Leigh Anne Langwell
My research for these images began with my employment as a medical photographer over seventeen years ago, and is rooted in the history and visual conventions of medical and scientific imaging.
The concept of scale and the creation of intersections between microcosm and macrocosm reside at the heart of this work. I build three-dimensional sculptures out of translucent and transparent materials in my studio and then bring the sculptures into the darkroom and arrange them on a sheet of photographic paper under a safelight. I expose the sculptures and paper to white light from a 10-watt bulb, fiber-optic lights, and electroluminescent wire and then I process the paper in photographic chemistry in the usual way. The image that one sees on the paper is a record of the shadows cast by the objects, their individual transparencies and material characteristics. Like an X-ray or a scanning electron micrograph, more information about the physical subject is revealed in a photogram than can often be seen with the naked eye.
I view my work as a long-term project in continual evolution. The black, reversed photograms speak of the communities, entities and locations inside the microcosm of the body. The positive, or white photograms use highly selective exposure to delve deeper into the imagined molecular and subatomic spaces of the body and to extend further beyond it, into the universe. This is a living body of work in a dynamic process of growth and change.