Camera-less photography: artists

Video: Susan Derges

Susan Derges uses the landscape at night as her darkroom, submerging large sheets of photographic paper in rivers and using the moon and flashlight to create the exposure. This film shows her working in her studio, preparing to make a photogram outdoors, and discussing her use of water as a metaphor for transformation.

View transcript of video

Adam Fuss, photographer, by Adam Waldman.

Adam Fuss, photographer, by Adam Waldman.

Adam Fuss

Adam Fuss (born London, England, 1961) grew up moving between rural Sussex in the South of England and Australia before settling to work in New York in 1982. He made his first photogram in 1986.

His work concerns the discovery of the unseen: it deals with time and energy rather than material form. As well as mastering numerous historic and modern photographic techniques, Fuss has developed an array of symbolic or emblematic motifs.

Drawing upon his childhood memories and personal experiences, his works are conceived as visual elegies centred around the universal themes of life and death. Through outward sensory vision, they explore metaphysical ideas of non-sensory insight.

Video: Adam Fuss

Conceived as visual elegies, Adam Fuss's work is about the discovery of the unseen, the expression of the ephemeral and the universal themes of life and death. Working in his darkroom, he creates a series of 'daguerreotype' photograms of butterflies. Now a largely obsolete photographic medium, the daguerreotype was first used in the 1840s. Fuss also uses live snakes in his studio, making images that explore the animal's symbolic and metaphorical meanings.

View transcript of video

This text was originally written to accompany the exhibition Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography, on display at the V&A South Kensington between 13 October 2010 and 20 February 2011.

Shop online

Instamatic Camera - Temporary Tattoo

Instamatic Camera - Temporary Tattoo

Based in Brooklyn, New York, Tattly temporary tattoos are brilliantly fun and very cool. The designs are created by a co-operative of artists and desi…

Buy now

Become a V&A Member

V&A Members enjoy a wealth of benefits, including free entry to exhibitions, previews, exciting events and the V&A Members’ Room. In addition, you will be supporting the vital work of the V&A.

Buy or Renew Membership Online

Event - Travel Photography

Tue 05 February 2013–Sat 18 July 2015

3 DAY DIGITAL WORKSHOP: Travelling opens a world of possibilities for photographers. Through looking at the V&A’s extensive photographic collection and through practical exercises with London visits, learn how to make the most of your travel photographs and experiences.

Book online