photography ... otherwise #6

november 2017 to january 2018

opening on 4 november 2017 from 16 hours


Jean Jeansis (B), gum arabic


Roger Kockaerts (B), palladium triplets

The different chemical baths used in photography are mostly constituted by dry crystals of different chemical origin diluted in water to obtain a colorless liquid. These transparent baths offer a rather monotonous vision in their plastic scales as long as the water content remains sufficiently high. However, if the water level drops, we will observe a strange phenomenon of random apparition of crystals differing radically from the dry chemicals we diluted into a liquid state. We observe the process of crystallization.
Crystallization is a change which conducts mineral products from a liquid phase into a solid crystalline state with an organized and regular structure. The formation of these crystals is a phenomenon called nucleation and supposes an oversaturated liquid phase. An oversaturated liquid precipitates or crystallizes at the least perturbation.
In order to obtain an oversaturated solution it is necessary to warm the solvent while dissolving a maximum of chemical matter then cool the solution as slowly as possible. In the cooling, or nucleation process, crystals will appear in an apparently random order.
By fixing a small amount of a given photographic bath on a glass slide for microscopic examination we can observe the crystallization process and, eventually, enlarge an interesting pattern with the normal photographic enlarger onto a film emulsion, in order to obtain an image that can be exploited by any photographic process, for its abstract nature
In our ongoing project we printed a series of these crystallization images and grouped these into triptychs. The palladium process was chosen for its amazing qualities which prints the image right into the paper structure and obtain a matte surface structure with sparkling whites and the full range of densities up to intense black.
No titles are given as the project has to be examined as a whole rather than a collection of individual images of the world of random nucleation in analog photographic baths.

René Smets (B), contemporary daguerreotype