A Delicate Balance
Think about the relationship you have with nature. Do you immerse yourself within it as much as possible or maybe avoid it at all costs? Humans have a delicate balance with nature. There is a push and pull between us with humans destroying the planet at an alarming rate and nature destroying us through things like natural disasters. With this body of work, I want to show different relationships people have with nature, some being negative towards it and others being positive. Each one of my pieces combine the imagery of humans and nature in a way that expresses these relationships. Whatever your relationship is with the world we live in; it is impossible for us to live without it. We have been destroying this earth even more with the rise of new technologies. Things like virtual reality can give us a sense of being amongst nature without actually being immersed within it. This has been leading us away from nature, but with these pieces I would like to create a reaction in the viewers of appreciation of the natural world. I want to convey the natural beauty of the world we live in before we completely destroy it.
In making these cyanotypes, I would photograph models in the studio as well as collect and scan various foliage, combining the two to create a digital negative. For the cyanotype process itself, I first had to mix the two basic chemicals to make the chemistry that is used. After 24 hours I was able to coat the paper under safety lights. Once the paper had dried, I could expose the paper with the negative compressed in a contact frame under UV light. The photograph then was washed in a water bath with a small amount of hydrogen peroxide to increase contrast in the image and then hung to dry.
I chose this alternative process of photography because it causes you to slow down and requires you to really know and understand what it is you are doing. I sometimes get tired of this digital age and prefer hands on old photographic techniques and processes. Everyone nowadays thinks they are a photographer with camera phones in their pockets, which is what makes old processes like these even more special and unique. I also chose this process as it relates to the concept of the work since it requires sunlight to create the image. It is a very hands-on process as I coat the paper myself allowing for an interaction with the artist and the physical work. The concept of each person having different and unique relationships with nature also parallels the process as each of these photographs are unique and would be near impossible to replicate exactly.
I chose to photograph only women to symbolize the nurturing care of mother nature being a female personification of nature. Each piece of the work is titled with a word that describes the feeling that someone may have with nature. In looking at this work, I would like to show the viewer the true beauty of nature and how vital it is for our lives before we destroy it completely beyond repair. The viewers should reflect upon themselves and think about the relationship they have with nature, and if they do not have a true appreciation for the earth that they may have a newfound admiration for it.
© 2019 Kelsey Frederick, All Rights Reserved
photography, cyanotype, nature, environment