The following images are a collaboration between myself and a QTPOC poet/spoken word artist. I took their portrait and gave them a packet that included a copy of their portrait, a sharpie and tracing paper and asked them to hand write some of their work around their portrait. The text was completely up to them.
I took that tracing paper, created a screen and screen printed that around the one of a kind print. Julissa is the first of many to come.
Julissa. 2014, From the series Queer Icons, Photogravure w/ Chine-Colle and silkscreen, 11x14, image size 8x10. Gabriel Garcia Roman
Dr. Dain Tasker- Lily, 286x210mm, Photogravure. 1936- Printed 1937.
In the 1920s, light, and in particular the exploration of light through technological and scientific innovations, bridged the distance between artists and scientists. New inventions such as the X-Ray for medical uses in 1925 (previously x-ray machines were astronomically expensive and only available in few government facilities) led to new medium for artistic expression.
In the early 1930’s, one such scientist, Dr. Dain L. Tasker (American, 1872-1964), pioneered the use of x-rays as art, creating beautiful images of flowers. Dr. Tasker’s X-rayography, or rayography as it became known, composes his images poetically by positioning the flowers or shells in ways that tell a story.
“To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.”—Ansel Adams
The photogravure process, when done well, can yield magnificent results. The photographer Fritz Liedtke’s series and book “Astra Velum” (Veil of Stars) embraces this vintage technique. These penetrating portraits of freckled and scarred faces are wonderful to behold online, however, to actually hold them, is to truly appreciate the craftsmanship, the tonalities, and the tactile luxury of the Japanese paper.
Liedtke’s work is currently on view in Miami as part of the group show, “Historical Process/Contemporary Vision,” at the Dina Mitrani Gallery. While his explorations of skin and freckled faces represent a straightforward portraiture, these portraits also offer emotional resonance and beauty. If the eyes are our “windows to the soul,” then these images ask us to look inside beyond the “veil of stars.” —Lane Nevares