West / East
WEST / EAST (1995--1996)
After graduating from college I decided to move West. My goal was New Mexico for the mix of Native culture, Spanish speakers (I had lived in Spain my junior year of college), and vibrant artistic communities. I drove around New Mexico and lived there for a few months. However my work and living situation were not what I'd hoped so I decided to move on. I ended up living, working and driving around the Southwest for about eight months. I drove New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Arizona, and California (with a couple short dips into Mexico). I stayed with my grandmother in California for a week to rest (I was sick and rundown) and get my windshield repaired (I had hit a mule deer outside of Jackson, Wyoming). I made my way to the Pacific Ocean then turned around rather abruptly and made it back to WI in two and half days.
I had only taken one photography course at the end of my undergraduate years but that was in black and white. I had always taken pictures but only in color--and color was always more appealing to me. As I traveled the West I made many photos in color--none of them particularly creative yet I was passionately trying to show the silent, enormous expanse of the West. I also kept paper records of my travels. Every receipt, tour slip, brochure, memento was saved.
Back in WI (Milwaukee) - Studying photo installation, traditional color darkroom and printing
When I returned home I collaged these slips together to create surfaces on which I projected slides I'd made of those places. I was layering images of the place over the physical record of the place. I eventually also made multiple exposures in camera and in the darkroom to reflect memory's workings. In one place I often would remember the imagery or feeling of another place far away. So I would sandwich the negatives together in the darkroom or do multiple exposures on color paper.
It was here that I learned a process by which one uses black and white negatives projected by the enlarger (dialed into pure white light as opposed to a "color pack") onto color paper, exposing each layer of the paper by hand with color gels. The process is very unpredictable yet yields rich colors. Areas can be purposefully blocked out with paper cutouts to give results similar to screenprinting. I present here the select results of that process as well as some multiple exposures done in-camera and in the color darkroom (sandwiched negatives).