May 9th 2015
Last month I held my first exhibition at Gallery 17, along with 4 other fellow photographers. Four months previously, the team decided to create work surrounding the theories and practices of 19th century medicine. As a historical hot spot for medicine, Edinburgh was the perfect location for our chosen theme.
My project consisted of making 9 photograms. This was particularly daunting at first considering I had never created a photogram before. A photogram is made by placing an object on top of light sensitive paper and then exposing the paper to artificial light for a certain amount of time. My exposure times lasted up to 30 seconds but the exposure differed on each photogram depending on how thick the material was. The image created is essentially the shadow of the objects. What photograms often show is how light travels through and around objects as well as where it reflects. The results can be incredibly beautiful and can almost fully replicate the object itself as if it were just a photograph. In my initial experimentation I used a tea spoon and the photogram replicated the object itself almost entirely. It looked exactly like a photograph because of how light had reflected on the surface.
A very similar process was used in the 19th century to document various botanical specimens and so I decided to use this technique to creatively record objects that looked as if they were medical specimens.
The exhibition ran for a week and we had an incredibly joyful time talking to visitors and learning about their insight into medical history. The ability to encourage conversation is possibly one of the most satisfying things my photography can do.