I, Terra, Thou, 1993
A diptych, a triptych and three single camera-less toned gelatin silver prints on fibre paper made on location. Unique objects. Various sizes. Collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (1 piece). Enquire here.
The work arose out of an attempt at bypassing the nature-objectifying conventions of conventional landscape photography by reducing the emotional and kinetic distance between the photographic surface, the artist and ecological subject. Begun in January 1993, these outdoor shadowgrams are believed to be the first life-scale records of living ecosystems executed without a camera in the history of photography. They were created by first constructing an upright scaffold to hold the imagined composition in daylight, then at night, pegging the photographic paper to the support and exposing the plant-shadowed paper to a pre-calibrated pulse of flash light. The exposed paper was then backpacked out in a light-proof tube for processing in the studio. One piece, the triptych Allocasuarina verticillata made at Werribee Gorge, was created with the addition of light from a rising full moon. In effect, in these works, the landscape became the camera. Reflecting the projects’ relational rationale, the series title inserts earth – ‘Terra’ – into philosopher Martin Buber’s empathic ‘I-Thou’ dynamic.