How does a photograph come to life without a camera?
Cyanotypes are a form of photographic photosynthesis. Rather than turning sunlight into food, the blue and white cyanotypes turn light into imagery. The direct interplay between nourishing light for the plant to grow and the organic processes used will further encapsulate moments in time.
In the exhibit, ‘Plants Have Lives Too,’ I work with plants surrounding my Salt Spring Island home and the vegetables from the local farm where I gather fresh produce during the summer. The daily seasonal transitions define time as seen from plants under the glass pouring out their life forms onto cyanotype coated watercolour papers.
I use long exposures of several days utilizing the sun as a ‘lens’ mediated by my choice of exposure duration, air temperature and humidity. My cyanotypes combine a pure contact print (plants under the glass) printing out onto selected papers from Italy, France and Germany. On old expired enlarging papers, plants are also placed out in the sun and are considered lumens with only a fixer to hold the image.
My cyanotypes and lumens are all considered photograms, objects placed on sensitive materials and do not require a camera. I hope that the viewer will see these images of plants and; perhaps experience time in a new light.
With initial support from the late Denis Roussel, I have developed a sense of appreciation for not only the flowering of a plant but; also for the entire lifespan of a plant- a creature every bit as fully realized with a life just as profound as anything seen. Plants have lives too.
- Susan Huber