Against the Storm
Emma Powell’s series entitled The Shadow Catcher’s Daughter is a cross between reality and dream. She uses tea and wine to tone the cyanotypes in her work. Powell has this to say about her work: I use self-portraiture to articulate personal narratives, which are often both nightmare and fantasy. Human, animal, and environmental forms interact in unexpected ways to symbolize discoveries and conflicts in my intimate relationships. I use the cyanotype process to suggest an alternative space, such as a dream or memory. This historic process obscures the subjects’ location in time and creates a backdrop for archetypal universal symbols. These images are toned with tea and wine to produce a range of additional warmer tones, making them seem more natural. I choose these substances for the acidic effect on the chemistry, as well as their influence on communication and memory. Although photography is normally considered a medium that represents the present, visible world, in my work I attempt to make visual what cannot be seen in place or time.
These images are incredibly beautiful to me. Most are very simplistic, which is something that I really admire. She is able to create this wonderfully complex and interesting narrative without going over the top using tons of props. What is even more interesting about this work is that these are toned cyanotypes. I really love the soft and nostalgic quality that the toning gives these images. This technique really does create the impression of memories and a type of universal meaning that Powell strives for with her work.
Where There is Smoke