When I started my studies in art school in Berlin I got into analogue photography pretty much right away. The process of shooting film, developing it myself and then printing photographs in the darkroom was pure magic! I was very clumsy in the beginning and it took many hours being locked in the darkroom trying to crack that ‘perfect print’ code. Through a lot of mistakes and tries, I can say I got to quite a good level. Because of tons of test prints, I managed to save up a lot of ‘garbage’ material: you wouldn’t usually keep those failed prints and definitely not the test-strips but I managed. First I was saving them and carefully writing the notes on the back of them for future references. And then it kind of became a habit. Especially when I got the luxury of building up a small darkroom in my bathroom: I could get messy and all those tests would be hanging around.
So one day when I was cleaning the apartment I realised that I had a BOX full of test prints and test strips. I kept them for so long that it was a shame to just bin them. And here’s how the whole thing began: I went through all of them and thought I could find something interesting. I was looking for maybe some collage material (I had never done a collage before), but in general I was pretty much just putting bits of images together to see what could happen. Surprisingly a few pieces came out together nicely and I made three little collages, mostly by cutting bits out of test prints.
Then I also combined most of the test strips that were left into one bigger work. Bits of paper are visibly ripped off and many parts of the photographs are repetitive. It is a very spontaneous piece of work which turned out quite nicely. My favourite part about this work is that it keeps on changing: since I knew those would be test prints I wasn’t very precise with developing. I didn’t wash out the chemicals carefully and they keep on affecting the prints.
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xx, love, Liza