In the mid-1980s Jacqueline Woods first read the words of William Henry Fox Talbot, the British inventor of photography, who, nearly 200 years ago, said: "The most transitory of things, a shadow, the proverbial emblem of all that is fleeting and momentary, may be fettered by the spells of our natural magic.” Woods has, ever since, considered herself to be a catcher of shadows, an artist who employs the natural magic of photography to achieve what are, for her, supernatural results. For the past decade she has been devoted to making camera-less images. The BLACK SUN Series is a manifestation of this direction, and Woods’ ethereal images are breathtaking.
Woods’ photographs evoke the timeless, mystical moment that one experiences while gazing at an eclipsed sun. Blacks, ochres, greys, blues and green mimic the celestial spheres; a reversed sun hangs with burning light encircling it against deep space. Created via a random manipulation of chemicals, light, and traditional photographic papers, the end result is dynamic, yet refined. The fact that these unique gelatin silver prints are created in her studio darkroom without the use of a camera is astonishing.
The entire history of photography inspires Woods, but she is especially influenced by its inventors and early practitioners; her recent experiments bring to mind what they undoubtedly experienced—a metaphysical encounter with the unknown. Citing the composer John Cage as another inspiration, Woods says, “He proposed that any part of a work is indeterminate if it is chosen by chance or if its performance is not precisely specified. For Cage, pure sound is the raw material for music just as pure light is the raw material for photography.”
Jacqueline Woods believes that the true nature of photography as it was revealed in its infancy continues to instruct. She insists that photography has a mind and will of its own, and that all makers and artists who participate in this medium are naïve in thinking they have absolute control over it. But despite what must, at times, seem like a tug-of-war in the darkroom or studio, Woods’ artist’s eye is what prevails and the images that emerge are transcendent.
The release celebration for The Third Space will occur on Saturday, July 9 at 7pm. This event will be accompanied by a talk on Vedic cosmology by Kelly Luscombe Bea and a reading of the book’s text by writer Jane Handel.
Biography of Jacqueline Woods
Biography of Jane Handel