Solvitur Ambulando consists of wet plate collodion photograms of flora I collected during walks and meanderings. The series considers two perspectives. One explores ecological themes by drawing on the herbarium tradition and connecting to the dawn of photography. I am thinking of Anna Atkins’ cyanotypes of algae and Cecilia Gleisher’s photogenic drawings of ferns. Like Atkins and Glaisher, I am fascinated by the richness of the natural world. I am also deeply concerned about its survival in light of anthropogenic impacts. These rudimentary photograms, created by directly placing ordinary plant objects on light sensitive emulsion, ask the viewer to pause and to notice; to connect and to care; to consider the significance and beauty of a humble weed.
This series also explores a deeply personal inward journey, which speaks to the second perspective. I collected the flora during a period of upheaval, anticipation and loss. Each piece is a self-contained visual poem within the larger whole, where the medium itself plays a part in the storytelling. By manipulating chemistry, timing and light I create artifacts that suggest mystery and drama, evoking a spectrum of psychological interiors. Forms combine with textures to create moods and associations. Plant materials and arrangements hint at symbols. The herbarium becomes a catalog of “psychological specimens,” tethered to a time and place yet also existing outside of time and place; the biological specimens returning to the viewer as personal memories. In this manner, the natural form becomes inseparable from the artifact; the image inseparable from the hand; the objective inseparable from the subjective.