black-and-white prints (photographs)
Art and Design | Art Practice
Two opposing emotional states are always present simultaneously in all aspects of my life. I believe it has to do with the knowledge of the impermanence of the moment beauty, whether by observation of experience, is always fleeting and there is a melancholia in that realization that I wish to express both in my portraits and in my landscapes. When I look at the land, I experience both a sense of fulfillment and a sense of emptiness, or being surrounded and being isolated, and of being content in the moment and also feeling the painful tinge of nostalgia. The word "nostalgia" comes from the combination of the Greek words "nosos," return to the native land, and "algos," suffering or grief. Johannes Hofer, the originator of this term, described nostalgia as the "pain that comes from the intense but unfulfilled desire to go home." I also explore two geographical regions and how those relate to themes of home. I photographed places of importance to me in both Washington and Oregon, the two states that I call "home." As I left Washington at one time, and now prepare to leave Oregon, my sense of what home means has become clouded. By photographing the places that I love, I am placing myself into the landscape in an attempt to find a part of myself. It is these two liminal states, one of mentality and one of physical place, that my work, and myself, navigate.
The Lith printing process imbues my images with an emotional and visceral quality that I feel accurately captures my feelings at the time the image was taken. Lith is an alternative development process that slowly develops and overexposes prints. The chemicals are hard to control and predict, and they start to infect the print like a disease, developing one part but not another or creating lots of tiny speckles. The end result is an image that is high contrast, somewhat painterly and soft, and often with a slight hint of antique color. What I love most about the process is that each image is unique because you can have all the same conditions for two identical prints and the developer will react in two completely different ways. The Lith gives the prints a feeling of age, of mystery, and creates a moody atmosphere where the landscape can be seen through a darkly romantic lens.
Pate, Alison, "Skagit Valley, Washington" (2012). 2012 Student Thesis Exhibition. Image. Submission 6.