Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography. Floris Neususs

This is a revealing and evocative look at Floris Neususs' working environments and an insight into his creative ideas.

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Video Transcript

If we look at art and I do look at art there is art that speaks to me and art that does not speak to me. 

First of all one has to be interested visually, and then with a lot of art nowdays, you need to know the background. 

The house here is now a museum and it says such a lot about Fox Talbot’s life and if you look around today you can understand everything he himself developed and tried out. You really could believe that Talbot had just been working here. 

An important aspect of my work was more conditioned by the medium itself: I carried the photogram out of the laboratory, that is out of the studio, and took it to the objects. And the very first photo I made outside the studio, the first photogram, was of this window. 

I don’t particularly consider myself to be a pioneer, I use this technique because I find it to be a medium that is suitable for purpose,  and because, and this is the important thing, I am interested in what they used to do with this technique before my time, which is why we are sitting here today. 

A very important aspect of a photogram is this contact, how do I put it…a photogram is not a reproduced print, it is a contact picture. You sense that the object was originally in contact with the picture.  

The question is, and this possible with photograms, how to get away from the purely documentary aspect and make a picture of the window about the window.

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At Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, England, Floris Neusüss reveals his preparations to make a picture without a camera – a ‘photogram’ – of the window that formed the subject of William Henry Fox Talbot’s first photographic negative, made there in 1835. In the Abbey’s grounds, Neusüss also demonstrates using fern leaves the creation of ‘cyanotype’ photograms, recreating the methods of the very first photographs. 

IThe exhibition Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography (13 October 2010 – 20 February 2011) featured five international artists who challenge the assumption that a camera is necessary to make a photograph. The V&A commissioned five short films on each of the artists, showing their studios and places that inspire them. This is a revealing and evocative look at their working environments and an insight into their creative ideas.