Now here’s a thing… photography without a camera! How’s that for cool? Best not think about it too much however else I shall start questioning why the hell I seem to have spent loadsa dosh on cameras and stuff.
Interesting nevertheless. Photograms. That’s what they are apparently. And I’ve just been reading all about them in this article (it was the mention of “shadow catchers” in the title that first caught my eye) from the Telegraph…
Shadow Catchers: Floris Neusüss commission
For Neusüss, camera-less photography offers an antidote to the banality that the digitalisation has brought to photography :“Photography no longer offers any resistance: it’s like a concrete that you can pour into any mould, but the resulting architecture is too often undefined, sloppy, a bit embarrassing. You can do anything with Photoshop, and everybody does, with the effect that the observer’s imagination is not engaged. A poetic, disquieting mental image evoked through words, like ‘the encounter of a typewriter and an umbrella on a dissecting table,’ loses its mystery when you hold it as a colour photograph in your hand. Photography works as a comfort, as Man Ray said, because it reproduces what is known. The photogram denies the observer this immediate familiarity”.
Read the full article here.
I like that bit about imagination being engaged and that whole “poetic, disquieting mental image evoked through words, like ‘the encounter of a typewriter and an umbrella on a dissecting table,’ loses its mystery when you hold it as a colour photograph in your hand,” which started me pondering whether that’s part of the attraction of black and white… that it, to some extent, engages the imagination in a way that colour photography doesn’t. Hmm.
Anyway, interest aroused I delved into this photogram stuff a bit deeper and came across Photograms Art and Design that has some truly remarkable images in its portfolios. And then I found some more examples on Flickr.