So along the same lines of The Composted Prints , I am interested in altering the prints after they are printed. This was a set I did during one of my frequant trips to Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Ca. I place I draw a lot of centering and calm from. I decided months ago to allow the peace in my mind, the meditation and connection to take photos.
I took a lot of photos this trip never changing focus or any camera setting during the adventure. The question was what to do with these photos after ward. I started with
Tides , After a while a was unhappy with these images and reedited the photos and produced a different look. While I enjoy this image I wanted something more, I felt that the images were not the thing that I have found so consoling, but simply a representation of such. So I began looking to it in a different way.
I made prints of the Individual images in the larger piece. At 5×5 they are not large but big enough to take notice. This last weekend I spent some meditative time at the location and collected some of the tide waters as i was there. After coming home in the evening with a jar full of ocean water, I shoved 4 of the prints into the salted water. Forty Eight hours passed with no changes to the images, and i was beginning to thing that this would be an exercise in idea rather than physical alteration.
I awoke this morning to sudden and noticeable change, there was cyan flecks floating in the ocean water and the prints had been forever changes to the one of a kind images.
So when I was working on the cycles project I made some C-Type prints of all photos I took of the jars. Cycles had always been a project I wanted to go on for a while and it led me to create a small home compost jar for my kitchen waste. Inspired by Matthew Brandt I decided to add the prints to the pile.
I added the photos to the compost on March 1st and pulled them out of the compost on the 5th and was pleasantly surprised by the changes in only a few days. Large swathes of red are now apparent on the print, oranges and yellows are streaked amongst the previously high key greens and browns. The white has been stained in a great umber color.
Overall I am very happy with these results and will do it with the remainder of the prints. I am very curious to see what may happen as the the compost continues to break down will different chemical compounds reveal themselves and effect the print. Also the compost is extremely moist right now and I am waiting to see what will happen as it dries out.
So this is going to be the last update to this project. I want it to morph into something new. My friends are dying and I have not been able to help them. The people I have spoken to believe its the sudden chilly weather in San Diego. This is several day late I know finals are looming and I have not been able to get to posting.
There is still something poetic in this it is kind of a perfect life cycle beginning to end. The ups and downs growth death and rebirth.
So I am honestly not behind on the project I have stuck to my days for the photographs, wordpress was stuck on posting everything I did as a page so I kinda gave up until today.
So we have neared the two month point…
The compost jar is some what in a stagnant place though things continue to change it is less and less notable. The compost is dark and rich and very moist, i truly think that mixed with soil it would begin to be a great growing platform. The growth jar has run into an issue some of the plants are some what unhealthy, they are wilted and yellow and growth has slowed. The the plants that seem the strongest are still climbing out of the top. I am not sure what is going on here but over the last week the weather has changed rapidly in San Diego, so the much cooler nights may be partly to blame, also the water requirement of my friends seems to have increased I am noticing the soil being dried out much quicker than before, and even the typically reserved water in the bottom of the jar is gone.
So what is my plan, I am going to move the jars inside during the evenings hopefully keeping them warmer and take them out during the still warm days. Secondly I am going to increase the amount of water I am giving the friends. Hopefully that will help in getting them to grow a little stronger again. Hopefully if the are strong next week I can consider moving them to a new vessel and starting this one again.
The struggle of the plants actually makes me think about life again, and in some ways reflect upon things in myself. Some times people just need a little more warmth, and TLC. Perhaps it is a analogy for not taking care of our selves well enough, or needing the kindness an compassion of others to continue to thrive and grow.
I am still on the fence on how often i should shoot these images. Many times through out the last week I have looked at the terrarium and thought maybe today is the day. I held out for the full week to show the drastic changes overall. For this set i slightly changed the camera angle in order to show the level of decomposition in the Compost. I found that shooting from the slightly above angle did not show the degree of change that actually happened.
To this point I still have added nothing to Growing only opening the top to allow for some fresh air in. Compost was turned after the photo in order to not disturb the level of change.
Below are the 14 days collected together
Life exists in cycles from decay to growth and back again. This is a concept that I find intriguing and decided to explore in small controlled environments. In one terrarium is kitchen waste and soil, in the other is fresh organic soil and seeds planted. Over the next several weeks I am going to be documenting the changes of the micro environments.
This project is exploring many things life and death, entropy and organization, impermanence of life. The concept of life and death, growth and decay are ideas that fascinate me. Composting jar decays and starts to become the carbon and nutrients that make up the waste in it the Growing jar will rise, the plants will grow and become stranger. These will be displayed together to show the cycle as at happens. Showing that even as something dies and decays another thing grows healthy and strong. Autumn leaves fall onto the ground through the wet months of winter if left where they are the begin to matt down creating a protective blanket over new seeds on the ground. The leaves decay and become part of the soil then begin to feed the new life that grows beneath, come spring new life climbs through the soil, and new flowers bloom.
Not to mention exploring environmental issues as well. Our current farming system in The united states is no longer sustainable, the Americas are some of the most fertile lands in the world and we are poisoning it by chemical fertilizers and poisons, by not correctly rotating crops we destroy soil, To a point it will no longer grow anything. We throw into the garbage things that can be used to create fertile soil. My whole idea is to start a project that becomes sustainable in its own microenvironment. As my compost become soil i can use that new soil to build new environments. Anna Mia Davidson was a large inspiration for this project, her work with sustainability through her project “The Farm” really moved me. The length of her works is one of the things that wanted me to devote so much time to this project. Michael wolf was the inspiration for the grid display.
Viewing Chasing Ice was a semi life changing experience not only in my view of imagery but also in the sense that my firm concern for climate change is more affirmed. Visually I find James Balog’s work impactful. The sheer scale of the photographs, and scenery stun the imagination, and these places are not imagined. Like a scene in Lord of the Rings the scale of the forces at work, size and impact leaves one bewildered. I think if you muted the entire you documentary the impact would be the same. Oddly enough the project idea that Balog is working on is not an uncommon one, I have heard this project recommended to people and myself many time, his is on a grand scale. The project generally consists of photographing the same spot during different times of day, seasons, years and yes even hours. Balog took this to an extreme scale, but it worked, the still photo time lapse of the thawing and receding of the glaciers created for an impactful series of images, especially when viewed together in the video.
Any of the still in Chasing Ice would be amazing works of art on there own. The scale and beautiful cyans of the glacial ice are impactful. To me they make me want to brave the cold to photograph it for myself before they are all gone. Chris’ inclusion of people or other objects for scale was very important for giving us a reference to the size of these natural monument. Small minuscule humans on a vast blue land scape of ice, we are forced to see ourselves as the man dangling from the ropes into the cavern. The lines of the melting layers run us through the image. Deep shadows give the idea of great depth in the fissures in the glacier.
This film also exposes the shocking truth of climate change. At the time this was filmed every one was still referring to climate change as global warming, the change in terminology from then until the modern times, I feel is important, people are more accepting of the new term and more willing to make a change, or support change.
Balog states that he wanted to be sure he could tell his adult children and grand children that he did every thing he could to bring to light the serious world problems. He worked tirelessly to create this fantastic work of art. He risked his health, emotional stability all to create an impactful work of art that will last the ages.