Fixed is a series of photographs made by Phillips' alter-ego Madge Cameron:
Madge Cameron, b. 1935
Until this project, Cameron had always seen photography as a separate venture from her work as Founding Archivist at the Pacific Library Privé and Special Collections. But here, Cameron’s photography and archive work intersect, resulting in pieces that don’t quite fit either category.
While working to digitize the Collection’s extensive photographic holdings, Cameron discovered accidentally that by moving the photograph while the image was being recorded, she could separate the image into its color channels, resulting in a strange 3D effect. At first irritated with what she saw as failed work, Cameron eventually came to embrace the “process of interruption,” as she puts it. “I came to see the process as a metaphor for what I do as an archivist; each piece becomes a visual cross-reference of itself.”
Raised by her grandmother after her father mysteriously disappeared during the Depression (leaving only a rudimentary camera behind), Cameron grew-up in the library and stayed there, earning a PhD from the Librarians Anonymous Correspondence College Program which she completed while…in the library. “My grandmother would get tired of having my brother and me running around the house and would say, ‘Go to the library and hush.’ And we did, it was just down the street from our house... all these years later, here I still am.”
Field Notes: Transfer Prints to Antique Envelopes
"Make me a willow cabin at your gate, and call upon my soul within the house." Twelfth Night, Shakespeare
Certainly, home is a place. It is also a place of mind. For the spirit too, home offers familiarity and solace, shelter and rest. Yet a house is not for hiding from the world; it has windows, and doors to enter but also leave by. As a girl, I adored the Wind in the Willows where homes were in and of the landscape—built underground, along the riverbank, and in the woods. A place where you can be still, letting the world come to you, watching birds fly by.
This series of photographs blends the domesticity of home with the joy of wilderness, the natural world. The paper houses are built from letters, postcards and envelopes saved through the decades in old shoeboxes by my grandparents and discovered in their attic a few years ago. The images are printed on old envelopes collected from around the world; artifacts from the last centuries. What did the envelopes contain? Where did they come from? In whose mailbox were they delivered? What stories do they tell?
The images in this series begin as b&w negatives scanned for digital printing.
Each image is then sized for its envelope and printed with archival pigment inks onto a specially coated plastic transparency film.
Next, a mixture of distilled water and alcohol is applied to the envelope. The transparency film is hand applied to the wet envelope—right over the stamps and writing. After a few minutes, the plastic is pulled off, leaving the ink transferred to the envelope.
To view the artist demonstrate the process, please visit: www.vimeo.com/rachelphillips/transfer
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.