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Which clippings match 'Botanical' keyword pg.1 of 1
05 FEBRUARY 2012

Joyce Campbell's Garden of Ambrotype Peculiarities

"L.A. Botanical is, specifically, a series of ambrotypes, an early form of photography, invented in 1850, the same year that the City of Los Angeles was incorporated as a municipality. At the time, the population comprised a mere 1,610 hardy souls. The population explosion of the following 150 years into the Los Angeles we know today resembles (from an imaginary aerial vantage point) an algal bloom, or bacterial inflorescence[ii]–the visible record of a natural imbalance

Ambrotypes are negative images on glass plates which, when shown against a black backdrop, appear to be positive. The name comes from the Greek ambrotos, 'immortal', a rather poetic way of evoking the power of photography to fix forever the fragile moment. Plants, particularly flowers, have long been the favorite metaphor of poets, painters, and now photographers for the passage of time–they are our most consistent reminder of mortality, and yet our most frequent solace at times of bereavement.

Though the ambrotype predates early moving pictures, Campbell's use of antique photography can't help but remind viewers of its sister medium, film, and the attendant connection with Los Angeles as a national and global 'dream factory' (or, indeed, that these technologies played their part in swelling the population of the fledgling city). Campbell's humble backyard blooms become, in L.A. Botanical, stars. The silver nitrate of the photographic process is linked, chemically and etymologically, to the silver screens onto which early films were projected. Campbell's botanical 'immortals' have been bequeathed eternal 'limelight' (another chemical process which, due to its use in theatrical lighting, is forever associated with fame)."

(Tessa Laird, 2006–2007)

Fig.1 "Black Walnut, Antifungal, anti–parasitic, antiseptic, herbicide and hair dye. To treat thrush, candida, ringworm and internal parasites. Ellagic acid and Juglone are being investigated as cancer treatments."

Fig.2 "Turpentine, From Ponderosa Pine, Paint thinner, solvent, liniment, antiseptic and treatment for lice and tapeworm."

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TAGS

1850 • ambrotype • antique photography • Aotearoa New ZealandartistAucklandblackbotanical • chemical process • City of Los Angeles • creative practice • fix forever • flowers • fragile moment • fragility • glass plate • immortal • Joyce Campbell • L.A. Botanical • Los Angelesmetaphormomentmoving pictures • negatives • New Zealand artistpassage of timephotographer • photographic process • photographyplantplant information • silver nitrate • specimenstasisstill life photography • visible record • visual spectaclewoman photographer

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
03 MAY 2010

The Mutato-Archive: a collection of non-standard fruits, roots and vegetables

"The Mutato–Archive is a collection of non–standard fruits, roots and vegetables, displaying a dazzling variety of forms, colours and textures... The complete absence of botanical anomalies in our supermarkets has caused us to regard the consistency of produce presented there as natural. Produce has become a highly designed, monotonous product. ... The Mutato–Project serves to document, preserve and promote these last survivors of biological variety."

(Uli Westphal, 2006)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
28 DECEMBER 2003

Natural History Collections: Books Furnished With Structures

"At the institutional level, the inevitable correlatives of this patterning were botanical gardens and natural history collections. And their importance, for Classical culture, does not lie essentially in what they make it possible to see, but in what they hide and in what, by this process of obliteration, they allow to emerge: they screen off anatomy and function, they conceal the organism, in order to raise up before the eyes of those who await the truth the visible relief of forms, with their elements, their mode of distribution, and their measurements. They are books furnished with structures, the space in which characteristics combine, and in which classifications are physically displayed."
(Michel Foucault, The Order Of Things p. 150)

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