This body of work is all based upon a single photograph by Fox Talbot,
the inventor of the silver negative photographic process.
In my Bromides series I have created versions of Talbot’s Reflected
Trees in oil paint, watercolor and silver leaf. On the one hand, working
from this photograph is a critique of the supposedly expressive nature
of a landscape painting. However, I am more interested in the double inversion
that happens here. Talbot's photos themselves attempted to mimic the "painterly" styles
of his day, and are thus strongly picturesque and romantic. This ensured
that they were more likely to be treated as "art."
In a sense, I am appropriating an appropriation, much as the silver negative
process makes a picture from a picture. I am interested in the series of
doublings that happen in these images: the trees in the initial scene are
doubled in their reflection, which is then doubled in the negative, which
is in turn doubled in the print, and finally doubled in my images.
Also, by transforming this photograph into paintings and drawings, I interrogate
this idea of making an image more "art-like" by changing the
medium of its depiction. Are hand painted images in any way more powerful
than photographs? Does reproduction, mechanical or otherwise, affect the
reception of an image?
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