Chemicals Squared: Cameraless Photography with Chemigrams

50 images Created 27 Sep 2023

Chemigram Art project, surreal psychological photography.

Chemicals Squared is a visual art project focused on psychological image-making using chemigrams. The chemigram technique, a cameraless process, involves deliberate interaction of various chemicals and resists, transforming photographic paper into a medium that mirrors the fleeting and capricious nature of the subconscious mind.

As I engage with the materials in the traditional analogue darkroom, there is a sense of coaxing and collaboration, akin to manifesting images that already exist in some intangible form and place. The chemicals and photographic paper are loose metaphors for the alchemical transformation of energy (as I see it latent in the chemicals and paper) into a visual representation of which I only have partial control. This tries to find a technical process for representing the idea of photographing images that flow through the subconscious and conscious mind.

The resulting prints, as physical records bear witness to inherent unpredictability of the chemigram process. Digitising these prints marks a further transformation first being captured through the ‘eyes of digital photography’ and then undergoing further adjustments using digital editing.

This project is not just a convergence of traditional and modern techniques; it is a visual exploration of the symbiotic relationship between intention and serendipity. The chemigrams, drawn from ‘a place beyond’ and coaxed into existence through the use of chemicals and light, offer me and viewers of the work a sense of transcendence—a journey where the tangible and intangible somehow coalesce, in a process that questions the transformative potential of energy in its various forms.

Digitally, this is a sequenced long-form project of 50 images. In print / exhibition individual images or short sequences of images may be displayed (as photographic prints), in which circumstances hanging plans can be discussed and agreed based on gallerist or publisher requirements.
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