Screen / Time
Nick Marshall

It is difficult to locate a constantly shifting form. A photograph of a cloud taken in Dubai could not be differentiated from a photograph of a cloud taken in Kansas City unless there is access to meta-data, which is often stored in ‘The Cloud’, servers of data that can be accessed from anywhere at any time. This reference familiars us with a form we know. One that is nebulous and ever changing, hovering and always with us.  

With a cell phone, I take photographs of clouds. I then invert the image to make a negative and place the phone upside-down on a sheet of light sensitive paper, exposing it to the illuminated phone screen for several hours. The resulting photographs are an homage to Alfred Stieglitz’s cloud photographs from his seminal work Equivalents. While both series use the abstraction of clouds as a democratic subject matter, Stieglitz’s photographs marked a break with the past, whereas Screen / Time references the material history of the medium, creating photographs that push back against time. The warm sepia tones recall 19th century albumen prints; the visible fissures transferred from the cracked phone screen recall glass plate negatives; and the outline of the phone screen recalls the historic practice of contact printing.

Though many of these characteristics are reminders of the past, the aspect ratio of the phone and the repetition of its shattered screen are also reminders of the present; a time where we are more consumed with images than ever before and photographs feel less fixed in time, like clouds.

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