C Wright Daniel

Artist Blog by Nicholas Albrecht

In closing, as my last post, I would like to show the work of C Wright Daniel. I met Wright some years ago while we were both working/teaching at the Harvey Milk Photo Center in San Francisco. I noticed he would take fully exposed (all black) RC prints and run them through the Fiber paper dryer. The result was a black piece of photographic paper with streaks of shiny areas. I imagine those were produced by the heat of the fiber dryer burning in some way the resin on the paper. I thought the result was an incredible image. As time went by I saw more and more of these images coming from him.

As he puts it »I am trying to explore what photography is by understanding its materiality. In doing so I have been working with the materials that construct the actual photograph itself: light, chemistry, silver gelatin.«

I find it great that in »…exploring what photography is,« he has chosen to not use a camera in any way. This is a very different approach from Max Kellenberger’s method of creating the images in Blues, although the camera is at least partially missing in both scenarios. Regardless of method, in Max’s Blues we can still identify with the subject/object of the image, keeping the discourse still within the parameters of representation. Wright’s work is looking at a photograph in the most abstract of ways possible, losing any relation to what we have believed photography to be for so long: a replica of something. Although taken to a stage where only the physical actions of the analog photographic process are shown, I find his work to show the greatness of what photography can do. In some ways the photograph becomes the creation of something that has never existed, it represents the image in its ontological sense. What I love so much about photography is that this can be achieved in a portrait, landscape, still life or any other kind of photography.

Like in other cases, the best way for this work to be viewed is in person, looking at the actual print.

Thank you Der Greif for this opportunity and congratulations on what a great magazine you have put together!

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