Stilleven The Dutch word "stilleven" originally meant "inanimate object” or "immobile nature". In the European Renaissance various academies of art established statues and doctrines that resulted in a fixed hierarchical canon of painting genres. Still lifes were assigned to the lowest place in the hierarchy of genres while history paintings were at the top. Still lifes were concerned with the lower forms of life, inanimate nature, detail, the everyday. The still life genre was not interested in showing perfection. Instead it came to symbolize transience, the passing of time, and other reflective topics. The vanitas theme is also found in still life paintings. The presence of bruises and imperfections are symbolic of the inevitability of death. I’m drawn to the ethereal and unpredictable nature of collodion. This process originated in the late 19th century and is a very temperamental one that requires precise handling. Humidity, temperature, and dust all play a significant role in the final image. From the pouring of the collodion to sensitizing and developing, it is the active physical and contemplative role that I play in the “making of the photograph” that I find most rewarding. In this body of work I am exploring both the aesthetics of the still life and those of the wet plate glass negative process. The remnants and flaws typical of wet plate parallel the evidence of transience and vanitas we find in still life images.

 

ANGELA WALKER PHOTOGRAPHS