Life of a Bee
When flicking through an old kodak manual which claimed to house the secret to taking the perfect photograph, I found an advertisement for some glass plates. This publication was launched at the dawn of this new era in photography; the era of a democratised tool.
'A single bee, says Maurice Maeterlinck, in his "Life of a Bee," has no intelligence, but the Hive has an intelligence surpassing that of men.'
It continues on...
'Popular opinion is with mankind the Voice and the Wisdom of the Hive. If, then, Popular Opinion is all in favour of using Imperial Plates, should you not hearken to the wise voice of the hive? Meet any big user of Imperials and talk it over. Said Napoleon, who listened well to the counsels of others: "Get your principles right, and the rest is a mere matter of detail." Gain by others' Wisdom!
It was yet another step in the direction of erasing any trace of the photographer's individuality. Standardising the whole process to contribute an indifferential image to the collective archive.
Life of a Bee is a body of work exploring the journey of that one bee that got lost. The bee that got separated from the hive mind. The works are reductive photographic works - they are made using minimal components.
I collected packets of pre loved, pre handled and damaged silver gelatin papers. I then took them to the darkroom. It is in the darkroom that I would either be disappointed or pleasantly surprised. The resulting 'images' are made from natural causes (mold, unintentional exposure, oxidising agents and poor environmental conditions) over the duration of up to 117 years. Due to the age and influence from their environment, they have been unusable for traditional printing.