The meteoric disappearance of chemistry-based photographic materials over the past fifteen years has created a new interest in what is now referred to as analogue photography. Alison Rossiter has been systematically collecting unprocessed samples of photographic material—both film and paper—from each decade of the 20th century. She processes the materials as they were intended—the films and papers are run through the various stages of chemistry—but without exposing them to either image or light of any kind. Paper samples are exhibited as is, whereas sheet films are contact-printed onto contemporary gelatin silver paper; the raw material itself—mottled, accidentally exposed, streaked and stained—becomes the object of contemplation.
This would have been an unimaginable project just some twenty-five years ago when graded gelatin silver papers of every variety were still widely available and the norm. At this point in history, as news of the folding of company after company is announced, this seemingly simple work both honours the material support of the medium and embodies its diversity.
The piece at hand is comprised of four individual sheets of Luxus Bromosa paper manufactured by the Mimosa company of Dresden, Germany, sold by the manufacturer in 3x4 inch sheets, processed and arranged as you see by the artist.