Edison’s Light ParkeHarrison, Robert  (American, b.1968)

“Robert ParkeHarrison collaborates with his wife, Shana, on the conception and execution of complex images that combine performance, sculpture, photography, and painting. Their innovative approach to picture making draws upon their use of paper negatives and collage to construct stories of loss and struggle amid landscapes scarred by technology and over-use. At the heart of these pictorial tales is a lone individual—ParkeHarrison himself as “Everyman”—engaged in Herculean struggles with nature and artifice. The mythic world he creates mirrors our world, where nature is domesticated and controlled. In actions that are both humorously metaphorical and lyrically poetic, ParkeHarrison constructs beguiling stories that make us consider what we have done or are doing to our earth.” – From Decordova

This image is a perfect example of the possibilities inherent in paper negatives. In this image we combined a negative of a lightning strike on Mount Lemmon, Tucson, AZ, 1991 with a field and RPH/contraption photographed in Worcester, MA, 1998. Paper negatives offer us the ability to create believable, surrealities: merge and unify negatives from different parts of the world, combine appropriated images within our own creations, creating other worlds within the ‘reality’ of a photograph. Old school. Magic from the Darkroom. No pixels. (Shana ParkeHarrison)

From 1998 to 2003, fine press photography book publisher 21st Editions released 6 volumes of The Journal of Contemporary Photography featuring hand-pulled photogravure images from an international group of contemporary photographers. The photogravures are made by Jon Goodman. The images are combined with criticism, poetry, and fiction from acclaimed writers. The project aimed, successfully or not, to create a contemporary version of Stieglitz’s celebrated ‘Camera Work’.

This image is from Volume II It contains original essays by France’s leading novelist Michel Tournier; philosopher Frederick Turner; award-winning photographic historian Lee Fontanella; novelist and playwright Elizabeth Dewberry; novelist and Josh Russell; photographers featured in the book: Adam Fuss, Jaume Blassi, Bill Jacobson, Joyce Tenneson, Kenro Izu, Vik Muniz, Cy DeCosse, John Dugdale, Tom Baril, Joan Fonteuberta, Arthur Tress, Robert ParkeHarrison, and Sheila Metzner.

Reproduced / Exhibited

Malcolm R. Daniel, and Florian Rodari. Graver La Lumière: L’héliogravure D’alfred Stieglitz À Nos Jours Ou La Reconquête D’un Instrument Perdu. Vevey, Suisse: Fondation William Cuendet & Atelier de Saint-Prex, 2002. p. 69

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