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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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Past SPE Annual Conferences

Trace Nichols

SPE Member since 2007
Member Chapter: Southwest


The project titled Illusion seeks to challenge the idea of photography as a recording device for reality. Through various depictions of subject matter, coupled with capture and alternative processing methods, this notion of a photograph as a true and accurate 'memory marker' for reflection will be altered, with a new conversation taking precedence on what an image can represent. nnIt is my aim to bring about this updated dialog through a merging of historic practices, modern technologies, and conceptual inquires, placed within contemporary contexts. Beginning with digital photography, I capture wildlife within their natural habitats. These real to life visual representations have an added element contained within the frame making the suggestion that the scenes actually take place behind museum glass. To encourage a deeper level of inquiry from a viewing perspective, the digital captures are processed using a modern practice of the historic process known as photogravure. In its current use, photopolymer gravure, lends a historic, and thus often times, more authentic aesthetic to the visual outcome. The pairing of the old and the new; the real with the manufactured; two notable visual mediums - photography and printmaking; all combined, open a new thread in the discourse of 'what is real' in photography today. It also poses the question; can the real, instead, come from our personal connection to what we see on these 2-dimensional surfaces - a connection based on our unique life experiences? This project employs a new experimental method of producing photopolymer gravure prints, coined direct-to-solarplate - a process that is fully non-toxic from photography to plate making to inking and printing.n

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