This new project initially began completely by accident. In 2003 an all night exposure of the stars made during a camping trip was lost due to the effects of whiskey. Unable to wake up to close the shutter before sunrise, all the information of the night’s exposure was destroyed. The intense light of the rising sun was so focused and intense that it physically changed the film, creating a new way for me to think about photography.
In this process the sun burns its path onto the film base. The sky as a result of the intense light exposure reacts in an effect called solarization. The resulting negative literally has a burnt hole in it with the subject in complete reversal. ... After experimenting with burning film and working with this minimalist aesthetic, I wanted to see what else could be done with different media. I chose to use fiberbased gelatin silver black & white photographic paper. By putting the paper in my film holder, in place of film, I create a one of a kind paper negative. Each negative due to varying sky conditions and length of exposure is scorched by the sun to differing degrees, sometimes burning completely through the paper base. I used both an 8”x10” view camera and a home made 16”x20” camera to create the paper negatives.
Not only is the resulting image a representation of the subject photographed, but part of the subject (the sun) is an active participant in the printmaking. This is just the beginning of this new body of work. I plan to continue to investigate the possibilities of this method of printmaking. My favorite part is watching smoke come out of the camera during the exposure. Thank you for looking.
All images from www.chrismccaw.com