Sunday, January 30, 2011

Black gold

Phil Nesmith sent word about his latest project, Flow, "a new series of wet collodion black glass ambrotypes made on the Gulf coast in Louisiana during the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster".

As he showed already with his previous work My Baghdad - where he made ferrotypes from digital shots taken during his one year stint in Iraq - Nesmith has the ability to use alternative photographic processes to go deeper into contemporary issues, this time using the wet collodion process to better capture the spirit of the disaster caused by an endless flow of the black gold.

"It is fitting to use a photographic method from the time when our lust for oil was just beginning in order to capture the spirit of the disaster". [...]

"In 1859 Edwin L. Drake, working for the Seneca Oil Company in Pennsylvania, drilled the first modern oil well, ushering in the beginning of America's oil boom and our worldwide dependence on this resource. At the same time, the wet collodion photographic process that I used for this project was revolutionizing what photography could capture, ultimately changing the way people saw the world. The use of oil would expand until modern life could not exist as we know it without a continual supply".

Find two reviews of the Flow exhibition here and here, and you also might want to have a look at Nesmith's own blog, The Visual Adventure.

All images taken from Flow © Phil Nesmith


sandro said...

Queste fotografie sono davvero suggestive, ma non so dire ancora se la suggestione viene dall'uso dello strumento "antico" che le ricopre di un fascino polveroso senza connotazione temporale o dal racconto in sè, di un fatto di attualità con uno strumento davvero poco attuale.
Si fa di tutto per distinguersi al giorno d'oggi e bisogna chiedersi fino a che punto la tecnica (interessantissima per gli appassionati) e la "decorazione" (perché anche qui di questo si tratta, visto l'autore si è imposto di usare uno strumento "obsoleto", non certo per necessità) sia davvero funzionale allo scopo.
Per me, qui forse sì.

Karen Desnick said...

I look at a lot of photography. And every once in awhile
I just say, "Wow!" This is wonderful work. Thank you for posting and I will share it with others.