Sarah Soquel Morhaim / Personal Work / 2016

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“A few words about these works – the images that follow are all unique chromogenic color prints made in the darkroom. Some originate from negatives, others from objects, manipulations of hands, light, random materials, and/or any combination thereof. This analog printing technique involves copious amounts of time in complete blackness. I find I enter a meditative rhythm when working this way. Ritual isn’t quite the right word but it runs close. Another relevant word is magic, a word I hesitate to use because it sounds like a trick. But something like magic, or discovery, happens. There is also the distinctive, rich quality of colors and the inevitable incorporated mistakes. The prints become unique objects, unable to be replicated—replication usually being one of the defining features of a photograph. How these images came to be can be hard to pin down simply, hence causing moments of sustained attention.
I began making this work out of a desire to not sit at my computer any more than I already do, and especially not to have to employ one to get an image I’ve shot into my hands. This is not coming from a place of luddism—I think technology is grand—but rather from an effort to preserve the energy that flows from that first spark of an idea. I find the feeling that compels me to take a picture on the street easier to maintain when I remain on my feet, laboring physically to produce the final image.
So that’s process, but beneath that there’s content. Whether made through careful construction or instinctual experimentation, each piece has its own story to tell. Nostalgia For Something That Never Existed came out of a phrase I read in reference to the rise of the fascist Republican presidential nominee here in the U.S. Handfuls of Smoke references ineffable experience, those fleeting perspectives that dissolve as quickly as they arrived.  I’m interested in playing with the boundaries of my medium, jumping around in the puddles and pulling at the edges of photography. It all begs the question—in this day in age what’s a photograph anyway? And why should we look at it?”
Sarah Soquel Morhaim