In my artistic research project ‘The sustainist gaze’, I examine the link between photography and Sustainist Design. The latter is a movement that argues in favour of design processes with a focus on ecology, innovation, craftsmanship and sustainability within a strong social context. Regarding photography from this perspective made me doubt the self-evidence of my own predominantly digital work process and prompted me to return to ecological and traditionally analogue processes that were at the root of the discovery of photography.
One of these processes is the anthotype described by Sir John Herschel in 1842. It is an organic process that affects the discolouration of natural pigments exposed to UV light. An anthotype is created by applying a photosensitive emulsion made from the colour pigments of plants, berries and flowers to a and exposing it to sunlight for several days or weeks.
In my project, I approach contemporary topics from the perspective of this old technique. One of these topics is to photograph polluted areas using the anthotype process. What makes these images unique is that they are created using plants from the location itself. In other words, the landscape contributes to the final image and, in doing so, adds a deeper layer to the work. An anthotype print is not a snapshot, but rather a tactile recollection of a moment in time that slowly fades, while continuing to carry its history and message with it.