Camera - less

t h i n

k i n g

phot

ogra

phy

The camera-less photographs began as a way of exploring photographic concepts and ideas that I was developing.  They were peripheral to my camera-based work, and primarily functioned as a practical methodological way of researching and developing the camera-based stuff I was working on, but as time went by, they came to dominate my practice.  

These camera-less photographs stemmed from an interest in the historical practices and ideas that created the concept photography which, led me down a rabbit hole pursuing ideas of a possible alternate theoretical photography – a photography that is less inclined toward replicating physiological vision.   

Assumption

David Martin, contemporary, conceptual, art, photograph, Tasmania, Australia, abstract

Assumption

190cm x 76cm, unique C Type photograph, 2003

The Assumption photographs combined some of the ideas and discoveries made while working on the sky and sun projects.  I explored melding the experience of photographing with the processes of making photographs in the darkroom. 

They are made using light from an enlarger, with negative carrier and lens in place but no negative.  I inserted myself and the actions of making a photograph between the light source and the photographic paper.



Each pair of rectangles in the photographs were made in an identical manner – the same lens, aperture, colour filtration, and time – the only difference was my bodily interference between the light source and the paper.  Thus each rectangle  in the photographs would be the same, but for my intervention.

 

I endeavoured to make these photographs to a specific ideal that I had pictured in my mind – a perfect photograph.  Each time I tried to make this perfect photograph I failed.

I subsequently looked at the resultant photograph, decided how my intervention could be bettered, and made another – only to ultimately ‘fail better.’



One of the ideas behind this project was contemplation of the logic that an observer might expect to ‘know’ or ‘understand’ something of a subject from looking at it in a photograph.  Rather than presenting the viewer with a subject-from-the-world, I explored making photographs that were about pure experience.

 

In part the ‘knowing’ or 'understanding' of the photograph's subject results from the camera’s mode of inverse projection, which re-places the observer at the ‘geometric point of origin’ of the seen/scene.  This suggestively places the observer in a relationship with the space, scene, or subject – positioning the viewer at the photographer’s station.  The re-projection formulates the observers' particular perceptions of the world, shaping their experience and interpretations. 

 

The Assumption photographs deny the observers' position, as there is no re-projection.



David Martin, contemporary, conceptual, art, photograph, Tasmania, Australia, abstract

Assumption

190cm x 76cm, unique C Type photograph, 2003

Burning Light

In 2012 when writing an exhibition essay, it occurred to me that for the past four years the camera had played a negligible role in my photographic practice.  I hadn't been “taking photos”. 

 

During this period I had been making photographic works from archives and experimenting with light sensitive materials. 

 

Burning Light is the culmination of an experimental stream.

David Martin, contemporary, conceptual, art, photograph, Tasmania, Australia, abstract

Burning Light

125cm x 114cm, gelatin-silver photograph, 2010

David Martin, contemporary, conceptual, art, photograph, Tasmania, Australia, abstract

Burning Light

125cm x 114cm, gelatin-silver photograph, 2010

These photographs are made from negatives exposed in plein air to the open sky; a conduct parallel to 19th century artist and author August Strindberg.  The resultant dense black films are subsequently treated in a manner like 20th century film-maker  Len Lye used film stock to create his experimental films.  The performance of my films, however, is done exclusively in the darkroom, where they are played to light sensitive material over an extended period of time.

David Martin, contemporary, conceptual, art, photograph, Tasmania, Australia, abstract

Burning Light

125cm x 114cm, gelatin-silver photograph, 2010

Skadus Lux

 

Skadus lux: Dark Light.

 

I have a preoccupation with the culturally devoted reliance on scientific explanation for historical constructions of our being.  These works stem from thinking about Charles Darwin’s use of photographs in his book The Expression of the emotions in Man and Animals.

Skadus lux (Echidna variations)

50cm x 40cm, unique gold-chloride gelatin-silver photograph, 2011

Skadus lux (Echidna variations)

120cm x 80cm, Giclee photograph, 2012

Skadus lux (Echidna variations)

80cm x 120cm, Giclee photograph, 2012

contemporary photography lumen photograph

 

Melopsittacus Undulatus

65cm x 80cm, unique, gold-chloride gelatin-silver photograph, 2013

contemporary photography lumen photograph

 

Parrot Dreaming

120cm x 75cm, unique gold-chloride gelatin-silver photograph, 2013

Seated

Unique gelatin-silver photograph, 2014

Field Recording

These photographs are part of an analogue photographic project that, based on research and experimentation, seeks to explore and develop new photographic processes to create original work.  

Field Recording: 60 minute skylight register, gathered and ungathered, December, 2013

70cm x 70cm, gelatin-silver photograph from lumen negative 2014

Field Recording: sun-shower specimen, open condeser register, February 2014 

gelatin-silver photograph, from lumen negative, 2014

Last Light of IEW Martin, 05 June 2013

30 consecutive unique gelatin-silver light modulation recordings, 2013

Field Recording Artist Book

An artist book comprising 13 hand-made photographs on vintage print out paper, with two essays.  This is a large folio size book, in an edition of eight.  2016

natura exemplum: light drawing, Warrawee large pond

 gelatin-silver print-out photograph from lumen negative 2015

The three photographs here are from the recent artist-book Field Recording.

 

The Field Recording project takes as a starting point the early methods and concepts of Henry Fox Talbot.   The project continues on in the direction that he began, but subsequently abandoned, as he imagined and invented the entity photograpy.

In one sense this is a ‘photography about photography’ project, but in another sense this project is a proposal for another photography - one with a vision quite different to the one now generally accepted.

I Land Scape: Pardoe, low tide

gold-toned, gelatin-silver print-out photograph, from lumen negative, 2015

Field Recording: Inverse Square, morning sunlight

Unique gelatin-silver print-out photograph, 2015

gallery