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  • Writer's pictureRitchard Allaway

11/08/21 - Solargraphy


- Think what feelings come from the work


At the start of my isolation period I was (as we already know) set the task to create work. Obviously I was limited to what I could do within my house, but as a photography teacher (not a specialist just to be clear), I decided to look into ways of using non digital capturing methods. One technique that I was unfamiliar with and so happened to stumble across whilst looking through old schemes of work, was solargraphy. The process for solargraphy is quite simple, it works on the same principles as a pinhole, in fact, it is just a pin hole camera, left outside for a very long period of time. The length of exposure can range from a month to a year, it all just depends on how long patient you can be with your work and whether or not your camera will hold out for that period of time.


I set out with four beer cans duct taped to four points outside of my house (the front garden and rear garden). I had no clue how these images were going to turn out and if they would at all. I did not have an outcome in mind, but if truth be told I did hope that some form of abstract image would appear.


Below are the final results. I did have a quick play on Photoshop editing them tonight but this will be something I will return to at a later date or attempt new solar images.



Let me reflect on these outcomes then... if I am to discuss my feelings from these, and feelings about the visual outcomes rather than the feelings around the process, technique and concept I will be able to enable a step towards future development. What I receive from these outcomes is a mixture of feelings that don't quite live up to the other work I have produced (maybe this is a bad start, already I am comparing them to previous work). The image central within the top three has an appeal that I find intriguing as I see that solar trail and the empty negative space below that forms that minimalist image, one that I enjoy. So there is an enjoyment to this image. There is that dash of light in the top corner that gives off an element of movement.. almost like a paint brush stroke across a canvas. There is though an unbalance to it and that would then contradict the idea of minimalism, going against the form of precision, balance and perfection. I do have to remember that these are 'diy' cameras with no precision involved, so to achieve a minimalist outcome would be somewhat of a miracle. I think that these outcomes are very muted, there is not much to them in order to generate feelings that produce something worth while for future examination. I can see development with them and I am curious to try again, but as for these images there is a dullness to them, there is no spark that drives me to engage and dissect or to just experience and absorb what is in front of me. Everything is muted.

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