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The slow evolution of a technique

In 2009 it seemed a good idea to print on glass because the instructions on the bottle of photographic emulsion I had bought stated, "Can also be printed onto metal, ceramic and glass."

So I made collages, photographed the collages, then printed them in black&white onto the photo emulsion painted on glass. Finally, paint added to the the back of the glass made the photo more readable. This was the series Ephemeron where ages of jungle, city and jungle again are layered in a single picture.

Then asked to do a series of male nudes, the process enabled me to take photos of sculptures in the Louvre and make them come alive amongst the tourists by my retro-painting them with fleshy colours. This was the series Public Flesh.

And next, combining rephotographed collage AND fleshy colours I got the sculptures to go outdoors and enact heroic dramas in very ordinary South African urban spaces. Eden Park.

A year ago, I took a roll of twelve photos of the giant halls of the factory Babcock near my studio in La Courneuve two weeks before they were demolished. Then last Christmas it occured to me I could maybe combine other imagery with the lonely industrial scenes if I collaged cut-out images directly onto the glass and printed the factory photos behind the cut-outs. If the collaged sheets survived the washing in photo chemicals, it might just work.

So this is what I have been trying to do and finished a series of 17 yesterday. They are printed onto sheets of poured glass from a dismantled greenhouse I found in a shed. The encrusted sheets of glass mercilesly scrubbed still maintain a gritty patina which adds to the compositions and also helped stop the emulsion from sliding off.


The working title for the series is After Empire. That might change.

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