Date of Submission

Spring 2011

Academic Program

Art History


Laurie Dahlberg

Abstract/Artist's Statement


An abstract of the thesis of Jennifer Barry for the Bachelor of Science in Art History presented May, 4, 2011.

The Light and the Glass: An exploration of contemporary photographers using antiquarian processes.

In an age where digital photography has become the predominate form of photographic media, a small group of alternative processing practitioners have seceeded from the norm. Instead of using the most technologically advanced and available mediums, they have chosen, instead, to practice photography using methods of processing that date back to the 19th century. Some of these practices were considered marginal, even during the 19th century.

This paper seeks to understand why artists would take on such a task. The research explores the current digital culture and the constructed realities that has spawned, as well as the parallels between 19th century photography movements and the modern practioners. This paper also asks whether or not the artists might be attempting to tap into a commercial market, banking on an overwhelming social nostalgia during this digital age.

In speaking with several artists, these questions are answered and new avenues for further exploration are opened up. Each artist has their own reason for echewing modern means of processing, and each finds their own personal artistic satisfaction in their practice. Now, only time will tell if this is a passing trend or a lasting phenomenon.

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