Unique gelatin silver paper negatives
Courtesy of the artist & Stephen Wirtz Gallery
Sunburned GSP #437 (Washington), 2010
McCaw investigates the primal side of photography by using its most basic components - a lens, time, and light. While attempting to photograph the night sky several years ago, McCaw fell asleep and woke up too late to end the exposure, discovering that the rising sun produced a violent change in his negative. He learned to control this change to create unique, first-generation images that engage the sun itself as a collaborative partner in the photographic process, a series entited Sunburn.
He creates hand-built cameras of varying sizes, designed to accommodate vintage gelatin silver B&W paper in place of film, with special military-reconnaissance optics. The intense light naturally solarizes the paper, wherein negative becomes positive through extreme over-exposure. What remains is evidence of the passage of time, rendered with a destructive mark as the exposure process scorches, scars, and stains the paper.
EcoArchive: Meditations on Time and Nature
November 3, 2010 – January 22, 2011
Intersection for the Arts
San Francisco, CA
Photo credit: Scott Chernis