Friday, August 27, 2010


Whats with the obsession with "-o-types"?

The above image is what I've been calling a trash-o-type. It is made (or should I say discovered?) when a piece of photosensitive paper is discarded. As the paper sits in the trash it will come into contract with photochemistry residue from all sorts of darkroom related trash. It is 'finished' by a prewash, a fixer bath, then a final wash. After the jump is a narration of the creation process for a typical trash-o-type.

*The story behind the creation of a trash-o-type*

I'm in my darkroom and I will be trying my best to make a beautiful print and I am only succeeding in frustering myself with the results. I toss an early screw up into the trash (I dodge the wrong corner, with the wrong filter, for the wrong time. Gah!). I continue to print and forget about the discarded paper. The bit of paper gets dripped on from various darkroom related trash and exposed to whitelight.

Days later I am taking out the trash and I see a record of my darkroom work. It wasn't intentional, but is beautiful- and chaotic. I take it out of the trash and wash it in water for a few minutes, then fix and follow with a final wash.

The print looks strange in the final wash with the rest of my prints. But once all the prints are hung on the line; it is the trash-o-type that stands out.

I never actively try to make a trash-o-type, but if I notice paper in the trash starting to 'mature' then I might make a mental note to check it later... and perhaps abstain from emptying the trash for a few days.

I think it would be counter to the nature of the trash-o-type to try and actively produce them. To me they are beautiful manifestations of chaos and chance, and a fantastic pick-me-up to discover after a unlucky day of printing. The fact that they are produced during the failures of other prints makes them all most take on the missing qualities of the discarded prints.

And being a one of a kind in the age of mechanical reproduction is icing on the conceptual cake.

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