Christopher Colville is one of the 50 best emerging photographers for 2015, as voted by the eight-member international jury for the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards 2015. Here is his winning entry and artist’s statement. View his profile to learn more about him and to see more of his great work.
When I look into the night sky, I am awestruck by the darkness that is the universe. As the sparse light of the stars descends, I am entangled in the grace of wonder, searching for a better understanding of who I am and where I fit in to this world. Carl Sagan wrote, “…the universe is mainly made of nothing, something is the exception. Nothing is the rule. That darkness is commonplace; it is light that is the rarity.” This sense of wonder cast by light in the otherwise impenetrable darkness is a driving force behind this current work.
The fire prints were born out of a fascination with the dual nature of creation and destruction that generates this rare light. Each image in this series is made by igniting a small portion of gunpowder on the surface of silver gelatin paper. In the resulting explosion, light and energy abrade and burn the surface while simultaneously exposing the light-sensitive silver emulsion. I loosely control the explosion by placing objects on the paper’s surface, but the results are often surprising and unpredictable, as the explosive energy of gunpowder is the true generative force creating the image. These fire prints visually reference celestial events, the residue of both creation and obliteration, generated from a single spark.