Lumen Print process. Cameraless photogenic drawings made on expired black and white photo paper. The image is formed by contact between plants and photographic paper, exposed to direct sunlight for fifteen to thirty minutes to overexpose, veil partially the paper and obtain an image. Then, the image is digitized and finally each photogenic drawing is fixed for preservation.
In the isolation of a house, when everything seems to be reduced to a 1: 1 scale; the entire universe of plant species lives in my little garden. Anna Atkins was a botanist, and she was the first female photographer. She applied the cyanotype technique to make frames of plant species and published British Algae in 1843, the first photobook in history. Inspired by her work, during the quarantine I made a lot of lumen print frames of botanical species that inhabit my garden. Like cyanotype, the lumen print technique is also a very old primary process that provides unexpected colors that when fixed they vanished, leaving a faded-looking monochrome image. That is why I reproduce the photogenic drawing with a digital camera at the moment I open the photo frames that contain the assembly of photographic paper, plant species and glass. In that fleeting instant, before the image is completely veiled, I photograph the image, and then I put it in fixer liquid to obtain a photographic original. Although this original is the physical record of a photographic paper that accounts for what materially took place, the image seems rough compared to the chromatic splendor of the printing on cotton paper of the digital capture, sometimes used as if it were a negative and sometimes as a direct positive. From the blurred boundaries between science and art, the work takes up the aesthetics of exhibitors and showcases in natural science museums.
The work proposes a dialogue between a scientific past and contemporary art.
Alvarez Camila is an Argentine photographer and visual anthropologist (University of Buenos Aires). In her fieldwork she uses the camera as a research tool. In her artistic work she combines old and current technologies to generate pictorial images. She has worked as a researcher (Buenos Aires Secretary of Culture, Laboratory of Public Policies and Ministry of Education). The artist has taught Photography at the Faculty of Architecture, the School of Creative Photography, and she is a professor at and Node Center for Curatorial Studies (Berlin). She was benefited with grants (National Fund for the Arts, Metropolitan Fund, Municipal Fund for the Arts Vicente López, Research Grant 2019 of the National Academy of Fine Arts).
Her photographic work has been selected and awarded in many contests (1st Prize for the Lebensohn Foundation Photography Contest, 1st Prize for the Photography Competition for the College of Graduates in Anthropology, finalist for the Itaú Cultural Prize, selected for the National Prize of Visual Arts, Finalist for the AAMEC Prize for Contemporary Photography, Finalist in the Tucumán Visual Arts Salon, finalist in the Visual Arts Salon Félix Amador 2019).