Essentially Negative: Seeing in Opposite

27 images Created 8 Nov 2023

Essentially Negative is a visual art project that begins with a seemingly paradoxical concept, the idea of hand drawing photographic negatives. The project asks: How can the intrinsic beauty of a photographic negative, an inverse representation of the positive image, be represented, and appreciated in its own right?

Traditionally, photographic negatives serve as the intermediary stage in the film development process, forming the inverse of the positive image they represent. However, my focus in this work is on discerning and highlighting the inherent aesthetic appeal within the negative itself. This seeks to deconstruct a photograph to its essential visual elements, capturing a raw and unfiltered essence that might be understood as the substructure of the positive image. It is the creation of a vision of what a negative of a digital image might look like.

One of the project's key objectives is to explore the concept of the 'beauty of the inverse.' Through drawing, I seek to unravel and accentuate the visual intricacies latent within ‘a perceived negative’. The act of drawing becomes a meditative process, enabling me to trace the contours, shadows, and nuances that contribute to the negative's unique aesthetic.

Moreover, the project delves into the transformative potential of colourisation, offering a fresh perspective on how hues can be applied to convey the nuanced beauty residing within the negative space.
This exploration transcends traditional photographic boundaries, inviting viewers to reconsider their perception of negatives and appreciate the unexpected allure encapsulated within the inverse.

The project is arguably a reversal of common visual workflow. I work back from a captured digital image, thinking about what an aesthetic negative of that image might be (conceptually). I feel this approach has merit in developing new aspects of visual literacy and helping the photographer think about representation and composition of photographs with fresh eyes.

Digitally, this is a sequenced short-form project of 25 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 requirements.
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