Tegan Lewis
Polaroid Spectra film emulsion in clear polyurethane resin
© 2009

The language of analogue photography abounds with sensation. It refers to the bodily and the alchemical: gelatin, emulsion, silver and salt. These substances transform the plane of paper into the space of an image. The photographic negative is submitted to bursts of light inside the dark chamber of the camera. Emulsion, like a layer of skin, holds and protects an image. Composed of gelatin sourced from animal hide, bone and offal, it is unique for its ability to hold sensitive chemicals, to expand with water and to protect the silver nitrate and sensitive salts. This is a visceral process, one that uses material from the body of an animal and involves the senses of the human body to process. Both human skin and photographic emulsions share similar vulnerabilities and sensitivities. Under the red glow of the safe light, the body dances between the enlarger and the chemical baths; the tempo orchestrated by the clock's second hand. I have created casts embedding photographic detritus in clear resin. Upon reflection, I began to see that I had inadvertently created elemental lenses. Light is focused through these objects, projecting new images into space. I see this work as the reactivation of the analogue within the context of digital image making.

Tegan Lewis completed a Bachelor of FIne Arts (Honours) at Monash University in 2009. Her practice currently includes sculpture, analogue photography and camera obscura environments. Tegan has recently exhibited with Light Projects in Melbourne and is now embarking on her Master of Fine Arts by Research at Monash.