Francis teaches photography at UD and he has an exhibition at the Dutoit Gallery (Front Street Warehouse, Building 100, Door BC) opening Friday. The exhibition, titled “Nothing Can Go Wrong,” also features his wife Bridgette Bogle.
Francis has an interest in historic photographic processes. When I asked if his pieces for his upcoming show would be made using historic processes he walked to a shelf with several older cameras and picked one up.
“This is a replica of a Diana camera (a camera developed in the 1960’s with a plastic lens) that I used for most of my photos in this show. I had a problem with film being scratched so I had to make some modifications to the camera. I also added an extension tube so I could take close-up photos.”
“The photos I took with this camera are close-ups of parts of my skin. I took the photos here in my dining room when my twins were napping. They were taken using only natural light, with long exposures. Then in the dark room I used a solarisation technique that was popular in the 1970’s.”
The photo above shows Francis with an anthotype, a photographic process that dates back to the 1800’s. Dyes made from some plants are sensitive to light, and an anthotype uses that sensitivity to create an image. Here Francis has coated paper with two different dyes, one made from the petals of a neighbor’s red tulips and another from a neighbor’s purple irises.
“This piece of clothing attached to the paper was worn by my daughter when she was 3 months old” Francis told me. “The finished anthotype will show the outline of her clothing. I have exhibited many of my anthotypes, and I may show this one, but because of the sentimental value it will probably be marked Not For Sale.”