When the invention of photography was announced in Paris in 1839, the artist Paul Delaroche stated that, “from today, painting is dead”. 169 years of painting since that time have proved Delaroche wrong however the initial announcement did change the way painters approached their art. They moved away from realism and evolved new ways of looking at the world – Impressionism, Cubism and Surrealism to name a few.
And now the photography world is at a cross roads, but this time within the frame. The Hundred and sixty year-old tradition of making images with wet and smelly chemicals in a darkroom is reinventing itself within the new context of electronic imaging.
As mainstream photography industries today have shifted their interest from silver based image-making to electronic media, the practice of analog photography has reverted into the hands of dedicated photographic artists, experimenters, and craftspeople.
Considering this scenario, Goa Center for Alternative Photography (Goa-CAP) has designed a residency titled ALTlab to support Indian artists who want to explore and experiment with their approach to the photographic medium.
There is a demand for spaces like ALTlab to expand the artistic process of photography by facilitating direct interaction with the medium. These fragmented communities of artists are working hard but in isolation and are scattered in different parts of the country. This community is however slowly but surely building a new movement in photography. ALTlab is a response to the needs of this community of artists working with photography. ALTlab is focused on nurturing film photographers who are scattered across India, working hard but in isolation to develop their artistic skills to create and convey meaning through their works digital photographers who are looking for alternative ways to think about image creation and printing; for artists of any medium who are eager to use a dark room and silver to create images.
The Residency Concept
This is a 60 day residency of 4 Indian artists; who will be engaging in an interdisciplinary approach to both the investigative process and the production of work, leading to new thoughts, tools, and things with unexpected and unpredictable outcomes – Scratching, painting of negatives, soft focusing, employing alternative materials for printing to produce pictures which shall stand the test of criticism.
Creative mistakes/experiments, in the darkroom are invaluable to produce innovations and discoveries. Perhaps these products may not be fit to be exhibited; the most important is the dialog that engenders during this intimate interaction of the artist with his prints in the amber-room.