Glass Notebook is on-going series of still life images that uses the logic space of poetry to explore landscapes of emotion and memory, balance in contradiction, and a sense of preciousness in the ordinary. My compositional process is intuitive, and almost always begins with an object, rather than an idea – a fragment of bone, or a gnarled root burl from my walks in the woods, a broken picture frame or deteriorating heirloom from the attic of our family home. To most, these objects have outlived their usefulness. Yet, to me they speak – awakening fragments of memory, emotions and dreams. I gather my forgotten treasures, as I have done since I was a child. I live with them, pairing and grouping them with other foundlings until I am able to see the essence of why I was originally attracted to the objects.
By contrast, my process of photographing and printing the images is quite technical, and inextricable from material quality of the final physical prints. Each image begins as an 8x10 black glass ambrotype shot using a 1930’s view camera and UV florescent light banks. I shoot both in the studio and on location. As wet plate photography requires sensitizing, exposing, and developing the plate all in the span of 15-20 minutes, shooting outside of my studio involves bringing a camera, lights, generators, props, and a portable darkroom to the location – typically a woodland setting – to make each image.
The plates are then scanned, converted to full-sized contact negatives, and printed in the darkroom on tissue thin Japanese gampi paper. Images printed on gampi tissue are semi-translucent with a natural sheen, and shift tonality slightly depending on the angle from which they are viewed. When float-mounted, the images have a sense of movement, as the edges of the paper are visible and free to expand and contract naturally like pages torn from a book.