Experimenting With The Uncertainty of Photography

This summer has been a good break for me just to take a step back and research photographers and the history of photography. I’ve had the chance to be inspired by the works I’ve read about in history of photography books, seen in videos, and viewed on various other sites on the web.

What I’m learning is how much I love the variability of photography. When photography was just beginning in the late 1800s, there were so many people out there working with the medium and essentially defining what a photographer is. One photographer who I am absolutely fascinated with is Julia Margaret Cameron. Her work and her life are both incredibly inspiring to me. In my own work, I have always been one who just tries new things and embraces the imperfections in the process. So naturally, when I saw Julia Margaret Cameron’s work I was taken in by it.

So this summer I studied, I watched, and I experimented. In a day and age where perfection to the point of faking it is the norm, it was refreshing to play with soft focus, scratches & finger prints on the negatives, and movement.

To begin, I started off with a digital camera. I would have liked to shoot film and will probably do so the farther in to this series I get, but to start I used a digital camera. After I had an image that I was happy with I created a digital negative from it. From there I made a cyanotype and then tea-toned them.

I was very happy with the finished “test” print:

©Emily Pate “Among The Flowers_Image 1”

And the second “test” print:

©Emily Pate “Among The Flowers_Image 2”

It’s always interesting to me to see the process of how to get to start to finish of an image. There is so much work that goes in to what you see at the end- some of it planned, some of it not. To me, the art is just as much in the process as it is in the final work.


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