My silver gelatin prints with photogram elements (Photo+Craft)

© Ellie Ivanova, Playing with the Strings of the Past (2010)

Lightbox Photographic Gallery in Astoria, OR, has made its name promoting film and traditional photographic methods as well as alternative processes. Its upcoming national juried show, Photo+Craft, focuses on works that have a strong conceptual voice balanced with a high level of craftsmanship. Two of my silver gelatin prints with photogram elements will be part of this exciting exhibition.

I realize I haven’t written here about this process that I started working on recently. Since I take exception to the concept of photography as a transparent representation of reality, these recent explorations have led me to ways in which photography tweaks and interprets the world instead of simply registering it.

In combining the classic silver gelatin process with photogram, my goal is to add an element of explanation to the simply visible. The photogram elements modify not just the visual profile of the photograph, but comment on its meaning and ultimately change its message. A little girl absorbed by her wand appears to be playing with a sticky ribbon in this added reality. What would be simply romantic or tragic turns to be skeptical or reflective.

I value these photogram elements also because they make for hand crafted photography in terms of uniqueness of each image and the hand skill necessary for making it happen. In the end, as in each kind of craft, its effectiveness depends not only on the skillfulness or the final meaning, but also on the serendipity of their combination.

If you happen to be in Astoria, OR, stop by the gallery. All works in the exhibition present interesting approaches of using craftsmanshio for conveying conceptual messages. The show opens on August 13, 2011 and runs until October 2.

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