'Invocation', dye destruction print photogram by Adam Fuss, 1992. Museum no. E.693-1993
To make this piece, a mother briefly placed her child on a sheet of photographic paper that had been submerged in a tray of shallow water. A flashlight, fired directly at the paper, captured the child's outline as well as ripples in the water. The image is a kind of baptism, but its title, Invocation, suggests an earnest appeal or prayer.
From the series 'My Ghost' (Butterfly Daguerreotype), daguerrotype by Adam Fuss, 2001. Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
The butterfly is a classic symbol of the brevity of life, its flight standing for the passage of the soul. It is captured here in an obsolescent technique, that of daguerreotype. Made on silvered copper plates, daguerreotypes were invented in the 1840s and used mainly for portraiture. Here the plate has been intentionally overexposed, producing a shimmering blue
From the series 'My Ghost' 1999 (Birds in Flight), gelatin-silver print photogram by Adam Fuss, 1999. Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
Flocks of birds scatter in flight. One bird is singled out, surrounded by a halo of others, as if protected and guided in its ascent.
'Untitled, 2007', gelatin-silver print photogram by Adam Fuss, 2007. Timothy Taylor Gallery, London and Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
Throughout the history of art, the snake has symbolised a loss of innocence, the coming of a self-reflective state or an ecstatic struggle. It is a recurring motif in Fuss's work. Using live animals in his studio, he explores the snake's many symbolic and metaphorical manifestations
From the series 'My Ghost' 1997 (Christening Dress), gelatin-silver print photogram by Adam Fuss, 1997. Cheim & Read Gallery, New York
'The work', says Fuss, 'is about the passage of that quality of presence, which is not physical, but is still real.' A child's christening robe appears as a shroud devoid of bodily forms. Closer inspection reveals a snake-like figure, one of Fuss's recurring emblems, woven into the fabric.
From the series 'My Ghost' 1999 (Smoke), gelatin-silver print photogram by Adam Fuss, 1999. Private collection, Michigan
The images in My Ghost (1995-2001) are at once a personal story and a set of universal emblems. They express the idea of a human presence that is lost but recalled momentarily by its traces, both physical and emotional. Here a funereal column of smoke includes a spectre in vaguely human form.