Art Uncovered - The Chemistry of Light

Premiere DateMar 12, 2013
00:00 Tessa Traeger pt. 1
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05:29 Salad Days Young Marble Giants
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07:27 Tessa Traeger pt. 2
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11:22 Celebrate the Mundane Grass Widow
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13:42 Tessa Traeger pt. 3
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18:32 The Chalet Lines Belle and Sebastian
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20:56 Tessa Traeger pt. 4
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24:28 Saltwater Beach House
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27:33 Tessa Traeger pt. 5
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31:27 My Little Corner of the World Yo La Tengo
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33:47 Tessa Traeger pt. 6
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37:21 Jams Run Free Sonic Youth
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40:52 Finish
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Photographer Tessa Traeger’s newest project is based on a collection of 19th century glass plate negatives given to her by a great uncle. For the project, she rephotographed these old plate negatives as still lives, using natural light and mirrors to highlight the dramatic forms of chemical decay that have transformed the negatives over their hundred plus years in storage.The results are ghostly, dreamlike views of Victorian England. Some of Tessa’s photographs show everyday scenes, like a crowd at the beach. Other images are abstractions in which the negative’s curled or damaged emulation creates rainbows of color and folds of texture that nearly obscure the photograph’s subject.

According to Tessa, The Chemistry of Light is also about photography itself. She says that as chemical processes give way to digital technology, her collection of  damaged and decaying photographs serves as a metaphor for the death of analog photography as a medium.

Recently, I spoke with Tessa over the phone while The Chemistry of Light was on view at Purdy Hicks gallery in London. The exhibition has since closed, but you can see the photographs on Tessa’s website.

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Host Thomas
Thomas grew up in Northern California where he fell in love with music and photography while going to punk shows and shooting skate photos. He photography in college, which may or may not qualify him to host an…

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