Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

Helen Byrd

Transparency: 119

2009, Inkjet print on hand-treated transparency, 25"w x 40"h

I am fascinated with arranging a composition with the viewfinder of my camera. Although my photographs offer a contemporary perspective, my work always uses the formal elements of photography. I created this body of work with black ink and hand-prepared inkjet transparencies. I chose to apply the liquid ground to the transparencies with a brush, as opposed to purchasing pre-treated transparencies, which allow for human error. With digital photography, the final product masks human involvement. With other mediums you can easily see brush strokes, fingerprints and offset ink, exposing the artist’s hand. The inherent qualities of the inkjet transparencies are inconsistent and often unpredictable. This is an asset for the work because it’s impossible to make the same print twice. Each image is unique and handmade. By eradicating the traditional elements of photographic display—the glass, the frame, the paper, the matte—the viewer is uninhibited. Without these essentials, what you are left with is the black ink suspended in space, creating a stark, high-contrasting image. I find the architecture, scale and textures in these subjects lend themselves well to being photographed and printed without color while leaving the aesthetic experience open to the viewer.

Helen Byrd - Transparency: 119

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