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displace // disperse - An Exhibition from The Sustainable Darkroom



Photography is a system of many moving parts, and the production of its materials affect people and places in disproportionate ways. Silver is blasted from the ground to make photographic emulsions; chemicals soak in solvents to make film bases - slick and slippery and fine. Photographic industries build on ancestral homelands of Indigenous peoples; polluting rivers, skies, and bedrocks. The resources used by these industries are colossal, unbelievable even. 

And the waste, the waste, the waste. 

This exhibition takes one element of photography’s tangled story, to imagine ecological futures for photography. Reworking ‘waste’, the exhibition reconstitutes the value of materials typically discarded in photographic practice. Left-over darkroom chemistries reform as pigments on paper. Discarded items become light-sensitive, bursting from grey to cyan blue. The expiry dates of photographic paper are reversed, revealing photographs developed in plant-based chemistries. 

This approach is born out of rethinking photography as a collision of many worlds. It is geology, microbe, metal, labour, waste, violence, life; displaced and dispersed. It is its own ecosystem, an intricate network, an ecology of photography. 

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