The Luminous Landscape Grant

Submission Info

The Burren

Caroline Minchew - Virginia, USA

The Burren, a karstic landscape in Ireland, is a visual archive of the interaction between humans and natural forces. I will photograph with a large format camera and create platinum-palladium prints along with text of personal experience, history, and the mysticism of the landscape. I plan to create hand bound portfolios of the platinum prints to finish the project.

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Darkness sweeps in overwhelmingly, canceling out noise, providing comfort and fear. In the photographic landscape, the absence of light and ability to create images that push and pull between the dark and light insights immediate intangible, emotional responses visually for what we fail to put to words. The process of shrouding under a dark cloth, chemically developing a negative, and exposing it to a light-sensitive coated paper all work together to release and render a created image. In my work, I photograph to resurrect memory and formulate a visual strangeness and starkness I feel under the cover of a landscape. The process of shrouding under darkness begins with intimately entering an environment alone, and completes the circle with the formal elements of a photographic print: tone, balance, and structure.

I photograph using a large format camera, and print negatives using historic and alternative processes such as platinum-palladium. Previously I photographed a series centric on an undisclosed pond in the southern landscape of eastern Tennessee, printing the large format negatives in silver gelatin and writing poetry to accompany the photographs. Currently I am focusing on a series of unaccompanied forest walks in the landscape of northern Virginia where I was raised and explored as a child. Seeking to capture light patterns that break through the canopy, I am printing these in platinum and palladium.

I received my BFA in Fine Arts in 2014 from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee. For the last three years I have been working at The National Gallery of Art Photograph Conservation Department on a publication surrounding the history, conservation, and ascetics of platinum prints. This position afforded me with considerable time to research and learn the chemistry and different photographic techniques to use within the medium of the platinum print, which I apply to my own work.

I have been awarded an artist residency at Burren College of Art in Ballyvaughan, Ireland for six weeks this winter. I plan to photograph the surrounding landscape of The Burren, print in platinum and palladium, and incorporate the history, tradition, and mysticism of the landscape into a new body of work. The visual starkness of the karst earth immediately inspired me to travel to the particular landscape to begin this new work. Funding would be used towards purchasing photographic materials as well as assisting with travel costs to and while in Ireland.




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