One definition of chaos is when nonlinear things are impossible to predict and control. If law and order rule the universe, chaos, by contrast, is the totally disorganized opposite.

I have been exploring how to let images create themselves and avoid manipulation by photographers and cameras. For this series, I used several techniques (both historical and contemporary) to process the same image: reticulated film through a high temperature developing process, liquid emulsion, inkjet printing, darkroom printing and encaustic painting. I then merged all these processes together by reshooting the images.

I’m curious about what the image will become after so many processes. What type of photograph is it? Is it still an image? How do I name it? The result is random—no one knows what it will look like. It is impossible to control the result by layering these processes on top of the same image, together.

The dark tone in my images references the universe. It’s infinite and empty. When I chose my subject matter, I was looking for subjects with unpredictable elements: they’re unstable and disordered, like wind, clouds and water. Many systems that we live with—landscapes and trees, for example—exhibit complex and chaotic behaviors. They are constantly in flux.

—Daren You

Editor’s Note: You’s project was recognized by the jury of the LensCulture Exposure Awards 2017—don’t miss the work from all 44 of the outstanding, international talents!

If you’re interested in seeing more work like this, we’d recommend these previous features: Surveillance Landscapes, a series of black-and-white landscapes that were gleaned from state-controlled surveillance systems; Blanco: Silent Landscapes, a contemplative, elegant project comprised of dark images from wild places; and Instar: Tenuous Life in the Sonoran Desert, otherworldly photographs that explore the collision of city and wilderness.