In 2005 California photographer Jerry Burchfield published “Primal Images, 100 Lumen Prints of Amazonia Flora.” In it are page after page of stunning, saturated prints. He collected plant specimens from the Amazon rainforest and contact printed them on to expired black and white photo papers on the deck of a small motor boat. He called the results Lumen Prints. Once I understood his process, and with the generous support of fellow experimenters, I was ready to try my own variations.
Everything appeared possible for this process: films, papers, color, black and white formats, intimate seedlings and whole branches. Plants that had formerly seemed to be nondescript scraggly weeds – a step removed from litter – suddenly became stunning objects to me. Placing organic materials directly onto large format color film, then placing them in the sun under glass – resulted in the melding of organic juices with often expired, unwanted film. The, after development of the film, I made traditional color enlargements onto color print paper and processed in it RA-4 chemistry.
Mr. Burchfields botanicals are a striking array of Amazonia, as exotic and compelling as the jungle around him. My subjects are the common findings from background cityscapes and local parks. For me, this project has underscored the simple yet profound truth that there is really nothing in nature that is not a microcosm for the entire universe once it is fully seen.