British artist, Angela Easterling takes photography back to its initial starting points. Working frequently with scientists, recording rare and endangered plants from all over the world, she is inspired by both the technique and objectives of the early pioneers such as Fox Talbot and Anna Atkins.
Her images aim to document, but often display their subjects not abstractly, but in a way not ordinarily seen. Easterling’s work has a clear, simple approach to record the plants she sees. Using modern, colour photographic paper and chemicals, she creates soft lines and pale colours to present nature as she wishes.
‘Poppy’, Photogram, c. 2001
This is an example of Easterling recording of plants. The photogram process is one that can show a huge amount of detail, and she uses this feature to document.
The poppy is centrally positioned, with the stem acting as a line into the piece from the border. On the poppy, the incredible detail of the veins in the flower give a texture and pattern to the image which makes it appear very realistic. A range of tones appear through the piece, helping to show depth and the quality of the plant material.
‘Adam’, Photogram, 2001
Created by Easterling while working at the Eden Project in Cornwall, this image along with ‘Eve’, are direct body prints onto paper. Easterling gives the image depth, with darker, thinner areas away from the paper, with limbs blurring away in to the background.
The shape of the man appears similar to ancient cave paintings, the image depicting an early, fundamental man. Colours are used to give the image quite a cold feel, with purples around the fading areas but weak yellows where the body has reacted with the paper.