DESCRIPTION: Working patiently and alone on moonless nights in wild places, I lay out large sheets of light-sensitive gelatin silver photographic paper. When I am working with American black bears, these sheets are eight feet in length. Once the paper is in position, I sit in the dark and wait for an animal to appear. Sometimes I wait night after night. I do not use a hide and I am in full view of the animal. This takes tremendous trust, openness and stillness.
When an animal passes in front of the photographic paper, I make a quick exposure with a small hand-held flash. It is so quick that the animal does not respond to the light. I collect the paper, store it in a lightproof box and later develop the photographic print in a traditional chemical darkroom. The photogram is then toned with pure gold, both to affect the coloration of the print and to ensure it’s archival stability. The result is a unique and magical direct impression of a wild animal onto photographic paper. Each one a ghostly gift which reflects the fragility and majesty of the natural world.
RELATED LINKS: http://www.zanabriski.com/animalograms
I can’t imagine anything better than quietly being in the presence of a wild animal in it’s natural environment. And to then make a unique image of that wild animal onto photograhic paper - an imprint, a white shadow, a gift of it’s presence.