Solvitur Ambulando (it is solved by walking) consists of wet plate collodion photograms of plant matter found on long walks – weeds, ferns, grasses, seeds, roots… I started walking the trails near my new home to process recent life changes: a new marriage, a new state, a new life, and most of all, to grieve some difficult losses.
The use of plant materials draws on the herbarium tradition and connects this work to the dawn of photography when Anna Atkins, the famous British photographer and botanist, used cyanotype photograms to document the richness of the plant world. I also deliberately control the hand pour of the emulsion to resemble glass domes for precious objects used in 19th century, which harkens back to the age of wet plate collodion.
While this series is inspired by flora, the images seek to transcend a mere representation of natural forms. By manipulating chemistry and light I create textures and moods to reflect a spectrum of psychological interiors, such as melancholy, turbulence, and grief, as well as tranquility, hope, ebullience, and joy. I also use plant materials and arrangements to hint at symbols. For example, a plant with intact roots alludes to a sense of being uprooted; seeds represent new life, journeying, and hope; etc.
The series also explores juxtapositions such as finding transcendence in the mundane: the outline of something as common and transient as a wildflower is preserved in precious and archival silver. I am always inclined to turn to the easily overlooked and seemingly mundane as source of inspiration and marvel and my hope is to reflect this sense of wonder in my photogram work — to compel the viewer to pause and consider the colossal significance and unspeakable beauty of a humble weed.
Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer creates image-objects using lens-less techniques as well as cameras. She is interested in photography’s relationship to time and the application of historical processes to contemporary subject matter. Nadezda is drawn to imagery where the physicality of the handmade object impacts the viewer’s experience and the medium itself shapes the storytelling.
Nadezda often looks to natural forms for inspiration, which reflects her connection to nature and concern for its survival in light of anthropogenic impacts on species and ecosystems. She is particularly drawn to illuminating forms that are seemingly mundane and easily overlooked, seeking to highlight their intrinsic significance as well to impart new meanings.
Over the years, Nadezda has focused on developing a distinct visual language using wet plate collodion, painting inner landscapes and conjuring up moods and metaphors. The fluidity of her chosen medium allows her to experiment, push boundaries and make the process her own. She welcomes the challenge of confronting the technical aspects and seeks the suspense inherent in working with chemistry that is in a constant state of flux.