Botanica

March 13, 2007

Botanica celebrates the diversity and ingenuity of plants, as displayed in their circulatory, tissue, and reproductive systems. Trained as a painter, I find I am always drawn to the color, texture and form in my subjects. Thus, for the images in the Botanica series, I purposely embraced the manipulative features of the digital medium, in order to push photographic images into the realm of the painterly. There are 12 prints in the series. Each was a limited edition of 10.

I completed the Botanica series in the fall of 2006, after half of year of experimentation with printing directly onto various metal surfaces, including copper, brass, nickel and tin. The metal ultimately chosen for each print was dictated by the image.

Botanica was inspired by the earliest form of successful photographic images, Daguerretypes. These metal-based photographs were first introduced to the world in 1839 by Louis Daguerre (1787–1851), who perfected a process whereby images were fixed on copper plates. A plate was prepared with an iodine solution to form a light-sensitive “emulsion.” After exposing the plate to light and heating over mercury, the plate (with its image) was fixed in a solution of common salt and rinsed in distilled water.

I also coated the metal substrates with a wet “emulsion,” although my materials weren’t as toxic as Daguerre’s. After the emulsion dried, I ran the metal plates through my Epson printer and “fixed” them with a UV varnish. I coined the term Digital Metaltypes as a unique descriptor of the process.

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Liz Hager


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