Tuesday, February 3, 2009

subject echo: ectoplasm!




i saw Helga Härenstam's work on Conscientious, and enjoyed checking out her project "House of the Extraordinary." i especially liked reading the images in this series as contemporary, color explorations of the way technology and light can manifest as creepy and miraculous.

this reminded me of a book a friend recently gave me: Brought to Light: Photography and the Invisible 1840 - 1900 (from the SFMoMA exhibition). the book explores the early use of photography to capture "the realm beyond our everyday vision," from space photography to microscopic particles, X-rays, and even spirit photography.

Helga Härenstam's image (top) instantly reminded me of this 1912 photograph of a medium (and her viewer) from Brought to Light.

whether photography is attempting to capture ectoplasm, the human spirit, or the connection that happens the moment the shutter clicks, i think the best of it is still searching for that realm beyond our everyday vision.

6 comments:

stacy oborn said...

any subject line in my google reader that starts with "ectoplasm!" gets an immediate and gleeful click. i have a special fondness for spirit photography, or even pseudo-spirit photography, so i really appreciate the link to helga's work (and the link to the SFMOMA catalog!). there's a great out-of-print book by Bill Jay about the early history of photography, and it focuses a great deal on spirit work, delving deep into those weekly photography newsletters and periodicals appearing in Great Britain and the U.S. in the late 19th century. it's called "Cyanide and Spirits: an inside-out-view of the early history of photography."

Hugh Ryan said...

i just spent a fruitless hour trying to find an image to back this up, but that first photo reminds me of the moment in the movie "the matrix" when neo first goes to the oracle and meets all the psychic kids.

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Estie Mattheus (CBP ParBP) said...

if i could explain the mechanics of energy in words, it will have to fit with this picture - thank you. the mechanics of the realm beyond our everyday vision is beyond words ...

Enila* said...

Ectoplasm..i do think they can bring that soul sentation..xO

rrrich said...

I love this :)