Photo Synthesis


photo- [prefix] = produced by light
synthesis [n.] = the creation of new matter from simpler elements

> En français

The river meanders slowly through remote woodland in southwest France. Drawn to the transformation of light into matter, I use a wooden, plate film camera to make my work. 

Green plants harness sunlight to feed themselves. During the day, chlorophyll in leaves absorbs photons, particles of light energy. These photons power a series of chemical reactions which, from water and carbon dioxide, glucose molecules are born... the basic fuel for life on earth.

In autumn, glimpses of yellows and ochres - manifestationsof light absorbed during the growing season - mark a turning of trees’ energies towards the earth. Silver halide molecules in my photographic film become metallic silver during their moment of exposure, echoing the forest’s own photosensitive surface, as each leaf records its exposure to sunlight. As the leaves begin to fall, trunks and branches that are created from the trees’ alchemy are revealed.

At night, when photosynthesis is not possible, plants use their glucose to grow. The matter they create, in both life and decay, will be consumed by insects, animals and plants, transporting energy along the entire food chain. Intrigued by the moment of pause between sunlight capture and night-time growth, I work at twilight.

Under high banks, trees’ reflections are woven through the deep, dark river in an entanglement of air, water, light and vegetation... the source of life.

Printed on large, brushed aluminium panels with UV ink, the photographs change in appearance as we shift our viewing position. This enables an interaction between the spectator, the ambient light and the scene, bringing them to life before our eyes. Presenting these organic subjects on metal – a material that is paradoxically immobile and apparently inanimate – draws focus to the importance of light and the vitality present in all the matter that surrounds us.


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