Photographic series, digitally manipulated archive photography, 5 pieces
The photographic series Overgrown features prints of a set of glass plate negatives, family pictures from the early 20th Century, in which the images have been transformed by moving the plants from the background to the foreground. The people photographed are thus covered by cabbage leaves, cherry blossoms, or other foliage and seem grow into their surrounding – or are obscured completely in favor of a floral decor.
Moving the plants into the foreground of the picture raises questions not only about the relationship between each figure and its setting, but also about the relationship of humans and plants more broadly and their markedly different time regimes.
The chosen souvenir photos with a human subject centered in front of a landscape background may reflect an anthropocentric view of the world, one that defines everything non-human to be nothing more than "[p]rops, ground, plot space, or prey.” (Haraway 2016: 118) But the agency of the photographic material goes beyond the photographer’s intention. As Daguerre puts it, photographic processing is "not an instrument which serves to draw nature, but a chemical and physical process which gives it the facility to reproduce itself." (Daguerre 1839) The photographer’s urge to preserve the moment is corrupted by the imaginative post-processing of the photo in which the ongoing growth of the rampant botany is reclaiming its space over time as the memory of the people on the pictures fades.
Donna Haraway. Staying with the trouble. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2016 Louis Jaques Daguerre. Daguerréotype. original, 1839. http://www.fotomanifeste.de/manifeste/1839-daguerre-daguerreotype