Madeleine Phiri West Yorkshire, United Kingdom
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I'm a Photographic Artist working with traditional and alternative photographic processes such as traditional black & which printing, Cyanotypes, Pinhole Photography, Liquid Emulsion, Lomography, Instant Photography and other creative darkroom techniques. I teach at Leeds College of Art where I run the darkroom facilities. It's my passion to pass on my knowledge gained through experiments.

My practice revolves around traditional and alternative photographic processes. I tend to shoot on film, hand-process my film and produce art work using a darkroom.

I use a variety of techniques to tell a story or to explore a certain technique.

For example, my series 'Summertime and the Living is [not] easy in Aleksandrovka' explores rural living as explained by my Grandma who grew up in Russia. The series of photographs include Cyanotypes of vegetables that make up the traditional Russian stew called Borsh. The black & white prints are made using liquid light and are photos taken on 120 film in Aleksandrovka, Russia. I have also added in a selection of original photos from my Gran's photo album.

'Where the Sun Goes to Sleep' is a series of Solargraphs, where I make my own pinhole cameras. These are long exposure photographs taken all over the world to track the movement of the sun. The final photos are printed on aluminium and displayed in such a way that the segmented lines of the sun form arches spanning a number of countries.


Where the Sun Goes to Sleep

Medium: Solargraphy (Pinhole Photography)

Have you ever felt the desire to stare into the sun? To go to the place where the sun rises and sets? Other stars can be observed in the night sky and have been recorded millions of times - but what about the sun? Where the Sun Goes to Sleep is a series of long exposure photographs recorded with my own home made analogue pinhole cameras over varying time periods and all over the world - from the Isle of Wight over Greece to Japan. The lines are the rising and setting sun; shallow in the winter, nicely arched in the summer and interrupted by clouds. Frost, heat and humidity leave their unique traces on the delicate negative. The exposures range from 2 days to 14 months.


Summertime and the Living is [not] easy in Александровка

Medium: Photography (Cyanotypes & Liquid Emulsion Prints)

In the West, a self-sustainable life style is almost unimaginable, but this is reality for many just like the Холодова family. Even today, the only items available in the village shop are bread, Vodka, sweets and meat. Vegetables such as beetroot, potatoes, tomatoes, courgettes, cucumber, aubergines, carrots, onions, garlic, peppers, cabbage and pumpkins are home grown. The harvest is for immediate consumption and any excess is pickled to survive the harsh winters. A hole in the ground with a sturdy flap acts as a natural fridge in the summer and a sheltered place in the winter. An outdoor kitchen with dining area, the outdoor toilet, the two sleeping houses and land are a common layout. The Холодова family also have chickens and the eggs are swapped with milk from the neighbour’s cow. Борщ is a traditional Russian stew and a family recipe. Beetroot is the main ingredient of this much-loved red dish. The broth is typically prepared by boiling meat on the bone for up to six hours. The meat is then removed and the bones discarded; the meat is added back in during the last 10-15 minutes of cooking. Cabbage, carrots, potatoes, onions and beetroots are boiled in the broth till tender. Борщ is eaten hot or cold, tastes sweet and sour and a dollop of crème fraiche makes it just right. During my trip to Russia in July 2014, I took a series of photos on my Hasselblad shooting on 120mm black & white film. I developed the film by hand and printed on Fabriano Artistico using Liquid Light, which is a light sensitive solution that is applied onto the paper in a darkroom using a specialist paintbrush. For the Cyanotypes, I produced digital negatives of the vegetables. Fabriano Artistico paper was coated with a Cyanotype solution consisting of Potassium Ferricyanide and Ammonium Citrate. I mix my own solution to control the intensity of the blue. Once coated in the darkroom, the paper is exposed to UV light and then washed. In addition, the beetroot Cyanotype was toned in real beetroot juice and the onions in onion peel juice. Александровка (Alexandrovka) – Russian village Холодова (Holodova) – Family name Борщ (Borshch) – Russian stew

Interested in
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PhotographyDarkroomAlternative ProcessesTraditional ProcessesCyanotypes
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