Disappearance of Darkness 2012
The photographic materials and systems I’ve used throughout my career are disappearing at an alarming rate. Over the last five years, companies such as Kodak, Agfa, and Polaroid have been pushed into an economic free-fall as the demand for their long-established products has evaporated. The end of the analogue era is evident in the recent closings and demolition of large-scale manufacturing facilities dedicated to the production of conventional photographic products.
During the past five years I have photographed numerous facilities in Canada, the United States, and Europe where blocks of silver were dissolved in nitric acid, mixed with the tissue of animals, and coated onto film and paper so the world could make pictures. The goal of my work is to explore the places where the alchemy of the photographic process was practised on a massive scale over the last century. The essential feature of these factories was, ironically, darkness: manufacturing took place in the absence of light—a characteristic that has defined the photographic process since it was first invented in 1839. The act of photographing is often associated with a desire to record something on the verge of change or disappearance. In this case, my subject is the medium itself.