BCA News: Winter 2017
The Colorado River, Night and Day
Chip Hedgcock and Kathleen Velo
In 2014, after working in several other water sources in Southern Arizona, artist Kathleen Velo began working in the Colorado River. Velo was creating photograms while standing knee-deep in the river in the dark of night. The photograms were created directly on chromogenic photographic paper and they create a stunning visual representation of the precarious quality of water in the Colorado River. The Colorado is a critical social and environmental issue affecting millions of people in the Western and Southwestern United States.
While Velo stood in the river in the dark, holding sheets of chromogenic paper submerged, her assistant, BCA member Chip Hedgcock, operated the small flash unit that made the exposures. The exposed paper negatives are then taken to an impromptu field darkroom where they are rinsed off (the Colorado River is incredibly silty) and hung to dry. Later they are processed in a commercial color lab.
During this time, Chip Hedgcock began experimenting with another camera-less photographic process, Lumen Prints, to capture exquisite images of plant forms. The lumen print process is extremely experimental, it uses only plant materials, sunlight and expired black and white photographic paper. Many hours of solar exposure cause the paper's gelatin silver emulsion to gradually change color. After fixing and toning the paper in his darkroom, Hedgcock is left with a subtle negative image.
Chip Hedgcock, working by day, and Kathleen Velo, working in the dark of night, call this collaborative project “Colorado River Night and Day”, and have covered the entirety of the Colorado through five states, from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains to the Colorado Delta in Mexico.
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