Information and discussion on all aspects of British photographic history
Come attend the launch of the Lumsden Biscuit - an edible series of photographs
The short story:
The ‘Lumsden Biscuit’ functions as a visual translation of how early photographic imaging, i.e. the photogram, can become re-introduced into an artistic lexicon as it was at the height of its use in the 19th century.
The long story:
Artist, Sylvia Grace Borda, meticulously recorded a number of local flora species around Lumsden through the photogram process - a camera less technique over the last two years. Not unlike the cyanotype photograms of botanical specimens by the British photographer and botanist, Anna Atkins (1799 –1871), the aim was to make photogram impressions of local flora found in the village countryside, such as rowan berries, hawthorn twigs, ivy, snowdrops, fern, and wild grasses, among other native wild plants.
However from this point, there is a significant diversion from the earlier use of photograms to create photographic albums and observational journals. In the second stage of the process, the artist purposely re-translates the developed photogram images into the tangible form of an everyday object – namely a biscuit mould.
Each of the flora images become the ‘negatives’ for a series of biscuit moulds (shortbread-baking) sculpted by the artist. In the same way that photographic printing plates, such as low relief copper and zinc tablets, enabled the first mass produced photographs in newspapers and magazines, the biscuit moulds become the ‘negative’ plates for a different kind of ‘mass production’.
The outcome is a series of ‘edible photographs’ uniquely shaped from the photogram imprints of local flora.
The success of the project has lead to a social enterprise that ensures the resulting biscuits (aka edible photographs) will be reproduced as open multiples with the Lumsden moulds.
A seemingly traditional analogue photographic technique is thus translated into a new channel for distribution and ‘real consumption’. This is closely analogous to public consumption of photography made possible by simpler cameras and photographic reproduction.
In a time when our understanding of photography as a medium and social innovation has become oversimplified in a digital era, the Lumsden Biscuit profiles a means to revisit the origins of photographic imaging so that we can again innovate photography into new forms of consumption and expression.
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