This is an intriguing account of artists who push the medium of photography to its limits. From its beginnings, photography has been shaped by the desire to understand and explore the essence of the medium. Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography features the work of seven artists - Alison Rossiter, Marco Breuer, James Welling, Lisa Oppenheim, Chris McCaw, John Chiara, and Matthew Brandt - who investigate the possibilities of analog photography by finding innovative, surprising, and sometimes controversial ways to push light-sensitive photographic papers and chemical processing beyond their limits. A panoply of practices emerges in the work of these artists, ranging from customizing cameras with special lesses to producing images on paper without a camera or film. Some artists load paper, rather than film, in the camera to contact-printing with sources of light other than the enlarger, while others use expired photographic papers and extraneous materials (e.g., dust, sweat, tar) selected to match the particular subject of the photograph. All of the artists share a willingness to embrace accident and chance.
Trial and error contribute to an understanding of the materials and their potential, as do the attitudes of underlying curiosity and inventive interrogation. The act of making each image is like a performance, with only the photographer present. The results are stunning. Organized in seven sections-each including an essay with illustrations, technical notes, an artist biography, and a rich selection of plates-this lavish publication is issued on the occasion of the exhibition Light, Paper, Process: Reinventing Photography, on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, Los Angeles, from April 14 to September 6, 2015.