From The Journal of Contemporary Photography Volume VI, 2003, “What But Design of Darkness to Appall?” by Lee Fontanella

June 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

“…His ‘Guests’ series is a cast of characters who have appeared to him: in dreams, as integral aspects of the Self, as aspects that the Self might incorporate, or sometimes even as foes (“the brightest ones, burning with intense radiation,” Bucklow told me)…

Every photographic Guest—to distinguish them from those who might have appeared yet photographically unconcretized, in Bucklow’s imaginings—begins with a tracing onto foil of a Guest’s silhouette. (In this sense, I am tempted to think of them as incorporative of image-making that antedates photogenic drawing by another century.) Bucklow then laboriously, not randomly, makes thousands of pinpricks in the foil, through which light will eventually pass to a sensitized sheet. (All back-grounds apart from red or yellow are natural colors; red and yellow are produced by filters.) Colors can signify, but the amount of radiance achieved through pinpricking, including haloing, may signify as well. Bucklow varies the widths and frequency of the holes, depending upon the amount of light that a particular portion of the Guest should absorb in order to signal a certain quality or tone of the Guest, thus allowing the Guest to appear to emanate the light in return. It is in this illusion of consequent illumination on the part of the Guest, of this being a galaxy of suns, of the Guest’s re-diffusion of the light by which it was created, that I personally find the surpassing of the earliest photography, insofar as early photography was made to satisfy other ambitions.”

Christopher Bucklow

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