In the spirit of nineteenth-century photographers such as Louis Daguerre, Henry Fox Talbot, and Timothy O’Sullivan, the photographs on view are ambrotypes, unique glass-plate positives, made with the wet-plate collodion process in a portable darkroom Kolster sets up along the banks and overlooks of these rivers. The chemical slurries that develop and fix the image on the glass plate actually mimic the movements of a river’s current, and the idiosyncratic qualities of Kolster’s ambrotypes harken back to the historical coincidence of the dawn of photography and the industrialization of Europe and America.
With the reality of a changing global climate and consensus building about the extent that humans are responsible, Take Me to the River challenges us to set aside our blinders of wanting to see these riverine landscapes as either pure or despoiled. As the boundaries between the human and the natural are increasingly entangled, Kolster’s photographs suggest how we can embrace, even cherish, places once degraded and ignored that have become, in their own way, alluring.
Take Me to the River
July 12 – September 29