. They are in fact predecessors of (visual and verbal) language and belong to the very human nature which fascinates me. I am attracted to the fundamentals of both means of image-making, photographic and gestual and I think they are tightly related. In fact, in the early stages of photography (which is a much younger medium than drawing and painting), similarities between them were much more obvious and visible. On the one hand, photographers were trained with a painter's eye and on the other, painters would adopt photographic understanding of flattened space. The relation was thus reciprocal, sharing principles in composition, methodology, colour, understanding of space etc. With the development of (digital) photography, the latter seems to differ from hand-made gestual image-making and I wish to bring attention to the principles they still share.


5. Who can help you and how?

  • Tutors: analyzing, bringing another view on what the work means
  • Fellow students: same
  • Sonia as an experienced photographer, also interested in formal and inherent qualities of the photographic medium: by sharing the research (group readings), *practical experiences and skills (help with printing in the darkroom)
  • Mathijs (guest teacher for DIY camera workshop): building another camera
  • Teachers of the photography workshop (Menno and Jeroen): practical and technical matters (actual printing, building the camera etc.)


6. Relation to previous practice

  • Previous practice based in drawing, painting, printmaking
  • Current practice means bridging these with photography
  • All share the basic concepts such as: a mark, an image, an index, a print, a gesture, surface and layering


7. Relation to a larger context

  • History of photography (early-photographic processes)
  • Theories of drawing (drawing in a broad sense)
  • Theory of the photographic medium (V. Flusser, S. Sontag, M. Jay)
  • Related practices: http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Mia/References
  • e.g.: Claude Blo Ricci, Tacita Dean, Pierre Cordier, Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer, Juliana Borinski, Peter Rauch…

8. References

  • TBD

Project proposal DRAFT 2 (8.10. 2019)

1. & 2. what do you want to make and how?

I wish to continue with my practice between photography and gestural mark making by further development of 'Trace' and 'Drawing Camera', projects that I came up with last year and would like to build from in the following months.

I propose to make a photographic series consisting of pictures that merge photographic and drawing principles. Currently, I regard the series (which has its first elements already from the past year) as a starting point rather than the end result. The final form the practice could take for the graduation show is not limited to the pictures hanging on the walls, but could be an object, a spatial installation, or a moving image piece.

On the one hand, I am continuing with 'Trace', which began as a photobook, a collection of marks of use, deliberate or accidental traces in public space. It is a photographic series, exploring drawing or painterly fragments (both intentional and accidental) in my everyday environment. I wish to enrich this typology of traces by taking more pictures, analysing and grouping them and finally to experiment with different means of presentation. As photobook turned out quite interesting, I am planning to make more, possibly inversed in colour (black book placed on white chalk powder). I also wish to try out the form of the flooring, where people could walk over the photographs and inevitably leave actual traces. Thinking about the flooring led me to try it out with the wallpaper, which is (was) on show in a gallery Hiša culture v Pivki (Slovenia). See my wiki on that here

→ PROTOTYPE

When designing the wallpaper, I decided for a blow-up of my 35 mm analogue photographs to the size of 90x57 cm. What I like about this magnification is that fragments of reality that usually remain unnoticed, acquired the status of important images and are thus asking for viewer’s attention and analysis. Secondly, the gesture means a transfer from public (urban) environment to the interior (closed) gallery space, which was, in this case in a rather rural region of Slovenia. However, in the exhibition I realised I should pay more attention to the kind of print I make (quality, contrast etc.) and that I need to use the material strong enough to be glued with wallpaper glue, as I want the photographs to really become a part of the exhibition wall (which was not the case as they were wall-mounted on several spots instead of all over the surface).

R31.jpeg

On the other hand, I am exploring the relation between photographic and hand-made gesture through my hand-made Drawing Camera. Basic principle of the camera is merging the photograph with a hand-made drawing, which is made possible by the plastic foil, carrying the gestural marks, inserted in the camera body. Then the picture is taken, resulting in a layering or a ‘collage’, made in the machine itself and not afterwards in the darkroom or post-production. In the past year, I produced a few dozens of such pictures and next step is to print them and give them some physical body and support.

→ PROTOTYPE

While thinking about the material to embody the images, I got fascinated by large scale prints on fabric and paper that I saw in Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art at the exhibition of Rosella Biscotti. I could imagine my pictures to be printed on translucent fabric or semi-transparent paper (such as washi or tracing paper). Mainly because transparencies are already inherent in these pictures (plastic foil, shots through the glass etc.), I wanted to pronounce (or tautologically repeat) this layering with the material they are printed on. I ordered five prints on 115g polyester (commercially used for flags), as it is slightly seen through and the prints are almost equally visible from both sides. For the exhibition in Pivka, I decided to make a corridor connecting two entries of the room, in a way that images overlap, and the viewer has an inkling of the images behind the front one. I found this spatial arrangement beneficial, as the visitors had to actively observe the work by moving around and through it, discovering it layer by layer.

The next step in this exploration is different materialisations of existing images. I wish to try out a few more supports and printing techniques (both digital and analogue) to be able to compare and think about the connotations they carry. I am interested in textiles, papers and plexiglass to name a few. I am also planning to take more pictures while being more precise on the subject (whether it is something concrete that deals with marks, an index as a proof of a specific incident, a landscape, or whether the medium itself is a subject, which results in rather abstract pictures I have made so far). I am considering participating in the EYE project and turn my pictures into a moving image piece (but the idea is still too vague to describe). As an addition to the above described path, I would like to experiment in the darkroom with making some photograms and camera-less photography which I understand as a direct link between photographic and gestural image-making.

3. what is your timetable?

  • September&October: printing, materialising the pictures I made in the past trimester
  • October&November: 2 exhibitions (Pivka and Kranj - to try out a couple of ideas, as prototypes)
  • November: making another photobook
  • until December: darkroom experimentation
  • December and January: EYE project (moving image)
  • Then … I don’t know yet

4. why do you want to make it?

With my recent practice, I explore mark-making between photography and drawing because it seems to me that there are fundamental similarities between the marks we leave in general. I believe this kind of traces are something we all have in common. They are in fact predecessors of (visual and verbal) language and belong to the very human nature which fascinates me. I am attracted to the fundamentals of both means of image-making, photographic and gestual and I think they are tightly related. In fact, in the early stages of photography (which is a much younger medium than drawing and painting), similarities between them were much more obvious and visible. On the one hand, photographers were trained with a painter's eye and on the other, painters would adopt photographic understanding of flattened space. The relation was thus reciprocal, sharing principles in composition, methodology, colour, understanding of space etc. With the development of (digital) photography, the latter seems to differ from hand-made gestual image-making and I wish to bring attention to the principles they still share.

5. Who can help you and how?

  • Tutors: analyzing, bringing another view on what the work means
  • Fellow students: same
  • Sonia as an experienced photographer, also interested in formal and inherent qualities of the photographic medium: by sharing the research (group readings), *practical experiences and skills (help with printing in the darkroom)
  • Mathijs (guest teacher for DIY camera workshop): building another camera
  • Teachers of the photography workshop (Menno and Jeroen): practical and technical matters (actual printing, building the camera etc.)

6. Relation to previous practice

My background is strongly rooted in drawing, painting and printmaking, and I actually do not have much experience in photography. I was mainly interested in the formal ascpects of the medium in combination with appropriated or recycled imagery, resulting in collage or mixed-media works with abstraction as an important mechanism. But since I feel that especially analogue photography is in many ways similar or shares some principles with hand image-making, I regard it as a natural continuation of my practice. Of course by saying photography I am mostly focused on analogue or even early photographic processes. My exploration of these is centered around the same fundamental concepts as my previous practice - what is a mark, an index, a print, what is a gesture, surface and layering. This results in the formal characteristics of the recent works being similar to the older ones - mainly abstract imagery with gesture, texture and surface being very pronounced.

7. relation to the larger context

  • History of photography (early-photographic processes)
  • Theories of drawing (drawing in a broad sense)
  • Theory of the photographic medium (V. Flusser, S. Sontag, M. Jay)
  • Related practices: http://pzwiki.wdka.nl/mediadesign/Mia/References
  • e.g.: Claude Blo Ricci, Tacita Dean, Pierre Cordier, Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer, Juliana Borinski, Peter Rauch…

8. references TBD

Project proposal DRAFT 3 (23.10. 2019)

I wish to explore in depth the practice between photography and gestural mark making by further development of 'Trace' and 'Drawing Camera', projects that I set up last year and would like to build from in the following months.

I notice that in my recent practice, the element of gesture is what reveals to me the bridge between drawing and photography. I understand the gesture as a recording of a hand (or material itself) in movement and as such a constitutive element of drawing. Philip Rawson beautifully describes that the essential feature of drawing “'remains that something /…/ has made a mark that records a two-dimensional movement in space'”. This very mark interests me in drawing as well as in photography.

I first embodied this interest in the photo-books 'Trace 1' and 'Trace 2'. The basis for it is an ongoing photographic series, in which I capture marks of use, scratches and strokes in my surroundings. I transformed myself into a hair-splitting observer, looking through the analogue camera on a hunt for marginal marks of use. Instead of actively leaving traces as a painter, I became alert to be able to run into interesting, painterly fragments. As mentioned, the series is continuous, meaning that I am still taking more pictures for this typology. In the following months, I expect to enrich the repertoire and make a few different selections to produce 'Trace 3' and 'Trace 4'. I envisage the selection for each next book to fall under a certain category, based either on the formal aspects of the photographs or the types of marks captured (e.g. dark marks on light background and vice versa, textured or smooth surfaces, accidental vs. deliberate marks etc.). I want to experiment with the colour-inversion of the books I am to make (black book placed on white chalk dust) and with other means of presentation the series could take (e.g. wallpaper or even flooring that people could walk over leaving footprints etc.). I regard this series as an ongoing process or a parallel project, simple/spontaneous enough to serve as a sketchbook or diary of my fascinations.

[<Steve observes: the relation to print making is explicit here, to leave a trace is to imprint. Perhaps this should be acknowledged]

See prototype wallpaper here

On the other hand, I explore gesture through the hand-made 'Drawing Camera' I designed last year, and now that I know how to operate it, I am going to explore the possibilities it offers as a tool further . Rather than striving for particular imagery, I am currently more interested in the process itself. By process I mean making the camera, handling and modifying it and lastly using the darkroom as a camera. The camera-building process proved to be very open-ended and stands as an answer to the mass-production of image-making equipment which is - especially in photography - becoming increasingly complicated and non-transparent.

The next stage was modifying the ‘slides’ – compositions, drawn onto the plastic foil which I slide in the camera-body to take a picture. As stated before, the gesture does not only indicate the recording of a moving hand but also of the substance itself. From using the pens to make mostly linear drawings, I then shifted towards tone and texture-based marks made with acrylic paint and ink, using different implements as well as my fingers to draw, stamp, or scratch out the form. Stamping, pressing or dripping the paint makes gestures that record the movement of the substance itself rather then follow a moving point. This physicality of the material is something I am to explore further, as I see a possibility of literally stamping parts from my surroundings to create new slides and thus new directions the pictures could take. I want to experiment with stamping dust, dirt or other marks on a piece of tape that I can apply to the plastic and insert in the camera. This way, I come back to the idea of an index, so very present in the Trace series.

Whilst working with the 'Drawing Camera', I rely on intuition and creation is a very spontaneous process. With the collection growing, I then retrospectively analyse and group the images based on the analogies in relation to form and subject. Thus, I have recently printed two clusters of 'Drawing Camera' pictures, one outlined as landscape and the other as abstract series. Selection is an essential aspect of the process which I wish to lead more meticulously. As I end up with many pictures, I set myself the criteria to categorise the outcomes. In abstract series, for instance, I considered texture, contrast in form and tone, layering and degree to which the photographic projection merges with the reality of substance present in the drawing. The more graphic the photograph, the more I found it fascinating (hence the choice of black-and white film). On the other hand, while selecting for Landscape series, I was mainly looking for analogies (or contrasts) between the facets of nature (e.g. tree bark, water, treetops) and marks I made with acrylic paint (e.g. amorph shapes, branched patterns, rock-resembling form). Generally, I could say that the harder it is to distinguish both layers, the more convincing I find the picture. That is what I mean by ‘exploring the gesture as the bridge between photography and drawing’ and this is what I propose to dig into in the following months.

[Steve comment: this is a very clear description of process, outlining the choices you make and the methods involved in making those choices] 

Concretely, the next step is the materialisation of existing images. I wish to try out different supports such as textiles, papers and plexiglass, and printing techniques (both digital and analogue) to be able to compare and think about the connotations the materials carry. I am considering participating in the EYE project and turn my pictures into a moving image piece (but the idea is still too vague to delineate).

See prototype prints on fabric here

As mentioned, I consider printing in the darkroom a way of working in the camera. The negative serves as a starting point, a new motif which can be cropped, darkened, masked, resized. In a way, I am making a new picture out an existing one and I feel this is finally the moment of bringing it into existence. Just recently I printed the above-mentioned 'Landscape' and 'Abstractaparat' series. I printed on fibre-based paper I have never used before, but surprisingly, the experience proved to be very much familiar. Soaking the exposed paper in the chemical solution, agitating, rinsing, pressing it in-between blotting papers and finally drying the prints felt exactly like etching process I used to engage in. The feel of wet prints and observing tone-changes as they dry reminded me so much of printmaking that I immediately understood how printmaking is in fact a bridge between photography and its predecessor drawing (a fact which was also pointed out in the last assessment). As I enjoyed darkroom printing very much and see a direct relation to the conceptual questions I have with my work, I find it a crucial step in my future 'Drawing Camera' practice. I wish to expand it into the territory of photogram and chemigram which provide much space for exploration of gesture.

[Steve comments: again, your reasoning is very clear...]

See prototype fibre-based prints here

Mostly, I wish to focus on the creative processes that address the question of how I can develop the practice which merges photographic and drawing principles. The process is open-ended and will probably result in a photographic (or partly-photographic) series which is not limited to the pictures hanging on the walls, but could be an object, a spatial installation, or a moving image piece.

My background is strongly rooted in drawing, painting and printmaking, where I was mainly interested in the formal aspects of the medium in combination with appropriated or recycled imagery, resulting in collage or mixed-media works with abstraction as an important mechanism. I did not have much experience in photography, however, since I feel that especially analogue photography is in many ways similar or shares some principles with hand image-making, I regard it as a natural continuation of my practice. By photography I am mostly focused on analogue or even early photographic processes. My exploration of these is centred around the same fundamental concepts as my previous practice - what is a mark, an index, a print, what is a gesture, surface and layering - which results in the formal similarities between recent and previous works.

In terms of practice I see the relation with camera-less photography of for example Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer, who is using the darkroom as a camera to ‘paint’ with light directly on paper and her work often takes a form of a landscape. Furthermore, I was inspired by Pierre Cordier, who developed the form of chemigram – a picture produced without the camera, only by using developer, fixer and other photographic chemicals. Among artists who explore the characteristics of the photographic medium are also Juliana Borinski and Tacita Dean, with whom I feel related in the aspect of collecting (in my case traces, in her case for instance postcards, old photographs etc.). Thinking about the photobook 'Trace', I came across few examples that share basic principle of the work – one by the artist called Claude BLO Ricci, who made a publication Pictures Born in Chaos, a collection of ever-changing surfaces of his direct surroundings. Another example is a zine by Czar Kristoff: New Refuge who collected, enlarged and bound together the scribbles customers make in stationary stores when testing pens… I created a wiki page for further reading on the artistic practices that influence my work here.

Furthermore, reading about theory of photography and drawing serves me as inspiration and provides me with conceptual support. I am interested in the discourse about painting’s relation to photography, as for instance described by Martin Jay and Susan Sontag. As I am questioning the borders of the medium, I found Rosalind Krauss’ text A Voyage on the North Sea very relevant as well, while reading Duchamp’s vivid description of creative process in The Creative Act resonated with my own approach to making. Currently I am digging in the theory of drawing, especially in its fundaments as for instance discussed by Philip Rawson’s book Drawing and I will continue with Deanna Petherbridge’s The Primacy of Drawing.

I explore mark-making between photography and drawing because it seems to me that there are fundamental similarities between the marks we leave in general. I believe this kind of traces are something we all have in common. They are in fact predecessors of (visual and verbal) language and belong to the very human nature which fascinates me. I am attracted to the fundamentals of both means of image-making, photographic and gestural and I think they are tightly related. In fact, in the early stages of photography (which is a much younger medium than drawing and painting), similarities between them were much more obvious and visible. On the one hand, photographers were trained with a painter's eye and on the other, painters would adopt photographic understanding of flattened space. The relation was thus reciprocal, sharing principles in composition, methodology, colour, understanding of space etc. With the development of (digital) photography, the latter seems to differ from hand-made gestural image-making, and I wish to bring attention to the principles they still share (I explore these issues in greater depth in my thesis).

[Steve suggests: I made a few minor edits. On the whole this is a very strong proposal, it is obvious that your practice is thriving and you are working on a very high level. The issue which is under theorised, so far, is that of printmaking - and its relation to trace, photography and drawing. I think you can simply acknowledge that this is something you need to work on further and think about as you progress. The way you weave your analysis of your own practice with broader theoretical and contextual concerns is becoming increasingly expert. Good work.] 

Planning – timetable and support:

  • October&November: 2 exhibitions (Pivka and Kranj - to try out a couple of ideas, as prototypes)
  • November: making another photobook
  • until end December: darkroom experimentation
  • December and January: EYE project (moving image)
  • Then … where the practice leads me

Tutors and peers help me to meet the plan with analysing my works and bringing another view on what it means. I asked Sonia, Bojan and photography teachers in the station (Meno and Jeroen) for practical matters of actual printing, working with fibre-based paper etc. Sonia is an experienced photographer, also interested in formal and inherent qualities of the photographic medium and I find discussions with her most fruitful as we share our references, readings and experiences.

References:

1. Duchamp, M (1961) The Creative Act, Lecture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

2. Flusser, V (1983) Towards a Philosophy of Photography, London Reaktion Books

3. Jay, M (1989) ‘Photography and the Mirror of Art’ in Salmagundi No. 84, (pp. 14-23)

4. Krauss, R (1992) The Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition, New York Thames and Hudson Inc.

5. Rawson, P (1987) Drawing, Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press; first edition published in 1969 by Oxford University Press

6. Sontag, S (2005) On Photography, New York RosettaBooks LLC (electronic edition); first edition published in 1973

Project proposal FINAL TEXT (10. 11. 2019)

I wish to explore in depth the practice between photography and gestural mark making by further development of 'Trace' and 'Drawing Camera', projects that I set up last year and would like to build from in the following months.

I notice that in my recent practice, the element of gesture is what reveals to me the bridge between drawing and photography. I understand the gesture as a recording of a hand (or material itself) in movement and as such a constitutive element of drawing. Philip Rawson beautifully describes that the essential feature of drawing “'remains that something /…/ has made a mark that records a two-dimensional movement in space'”. This very mark interests me in drawing as well as in photography.

I first embodied this interest in the photo-books 'Trace 1' and 'Trace 2'. The basis for it is an ongoing photographic series, in which I capture marks of use, scratches and strokes in my surroundings. I transformed myself into a hair-splitting observer, looking through the analogue camera on a hunt for marginal marks of use. Instead of actively leaving traces as a painter, I became alert to be able to run into interesting, painterly fragments. As mentioned, the series is continuous, meaning that I am still taking more pictures for this typology. In the following months, I expect to enrich the repertoire and make a few different selections to produce 'Trace 3' and 'Trace 4'. I envisage the selection for each next book to fall under a certain category, based either on the formal aspects of the photographs or the types of marks captured (e.g. dark marks on light background and vice versa, textured or smooth surfaces, accidental vs. deliberate marks etc.). I want to experiment with the colour-inversion of the books I am to make (black book placed on white chalk dust) and with other means of presentation the series could take (e.g. wallpaper or even flooring that people could walk over leaving footprints etc.). I regard this series as an ongoing process or a parallel project, simple/spontaneous enough to serve as a sketchbook or diary of my fascinations.

See prototype wallpaper here

On the other hand, I explore gesture through the hand-made 'Drawing Camera' I designed last year, and now that I know how to operate it, I am going to explore the possibilities it offers as a tool further . Rather than striving for particular imagery, I am currently more interested in the process itself. By process I mean making the camera, handling and modifying it and lastly using the darkroom as a camera. The camera-building process proved to be very open-ended and stands as an answer to the mass-production of image-making equipment which is - especially in photography - becoming increasingly complicated and non-transparent.

The next stage was modifying the ‘slides’ – compositions, drawn onto the plastic foil which I slide in the camera-body to take a picture. As stated before, the gesture does not only indicate the recording of a moving hand but also of the substance itself. From using the pens to make mostly linear drawings, I then shifted towards tone and texture-based marks made with acrylic paint and ink, using different implements as well as my fingers to draw, stamp, or scratch out the form. Stamping, pressing or dripping the paint makes gestures that record the movement of the substance itself rather then follow a moving point. This physicality of the material is something I am to explore further, as I see a possibility of literally stamping parts from my surroundings to create new slides and thus new directions the pictures could take. I want to experiment with stamping dust, dirt or other marks on a piece of tape that I can apply to the plastic and insert in the camera. This way, I come back to the idea of an index, so very present in the Trace series.

Whilst working with the 'Drawing Camera', I rely on intuition and creation is a very spontaneous process. With the collection growing, I then retrospectively analyse and group the images based on the analogies in relation to form and subject. Thus, I have recently printed two clusters of 'Drawing Camera' pictures, one outlined as landscape and the other as abstract series. Selection is an essential aspect of the process which I wish to lead more meticulously. As I end up with many pictures, I set myself the criteria to categorise the outcomes. In abstract series, for instance, I considered texture, contrast in form and tone, layering and degree to which the photographic projection merges with the reality of substance present in the drawing. The more graphic the photograph, the more I found it fascinating (hence the choice of black-and white film). On the other hand, while selecting for Landscape series, I was mainly looking for analogies (or contrasts) between the facets of nature (e.g. tree bark, water, treetops) and marks I made with acrylic paint (e.g. amorph shapes, branched patterns, rock-resembling form). Generally, I could say that the harder it is to distinguish both layers, the more convincing I find the picture. That is what I mean by ‘exploring the gesture as the bridge between photography and drawing’ and this is what I propose to dig into in the following months.

Concretely, the next step is the materialisation of existing images. I wish to try out different supports such as textiles, papers and plexiglass, and printing techniques (both digital and analogue) to be able to compare and think about the connotations the materials carry. I am considering participating in the EYE project and turn my pictures into a moving image piece (but the idea is still too vague to delineate).

See prototype prints on fabric here

As mentioned, I consider printing in the darkroom a way of working with the camera. The negative serves as a starting point, a new motif which can be cropped, darkened, masked, resized. In a way, I am making a new picture out an existing one and I feel this is finally the moment of bringing it into existence. Just recently I printed the above-mentioned 'Landscape' and 'Abstractaparat' series. I printed on fibre-based paper I have never used before, but surprisingly, the experience proved to be very much familiar. Soaking the exposed paper in the chemical solution, agitating, rinsing, pressing it in-between blotting papers and finally drying the prints felt exactly like etching process I used to engage in. The feel of wet prints and observing tone-changes as they dry reminded me so much of printmaking that I immediately understood how printmaking is in fact a bridge between photography and its predecessor drawing. As I enjoyed darkroom printing very much and see a direct relation to the conceptual questions I have with my work, I find it a crucial step in my future 'Drawing Camera' practice. I wish to expand it into the territory of photogram and chemigram which provide much space for exploration of gesture. However, print making does not only manifest as a link at a technical level, but is also implied in my works conceptually - to leave a trace is to imprint. Thus, it is an aspect I wish to investigate as my practice develops.

See prototype fibre-based prints here

Mostly, I wish to focus on the creative processes that address the question of how I can develop the practice which merges photographic and drawing principles. The process is open-ended and will probably result in a photographic (or partly-photographic) series which is not limited to the pictures hanging on the walls, but could be an object, a spatial installation, or a moving image piece.

My background is strongly rooted in drawing, painting and printmaking, where I was mainly interested in the formal aspects of the medium in combination with appropriated or recycled imagery, resulting in collage or mixed-media works with abstraction as an important mechanism. I did not have much experience in photography, however, since I feel that especially analogue photography is in many ways similar or shares some principles with hand image-making, I regard it as a natural continuation of my practice. By photography I am mostly focused on analogue or even early photographic processes. My exploration of these is centred around the same fundamental concepts as my previous practice - what is a mark, an index, a print, what is a gesture, surface and layering - which results in the formal similarities between recent and previous works.

In terms of practice I see the relation with camera-less photography of for example Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer, who is using the darkroom as a camera to ‘paint’ with light directly on paper and her work often takes a form of a landscape. Furthermore, I was inspired by Pierre Cordier, who developed the form of chemigram – a picture produced without the camera, only by using developer, fixer and other photographic chemicals. Among artists who explore the characteristics of the photographic medium are also Juliana Borinski and Tacita Dean, with whom I feel related in the aspect of collecting (in my case traces, in her case for instance postcards, old photographs etc.). Thinking about the photobook 'Trace', I came across few examples that share basic principle of the work – one by the artist called Claude BLO Ricci, who made a publication Pictures Born in Chaos, a collection of ever-changing surfaces of his direct surroundings. Another example is a zine by Czar Kristoff: New Refuge who collected, enlarged and bound together the scribbles customers make in stationary stores when testing pens… I created a wiki page for further reading on the artistic practices that influence my work here.

Furthermore, reading about theory of photography and drawing serves me as inspiration and provides me with conceptual support. I am interested in the discourse about painting’s relation to photography, as for instance described by Martin Jay and Susan Sontag. As I am questioning the borders of the medium, I found Rosalind Krauss’ text A Voyage on the North Sea very relevant as well, while reading Duchamp’s vivid description of creative process in The Creative Act resonated with my own approach to making. Currently I am digging in the theory of drawing, especially in its fundaments as for instance discussed by Philip Rawson’s book Drawing and I will continue with Deanna Petherbridge’s The Primacy of Drawing.

I explore mark-making between photography and drawing because it seems to me that there are fundamental similarities between the marks we leave in general. I believe this kind of traces are something we all have in common. They are in fact predecessors of (visual and verbal) language and belong to the very human nature which fascinates me. I am attracted to the fundamentals of both means of image-making, photographic and gestural and I think they are tightly related. In fact, in the early stages of photography (which is a much younger medium than drawing and painting), similarities between them were much more obvious and visible. On the one hand, photographers were trained with a painter's eye and on the other, painters would adopt photographic understanding of flattened space. The relation was thus reciprocal, sharing principles in composition, methodology, colour, understanding of space etc. With the development of (digital) photography, the latter seems to differ from hand-made gestural image-making, and I wish to bring attention to the principles they still share (I explore these issues in greater depth in my thesis).

Planning – timetable and support:

  • October&November: 2 exhibitions (Pivka and Kranj - to try out a couple of ideas, as prototypes)
  • November: making another photobook
  • until end December: darkroom experimentation
  • December and January: EYE project (moving image)
  • Then … where the practice leads me

Tutors and peers help me to meet the plan with analysing my works and bringing another view on what it means. I asked Sonia, Bojan and photography teachers in the station (Meno and Jeroen) for practical matters of actual printing, working with fibre-based paper etc. Sonia is an experienced photographer, also interested in formal and inherent qualities of the photographic medium and I find discussions with her most fruitful as we share our references, readings and experiences.

References:

1. Duchamp, M (1961) The Creative Act, Lecture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York

2. Flusser, V (1983) Towards a Philosophy of Photography, London Reaktion Books

3. Jay, M (1989) ‘Photography and the Mirror of Art’ in Salmagundi No. 84, (pp. 14-23)

4. Krauss, R (1992) The Voyage on the North Sea: Art in the Age of the Post-Medium Condition, New York Thames and Hudson Inc.

5. Rawson, P (1987) Drawing, Philadelphia University of Pennsylvania Press; first edition published in 1969 by Oxford University Press

6. Sontag, S (2005) On Photography, New York RosettaBooks LLC (electronic edition); first edition published in 1973