Doug Fogelson’s Vivid Chemically-Altered Photographs of Nature

by CaroPosted on


Hi-Fructose blog readers will be familiar with Chicago based artist Doug Fogelson for his colorful and mesmerizing photograms of natural specimens. Unlike a photograph, his photogram works are pictures produced with photographic materials, such as light-sensitive paper but without a camera. His work has a “how did he do it?” quality, where each image is a mere shadow of the original form, which can appear either opaque or having a ghostly translucence depending on the transparency of the subject. Fogelson turned his attention back to photography to produce these vivid new images of nature, titled “Creative Destruction”.

Where previous works focused on the structure and decomposition of organisms, Fogelson’s new series is about nature as a whole. The series features forested places in his native Midwest that are lush and dreamy, captured over multiple exposures to evoke their physical presence. His development process utilized substances that have caused harm to the planet. Similar in the way that pollution is often said to enhance sunsets, these harmful chemicals make the forests in his photographs appear more colorful and saturated, ultimately forming new salt crystals and other patterns as the film dries. These synthesized film pieces are then scanned and output as high resolution pigment prints.

“In a nutshell, it is about change including the climate and mortality,” Fogelson explained in an email to Hi-Fructose. “Reflecting our impact on the index or image of nature echoes what we do in the world everyday. And in turn the generative things happening when the chemicals crystallize on the film leaving patterns, like snowflakes at times, and other interesting forms, to underscore how we are all part of this thing we loosely term nature.”

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