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  • Writer's pictureChiara

Looking forward

I began this project with a proposal and a review of my earlier autobiographical work related to trauma. I was concerned with finding media and techniques compatible with working in my home studio while maintaining qualities of photographic realism and tactile materiality. At the same time I wanted to focus on actions that reflect my conceptual intentions and to explore more spontaneous ways of working. My emphasis was on affective rather than narrative content.

The working context around pandemic-related restrictions continued to shift throughout the project, which in turn shifted the materials and working methods open to me. I found myself exploring many more techniques than I normally would in a semester's work and . I am therefore left with an number of open-ended bodies of work and avenues which I can continue to explore.

Despite significant time and effort devoted to the cyanotype process I have yet to find the combination of parameters which give me consistent results at home. Having access to the University facilities will help solve that puzzle, but COVID-19 isn't going away yet, so working out a process I can use at home remains a priority. It seems that a face tanning unit or grow light may be the way forward.

My Domestic, Skies and Dark hours series have potential to continue. For the first I have dozens of photos yet to be edited and the potential to set up further shoots and recordings. The latter two are open ended. In terms of materiality, it seemed important to print out and install the Domestic images. It was as if I needed to make the photographic record tangible even though the images were installed simply as digital prints. Finding a satisfying way of embodying my Skies images is still a challenge. The paper I found and used only goes part way to meeting my desired criteria in that it is not as transparent as I would like and at the same time I have doubts about its ability to hold stitching if I were to bind the pages as I originally intended. Further research and experimentation is required. The Dark Hours pieces encapsulate a new way of working for me. I can envisage carrying aspects of this mixed media approach forward into new projects.

Drawing onto digital prints has captured my imagination and is a simple way of incorporating analogue elements into digital work. I'm interested to see what I can do with altered or defaced portraits in the future. The Nan Goldin works were frankly an unexpected digression. In terms of materiality I am happy for these to exist as purely digital images, since they are in their very nature an illusion. They are also a powerful way of identifying my trauma with the trauma of others.

Tomorrow I have access to the RMIT Print studio! I have a second state of my lino block experiment carved, a second block also carved and ready to print and blocks prepared for reduction linocuts to explore the tonal elements of my self portrait. The prospect of being able to work with the etching and lithography presses, ferric chloride bath and screen printing facilities is tantalising reality.

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