The emotional appeal of water underpins my series Confluence. The title refers to the joining of rivers and is a metaphor for blending the two historic practices I use to create my images: Gyotaku and Cyanotype. Gyotaku, a form of nature printing, uses the subjects as printing plates. Often created with squid or sumi ink and washi paper, the prints provided a way for Japanese fisherman in the mid 1800’s to record and memorialize their catch and to advertise at market. Anna Adkins, a biologist from England, used cyanotypes in the mid 1800’s as photographic illustrations to record algae and fauna. She is the first known female photographer.
Intrinsically experimental, Gyotaku prints are figurative in nature, but when combined with cyanotype, the images become untethered. The finished images are results of both practice, persistence, and happy accidents. Humankind’s fascination with fish and water is universal and primordial. The primitive, sometimes fossil appearance of the subjects in my work underscores the deterioration of habitat and makes their recognition critical.