Art + Science: In the Dark: Thomas Brummett
In Thomas Brummett’s photography series entitled Light Projections, he stripped the photographic image down to its essential elements. Using only light, lens and light sensitive paper, he created a unique abstraction on the surface of the paper.
Brummett’s interest lies in the areas that exist between photography and mark-making. Although he refers to the work as a kind of “dream space,” these photographs have a definite scientific feel to them, something reminiscent to planets, astronomy, or possibly microscopic clusters.
Using a camera-less and film-less process, he projected light through a lens onto silver black and white photo paper. By manipulating the silver metals in the paper using a variety of darkroom exposure techniques, including solarization, he created abstract marks.
Although chemistry ultimately defines the final image, there is an overall feeling of discovery and playfulness in this work. I asked the artist how “science” plays a role in his artistic practice? His answer: “I am very interested in how science and physics in particular are showing us how the world actually is. What an extremely magical universe we occupy if one just slows down to look.”
Thomas Brummett has been working as a fine art & commercial photographer since 1983 when he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Cranbrook Academy of Art. His work has been honored both nationally and internationally. Nationally he has been honored as one of the best photographers in America in the hardbound annual American Photography #11, #12, #23, #28 & #30 in 2014. In 2008 and 2014 his work was honored best in the world by the World Photography Award. In 2014 he was short listed for the Source-Cord Prize. In 2004, 2009 & 2012 he was also honored by the International Photography Award as well as the Photo Graphis Awards Annual 88.
Rethinking the Natural 2011-2106
This new series of photographic abstractions are part of a life-long project titled: Rethinking The Natural. There have always been elements of abstraction in my work but this time I have combined multiple components such as mold grown in my studio, stars downloaded from robot cameras in space, snowflakes captured on a winter’s night, magnolia trees blooming in spring and unique camera-less Light Projections which I devised for this project and are at the heart of these images.
This new body of work is about my idea of Infinity and especially what it means to me personally. I don’t take photographs I build them. I am very interested in the marks I can make in the darkroom using an entropic process I have developed over the years. I’m equally interested in the ideas I can generate and the ensuing questions I can bring to the medium, its history and language. For, above all, photography is a language and I believe it’s a medium that is still in its infancy yet moving forward at a very rapid rate.
All of my work is about process, looking at things very closely, the marks I can generate with the silver metals in black and white photo paper and especially exploring the spaces between photography and mark making. My work has had a great deal to do with manipulating the photographic surface and this series is just an extension of that exploration.
If there is a rule that defines what a photograph is today it is simply that there are no rules. The question today is just what constitutes a photograph in 2013? If every mark in a photograph is made by hand with a camera, lens and light sensitive materials processed in the darkroom, yet it seems more a drawing than anything else then what kind of photograph is it? Abstraction, Photographic Document or Dream?
On a good day my images are all three.
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