Stacy Jacobs | Professor of Art
About Professor Jacobs' work
Solargrams are one of a kind photographs made by exposing light sensitive paper in a pinhole camera from several days to a year. Left out in the elements, these cameras are employing historic photographic principles and technology.
Over time, they record (with what we’d think of as a very slow shutter speed) everything before them. Things that move may not register. Objects that fall on the film plane for some period of time may form a ghostly image. Seasons can be seen through prominent tree limbs and leaves that are lighter in value because of their annual cycle. The arc of the sun is preserved through rainbow-like lines in the sky.
Instead of chemical development, the paper negative once removed from the camera is scanned. Once light hits the paper’s surface, the negatives are irreparably changed. The light emitted during the very scanning process that electronically preserves them is actually destroying them.
The cameras that recorded these images were made from empty plastic film canisters, aluminum for the pinhole, and lots of electrical and duct tape. Each solargram is approximately 1.5” x 3” in size.
harvest and installation of solarcams
Shown above is the initial scan of one of the solargrams. This is the most pristine view of what's been harvested. Note that this negative was accidentally folded. The second scan is of lesser quality because the light had begun to degrade the negative.
Shown above is a compromised camera. A bird beak is suspected.
The images featured below in this exhibition are solargrams created over the timespan of about 6 months on family land. These pieces have been inverted in photoshop (as is customary practice in creating solargrams) and have not been altered in any other way—no contrast or exposure adjustments, etc. Compromised cameras recorded the elements they were exposed to. They are true historical documents of the time that they’ve recorded.
Barn Tree Cam 07/08/18 through 01/05/19
Front Yard Cam Harvested 01/15/19
Front Yard Cam Harvested 11/27/19
Sycamore Tree Harvested 1/5/19