Debora Francis: I Fade Away Like a Lengthening Shadow
Mordançage is a photographic darkroom process that combines the potential for destruction into spectacular, one-of-a-kind photographs. By lifting the shadow areas into veil-like formations, the photographer transcends the representative image creating a unique abstract representation of the subject. This week we will look at the works of five photographers, each of whom brings a unique take on this challenging and mesmerizing process.
In Debora Francis‘ spiritually inspired series I Fade Away Like a Lengthening Shadow, she processes her grief over losing her brother and shortly after her father using photography as a devotional practice. Her large-scale mordançage photographs and silver gelatin photograms are a means of transcendence and metaphysical expression. Francis’ imagery looks to unlock the communication between the conscious and subconscious mind. It is a form of surrender to the process of creation through destructive means. The resulting images are vespers of emotions, deeply intertwined with her image making practice. In this case, abstraction perfectly relates to the artist’s intention, not to set parameters but to fully emerge and explore the infinite possibility of process and practice.
Videographer Michael Intile
Editor Debora Francis
Music “Those We Lose” by Emmett Cooke
Debora Francis is a Mexican-American interdisciplinary photographic artist working primarily with large-scale Mordançage prints and gelatin silver photograms. With a B.A. in Psychology, Debora’s approach is rooted in a devotion to self-awareness and metaphysical mystery. She forms deep connections to her subject matter and processes while resonating an innate sensitivity to the fragility of life. Her art serves as an intimate therapeutic tool and is an expression of spirituality and survival. Mostly self-taught, her unique approach is informed by continued studies in textile design, cinematography, and printmaking.
Debora’s work has been exhibited in New York City and California and is held in private collections in the United States, France, and Israel. Recently, her photographs were selected for “Abstract” at the New York Center for Photographic Art, the “Members Juried Exhibition” at the Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA, and “Krappy Kamera” at Soho Photo Gallery, New York, NY. Additionally, she was awarded Series Honorable Mentions in the 17th and 18th Julia Margaret Cameron Awards and was a New York City Based Finalist for the Penumbra Foundation Workspace Program. Her images are also featured in multiple publications and on several album covers. She is currently working on her cameraless Mordançage series, I Fade Away Like a Lengthening Shadow; she lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Follow Debora Francis on Instagram: @deborafrancisxo
I Fade Away Like a Lengthening Shadow
I Fade Away Like a Lengthening Shadow is a series of large-scale, one-of-a-kind, Mordançage prints, which I created as part of my spiritual art-making practice during a period of transformation and healing.
I began this series while I was grieving the death of my brother when suddenly I lost my Dad. As I learned to process endless grief, my practice shifted into a means of metaphysical expression. I experienced a sudden moment of insight, allowing me to access a realm beyond material existence. Life and art-making became one, revealing my purpose for being. My spirit-inspired approach engages with the expansive unknown and strives to evoke the supernatural.
My Mordançage technique involves creating a one-of-a-kind photographic print through the chemical and physical alteration of handmade gelatin silver photograms. While creating each piece, I am fully engaged in a devotional act. This interaction allows me to immerse myself in the nuances of the present moment and convey my transcendent encounters with the invisible. As each artwork takes on a life of its own, I react with renewed presence, acknowledging my creative process as a form of alchemy. Images emerge, and with them, a deeper understanding of myself and the utility of suffering; all life is interconnected, and our shared pain is the most powerful unifying force. We are here to take care of each other, and this body of work is my offering.
I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the gift of awareness and the ability to express my connection to the spiritual world. Through close observation and experimentation, I surrender and accept that there are forces controlling our universe that cannot be seen or fully explained. Yet, I am comforted in knowing that what is unseen is eternal. My brother and Dad are with me forever; their spirit is alive in my work.
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