tuula närhinen


With digital cameras becoming more and more common, photography is moving further and further away from the chemical reactions which were discovered in the 19th century and led to the invention of photographia - or “writing with light” from the Greek words phos for ‘light’ and grafein for to ‘write’. With Solarium, I want to return to the early idea of a “picture drawn by nature itself”, indicating the joint effect of solar radiation, time and matter.
Photography, the fading of pigments and photosynthesis are all based on the same phenomenon: transferring solar energy to chemical energy. By using light-sensitive natural materials and experimenting with them, I am hoping to re-introduce photography as nature’s miracle (magia naturalis) and also remind us of the roots of photography within art and science, optical/chemical phenomena and visual culture. With the help of light-sensitive natural processes - chlorophyll photosynthesis, skin reaction to UV radiation and the fading of pigments - I have produced organic photographs. Solar radiation is a prerequisite to life but also a destructive force. Brandlike marks on organic surface, disappearance of chlorophyll and fading pigments are, in fact, pictures of being exposed to light, time and mortality.