ART + SCIENCE: Cole Caswell
Cole Caswell’s photographic series entitled The Source examines our solar system’s star – the sun. It is both concealed and revealed by trees, clouds, power lines and atmosphere. Traces of his photographic process, wet plate collodion, are visually evident by the unaltered chemical reactions within each photograph. Caswell uses this scientific process to engage the viewer, but it also acts as a catalyst which transforms photographs of the sun and clouds to reflect an augmented interpretation of the natural world in which we all live, one that intrigues and ignites an emotional reaction.
Cole Caswell researches the remnants and patterns in our landscape that reflect contemporary strategies of survival. Through strata of observation, technology, subjectivity, and his surroundings, Caswell investigates geography and its impact on our perceived ability to survive. He uses traditional, historical and digital photographic media—including tintypes, environmental data sets, and augmented sampling procedures—to investigate our present condition. Cole received an interdisciplinary M.F.A. from the Maine College of Art, and has been working, living and traveling throughout the county in a nomadic format. At present, he is exploring one’s ability to subsist within our contemporary environment while furthering his inquirers into emergent and experimental photographic processes, perspectives, and applications. His studio is located on Peaks Island off the coast of Maine.
As an artist I run and create experiments that aim to explore space as a complex negotiation of subjectivity and landscape. My use of wet plate collodion hinges on an interest in its flexible application and ability to reveal aspects of our contemporary world. Exploiting the tintype in contemporary ways, I negotiate and reflect upon the reciprocal relationship of subjectivity and geography and the way space is experienced/mapped externally and internally.
The Source uses visual experimentation to reflect on our contemporary understandings of being in a place. The images push at the idea of revealing that which cannot be seen. Abstract and detailed depictions of the sun pick up subtle silhouettes of trees and power lines grounding the images. However details in the sun’s relationship to clouds and atmosphere combine with aberrations in the wet plate emulsion creating an abstracted view of the qualities experienced within a place. In a reflexive manner, the works also play with the idea of looking into the sun–and photographing the source of light.
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