Ghosts in the Glass

Drawn from an archive of found photographs that purport to capture images of ghosts, these pieces result from a generative darkroom process that obliquely references photography’s spiritualist traditions.

The found photographs were saturated with developing fluid and pressed onto blank sheets of enlarging paper. As the photochemistry emanated from the print, it was struck with light, creating a concurrent process whereby the physicality of the paper photograph is imprinted as a chemigram, while the silver halide pattern of the ghost image cast a negative photogram of itself.

With the advent of radiation-based scientific imaging in the mid-1800s came a sub-movement amongst photographers who employed photochemistry and dubious experimental processes in pursuit of the belief that the mechanisms of photography had the capacity to transfer energy, thoughts, feelings, and the essential spirit of people and objects onto photographic plates. Such intangible subjects were supposedly made visible as fluid emissions that radiated from the subject as it came into contact with the photographic plate.

Revisiting this long-debunked ethos, this work nevertheless seeks to harness the materiality of the photograph, physical forces acting on it, and the alchemy of the darkroom to extract a phantasmagoric aura from the ghosts that reside in these pictures.