Maria Tsiattalou

"Harmony in Photography: Embracing Sustainable Practices and Natural Connections"

Section MS7, Sam Nightingale

Keywords: nature, photography, time

Harmony in Photography is a project that explores the intersection of traditional photography, sustainable practices, and natural connections. The project delves into the historical, ecological, and social aspects of photography, redefining the medium through the lens of environmental responsibility and highlighting the relationship between photographic materials, the natural world, and time.

There is a strong emphasis on time throughout this project. Analogue photography as a medium and the effects its processes have on environments are both intrinsically time-sensitive. The concept extends to cemeteries as time capsules, experiencing cycles of bloom and decay disrupted by human interventions. I have engaged with the stories intertwined in the environment within the plants and graves.

Materiality exploration intertwines with historical, botanical, and sustainable aspects of London's Magnificent Seven cemeteries, focusing on Highgate Cemetery. Using obsolete and alternative ways of photographic printmaking and creating alternatives to developing chemicals, which are slow and very time-consuming, are ways of creating unknown results. It resulted in a collaboration with both time and nature, aiming to capture the ever-evolving nature of images.

Addressing the environmental impact of data hubs in the digital age, the project advocates for the sustainability of analogue photography. By adopting the Caffenol development process, eco-friendly fixers, and water-based stop baths, the project reduces harm to the ecological environment. Experimenting with exposure time and the absence of a fixer reflects the analogue vs. digital duality and critiques the unsustainable energy consumption inherent in the digital realm.

The project's result blends different mediums into an installation. A video that captures the ongoing changes in the work as the project continues, highlighting the gradual fading of the images and the information they contain. It demonstrates the ever-changing nature of time through all the different rhythms of the project, from quick snapshots with the camera to the evolving patterns over the weeks.