|Wendy Stefansson. Drop. Silver leaf on birch panel, 2005-2007.|
"You are not a drop in the ocean.
You are the entire ocean in a drop." Rumi
This was the first in a series of works in which I attempted to deconstruct traditional photography. Silver gelatin was one of the main ingredients in the emulsion in black-and-white film photography. When exposed to light and specific chemicals, it darkened in certain areas and clarified in others.
This work was made by applying silver leaf to a birch panel, and leaving it to tarnish naturally for two years. I then took silver polish and drew into the tarnish, mimicking what is traditionally women's work -- cleaning family heirlooms. Protecting our inheritance.
I cleaned the areas I wanted to be light, leaving the tarnish untouched in the shadows. Experimenting with masking off areas, and applying the polish in different ways to create gradients of tone, and variations in texture.
It was my first handmade photo.
To see a more recent silver leaf work, see Off Grid.