Chromatic

Liam Coo

Chromatic

 The most basic component of photography is light. Light is what is captured by the paper/film/sensor and what is of greatest concern to the person making the picture. Chromatic is a body of work that endeavours to distil photography down to its basic element and explore representations of pure light. References to the ‘real’ world have been removed but for the barest of hints such as scratches or reflection. However the images, through their materiality, remain connected to photography despite the abstraction. Besides light, colour plays a major role in the series as photograph has accentuated phenomena like colour temperature (something the human eye compensates for naturally). The images fluctuate between colours and greys and it becomes clear the important link between colour and light especially in photography.

Since photography is a mechanical process materiality has always been an important part of the discussion. In recent years that has become even more important as consideration turns to ‘what constitutes photography.’ As the medium becomes more ubiquitous the definition is stretched to accommodate. Inevitably when discussing photography in a contemporary context the classic debate around digital verses analogue comes up. Chromatic is an example of a hybrid process, digital captures printed on analogue surfaces. Because the series focuses on light it is very important that the print be produced on light sensitive Chromira paper. Were the images to be produced on digital methods of printing the images would take on a painterly quality and remain removed from the photographic medium where as the Chromira paper retains that photographic quality. Digital and analogue process play an important role in creating these images and only by combining them is it possible.       

When working with photography you are expected to be able to control light; mould it around a subject in whatever way fits the rest of the image and accentuates your subject in just the right way. Here the light itself is the subject and it is not about controlling it but seeing the way it registers on the sensor without interference except for abstracting the environment. The subjects range from artificial to natural light sources. Surface plays a huge role as many of the effects are created using luminous surfaces (screens, light boxes, etc.), which are extremely commonplace. And on the subject of the sensor, these images would not exist had they been captured with another devices. Film reacts to light in a more natural way, not retaining some of the strange artefacts found in these images. Colour is one of the most important factors when creating images. We strive to colour balance images, manipulate colour to create a certain aesthetic or a mood and it is execrably linked to the quality and source of light. In these images colour is luminous or almost nonexistent. The series contains images of extreme colour and very subtle examples. Again the digital sensor’s position as the surface on which the light was captured changed the nature of the colour. Film would have lead to less interesting images because the digital is more responsive to the separate colours of artificial lights. 

Together these images look at light using a medium and material, which relies so heavily on its representational qualities. They examine and explore the properties of light and colour and abstract the images so these factors can be considered independently of anything else. This body of work represents the beginning of an archive of small digital camera images of artificial light sources.     

image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
image
comments powered by Disqus