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Light Sensitive brings together the old and the new, a range of image making using chemicals and sensors, processes that span 175 years.
It celebrates the diversity of photography by artists and photographers living and working in West Cork, from the delicate Cyanotypes (a process discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842 and is the origin of the the word blueprint for technical drawings) through to the ubiquitous smartphone of the 21st century.
But this exhibition is not meant to be a history lesson.
Rather, it’s shows the wide range of methods and techniques used by photographers and artists today to capture an emotion and express a mind’s eye vision.
Each technique is different, each method requires specific hard won skills and each image reveals the persona of the image maker.
We have the moody blues of the cyanotypes, the stark reality of the Wet plate Collodion or tintypes, the still and contemplative calm of a long exposure, the recreation of a children’s story world and images that show a fascination and connection to the past and seem to be asking:
who lived here? is that where I came from and who I was then? who last lay on that bed, who turned on the blue light? and above all, where did these, our ancestors maybe, go to?
Photographs have had shapes cut out of them and the pieces fall or fly away.
Photographs have been incorporated in a painting or charcoal drawing or projected onto human form.
And there’s the use of digital software to transform and re-interpret an image by adding texture, a gentle blurring, an enhancement of specific colours and the multi layering of many images to make a whole new image.
No speech is complete unless it has a quote so here’s one from Henri Cartier Bresson the man of the decisive moment.
“The one eye of the photographer is looking open-wide through the view-finder, the other one, the closed eye, is looking into one owns soul.“
Photography until recently was not considered to be a serious art form.
Someone once asked “Can photography elevate the imagination?”
I hope you can see from the images that surround us, that it can.