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LOOK TO THE MOUNTAIN

2022

FRAMED SALT PRINT 

43 x 38 cm

LOOK TO THE MOUNTAIN

Five unique handmade salt prints

2022

Notice to the Reader - The plates of the present work are impressed by the agency of Light alone, without any aid whatever from the artist's pencil. They are the sun-pictures themselves, and not, as some persons have imagined, engravings in imitation.

A note written in The Pencil of Nature (1844-46) from William Henry Fox Talbot (1800 - 1877). The first commercially published book to be illustrated with photographs. Salt printing was the first photographic process for producing positive prints (from negatives), a technique invented by Talbot in the mid-1830s. He made what he called "sensitive paper" for "photographic drawings" by wetting a sheet of writing paper with a weak solution of ordinary table salt (sodium chloride), blotting and drying it, then brushing one side with strong solution of silver nitrate. With this same technique I made "photographic drawing", to use the words of Talbot, of the Clock of the Long Now. A clock made for the coming 10,000 years, a monument for long term thinking. A rare invitation to think and engineer at the timescale of civilization. It offers an enduring symbol of our personal connection to the distant future. To be precise, the images are made of a prototype standing in the Science museum of London, the actual clock is under construction. They are building the clock inside a mountain in West Texas. Once completed, the clock will stand 500 feet tall and will be powered by the Earth's thermal cycles. The title LOOK TO THE MOUNTAIN refers to the phrase "pin peyeh obe"- look to the mountain. The Tewa Indians from the American Southwest use this phrase to remind us that we need to look at things as if we are looking out from the top of a mountain, seeing things in the much broader perspective of the generations that are yet to come. They remind us that in dealing with the landscape, we must think in terms of a ten-thousand-, twenty-thousand-, or thirthy-thousand-year relationship.

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Instalation view, HISK Open Studios 2022 

Among the most widely admired of Talbot's compositions, The Open Door is a conscious attempt to create a photographic image in accord with the renewed British taste for Dutch genre painting of the seventeenth century. In his commentary in The Pencil of Nature, where this image appeared as plate 6, Talbot wrote, "We have sufficient authority in the Dutch school of art, for taking as subjects of representation scenes of daily and familiar occurrence. A painter's eye will often be arrested where ordinary people see nothing remarkable." With this concept in mind, Talbot turned away from the historic buildings of Lacock Abbey and focused instead on the old stone doorframe and simple wooden door of the stable and on the humble broom, harness, and lantern as vehicles for an essay on light and shadow, interior and exterior, form and texture. -Harold White (1902–1983), Filby, Norfolk, England; [Hans P. Kraus, Jr., New York]; Gilman Paper Company Collection, New York, January 21, 1988

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The Open Door

William Henry Fox Talbot (British, Dorset 1800–1877 Lacock)

before May 1844

Salted paper print from paper negative

Image: 14.3 x 19.4 cm 

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LOOK TO THE MOUNTAIN

2022

FRAMED SALT PRINT 

43 x 38 cm

Each series will have unique properties because a new handmade light-sensitive emulsion will be created each time. Small differences in the compositions will cause a different result in colour as well as slight differences in tone. Because they are handmade prints, it is also impossible to print them exactly the same every time.

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Detail of handmade salt print, Long Now, I, 2022 

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LOOK TO THE MOUNTAIN

2022

FRAMED SALT PRINT 

43 x 38 cm