Oblique Strategies

Two tintypes by Matt McCosh. A few people have said one of these in particular doesn’t look much like me, and I agree to an extent – but these techniques are always mysterious and unpredictable, and that’s one of the things I love about them. It’s so exciting waiting to see the images appear – a real mixture of magic and alchemy. I should be modelling for Matt a third time soon.

Below is a poem I wrote after the first shoot we did a few months ago, before this latest shoot; there is something so deliciously forensic about these photographic processes. (I have actually written quite a few poems loosely based on art, photography and the experience of being a ‘muse’, two of which I read at the Woodstock Poetry Festival recently. I’m working on a collection. I actually really want to show people more of this work, especially those who are involved in this world… but I write and model under different names and I’m unsure at the moment of how to meld those two worlds together. It’s something I’m thinking about quite a bit and finding a bit difficult.)

Oblique Strategies
Bee found dead on windowsill. Placed small vase of lilies next to it.
Considered it, upside down, through concertina camera.
Stamped it into perpetuity with early obscura replica.
A field view (portraiture):
gallic acid, acetic acid; silver nitrate, potassium iodide
become silver iodide and potassium nitrate
on cotton paper from Japan.
7 changes of water.
Next: exciting the paper. (Dilute solutions.)
Matte dry.
Load into camera.
20 sec exposure average.
Woman’s torso pushed into vines.
Calotype. Beautiful impression.
Disposable pipettes and shot glasses in night’s red light beam;
rubbish bag. Nothing is reused
for fear of contamination. Everything can go wrong
and might.
Honour thy error as a hidden intention.
Equal parts
silver nitrate and gallic acid applied
with cotton wool in a criss-cross pattern.
If it works, future deviation will be
(Image appears: a ghost. Hair like fog.)
Bucket of water to pour over and slosh
fixes development
and superstition.
Bookshelf: William Henry Fox Talbot
Sally Mann, Francesca Woodman,
Mark Sink.
Light leaks.
Wet plates, cyanotype,
Pin hole, Diana,