After reading the title of this post, the first line comes in your mind that is it really true? And it's answer is yes. Well a new exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London demonstrates how can you possibly take a photograph without a camera? You may not know but there are at least five exceptional camera-less photographers in the world.
The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue which presents the work of these five leading practitioners - Pierre Cordier, Susan Derges, Adam Fuss, Garry Fabian Miller and Floris Neusüss - who, by casting shadows on light-sensitive paper or by chemically manipulating its surface, capture the presence of objects, figures or glowing light.
Each artist has his or her own variations, some of which are incredibly complex—incorporating water, broken glass, and sometimes their own bodies into the photographic process. The results are powerful images, often with surreal effects and symbolic content. In an age of mass-produced imagery, Shadow Catchers offers hand-crafted photographs that are both haunting and thought-provoking. Here is the complete description:
Pierre Cordier discovered the 'chemigram' process. This process involves the application of photographic developer and fixer to gelatin-silver photographic paper, using the chemicals like watercolors. Developer creates dark areas, while fixer produces lighter tones. Cordier used this method here, pouring rather than brushing the chemicals on to a lightly oiled sheet of photographic paper.
Susan used the landscape at night as her darkroom, submerging large sheets of photographic paper in rivers and using the moon and flashlight to create the exposure. 'Working directly, without the camera,' says Derges, 'with just paper, subject matter and light, offers an opportunity to bridge the divide between self and other'.
Garry Fabian Miller:
Garry Fabian Miller discovered a method of using a photographic enlarger that allowed a direct translation between plants and the photographic print.His works are enriched by being seen in sequences that explore and develop a single motif and color range. Often, the images are conceived as remembered landscapes and natural light phenomena.
This is a revealing and evocative look at their working environments and an insight into their creative ideas.