Homage to Henry Fox Talbot: Diptych
The Arts Foundation of Cape Cod, together with the Cotuit Center for the Arts, announces the eighth year of their collaborative winter exhibit January / February 2015. The exhibit is titled Opposites Attract, featuring artists’ interpretation of “opposites attract” – literally and figuratively.
In the realm of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot (1800-1887) is my hero. When I began studying photography—in the days of film—I made a pilgrimage to Lacock Abby in Wiltshire England to visit the Fox Talbot museum. Judging by the number of vials and jars, I didn’t doubt that he “carried out a series of experiments often leading to explosions.” Fox Talbot’s “photographic drawings” were paper negatives from which multiple positive images could be made—the basis for almost all 19th and 20th century photography. A fern leaf was often used as subject matter.
A simple adjustment click to “invert” in Adobe Photoshop will make light areas appear dark and dark areas appear light. I like the diptych format for this presentation. Viewers study the ferns across a center line to decipher what is positive and what is negative. By washing off some of the transfer ink, there is additional ambiguity. I carried out my series of experiments without toxic chemicals—and without explosions.
See screen shots on my BLOG page.