Lurking beneath the pleasant, leafy abandoned botanical area behind the Port Douglas Community Hall, lies a toxic environment that is a result of the lands past use as a rubbish tip. My artwork for Call of the Running Tide is specifically sited in this land fill area which belies the potential dangers of leachate from the disintegration of rubbish in the buried tip. The work is directly responding to these themes of natural beauty and toxicity.

Integral to this installation of prints is the process itself. The cyanotype photography method has been used from its very beginnings in 1842 as a way of recording biological specimens. I have developed this body of unique cyanotype prints utilizing only plant materials and photos gathered from this site.  Cyanotype images are developed using two light sensitive iron chemicals applied to a substrate and exposed to sunlight (UV), which renders an image. Using an updated version of the cyanotype technique, I have been deliberately adding moisture and contaminates during the image making process to alter the images, referencing the actions of the pollutants at the site. In this wet cyan process, long exposures of 24 hours or more are used rather than the usual 10 minutes. The added contaminates, like the leachate at this site, over time ooze and seep their way through the paper changing the integrity of the image or nature itself. I have exploited this technique of over exposure and use of unconventional substances to get unexpected and unpredictable results. Some prints were further enhanced with post production techniques using bleaches and toners to alter yet again the print results while keeping in mind the aesthetic of the whole group. This work highlights the beauty of the flora in this area, and reminds us of the undercurrents of toxicity generated from all waste.

Materials:

100% cotton rag paper, handmade in southern India from recycled T-shirt off cuts. Cyanotype chemicals, and assorted contaminates including – soda ash, ammonia, sea water, salt, vinegar.