This semester a decent amount of my graduate work has involved printmaking instead of just traditional photography. For those of you that may have some knowledge of printmaking, the process I am working with is essentially a mix of lithography and etching. I have had a request to show some in-progress and process work (which will hopefully be happening soon), and so I will be waiting to go into too much detail about how it is done until I have some images to share of that. For the time being I thought I would share some images that I completed at the end of last semester and beginning of this semester.
My graduate photography since I started here at Kansas State has dealt with issues related to memory. These prints are more or less extensions of that, and each print has resulted in a new spin-off of that central theme of memory. The etching process inherently deals with memory, since more often than not the copper plate is worked back in to, leaving a history behind on the copper. It is partly because of this that I am so fascinated by etching at the moment. This first image was the first I completed using my current process. The one on the left is the original image, which some of you may recognize from one of my 365 photographs, as well as from one of my weavings. In the print on the right I forced myself to work back into the plate, scraping things away, burnishing, and drawing new lines. It was difficult for me to allow myself to make changes on the plate because I saw it as this precious object and the thought of destroying it terrified me. I realized recently that this holds an interesting parallel to memory, and has drawn me to the etching process even more. This image sparked the realization that a lot of my images deal with collections. Collections can serve as placeholders for memories at times, and so my newer work is focusing more on this aspect than before.
The next print unfortunately got cut off on the scanner; if I get a chance to rescan it soon I will replace it here. This plate was my first experiment with things in multiples, and has started me down a potentially frightening path. The print shown here is the third or fourth state of the plate (meaning I had altered it three or four times before this). It is not one I was very happy with, but it has grown on me and my professors seem to enjoy it.
And finally, yet another experiment. I have been playing around with the circular format recently, in both my prints and photographs. Because I am referencing memory and perception I felt that the circle was a better fit. We don’t remember, or see, in rectangles and so I didn’t feel that I was able to get what I wanted from that format. Also, some of the first photographs were circles. The first ever consumer camera, the Kodak Number 1, produced circles. Being able to make a direct reference to the history of my medium is rather exciting to me.
This particular image has spun-off into its own branch of my central concept. It has turned into a collaboration plate, which allows me to let go of any control over what happens to it. I gave the plate to one of the printmaking graduate students here, who worked into the plate. I recently printed it (image to come soon), and now will be handing off the plate to someone else. The thought process behind this collaboration is that we each remember the same event (or object) different from someone else. Each person’s edit to the plate will be their “memory” of the object essentially. I am in the beginning stages at this point, so we will see where it goes from here.
And just for fun, because I have been obsessed with circles and the history of them in photography, a photograph of the Kodak Nr. 1 that I recently purchased. Isn’t he cute!