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Zana Briski

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Photograph by Zana Briski

Image Title: Skunkogram #12

Paper Dimensions (H x W): 24 x 40 inch diptych,

Image Dimensions (H x W): 24 x 40 inch

Medium: gelatin silver prints, gold-toned, mounted to archival watercolor paper.

Year Created: 2017

Signed en verso

Image Description: Unique life-sized photogram of a wild striped skunk made in the forests of New York State.

Working patiently on moonless nights, I lay out large sheets of light-sensitive gelatin silver photographic paper. Once the paper is in position, I sit in the dark and wait all night for an animal to pass by. I am in full view of the animal--this takes tremendous trust, openness and stillness.

When an animal passes in front of the photographic paper, I make a quick exposure with a flashlight--I later develop the photographic print in a traditional chemical darkroom. The photogram is then toned with pure gold, both to affect the coloration of the print and to ensure it's archival stability. The result is a unique and magical direct impression of a wild animal onto photographic paper. Each one a ghostly gift reflecting the fragility and majesty of the natural world.

Photographer's Bio: Zana Briski is a photographic artist and the Academy Award-winning director of Born into Brothels, based on her 10-year project in the brothels of Calcutta where she photographed, filmed and taught photography to the children of prostitutes. She founded Kids with Cameras, a non-profit organization that empowers marginalized children through learning photography. For her current project, Reverence, she has spent fifteen years photographing and filming insects in the wild; Reverence will be a traveling exhibit of large-scale photographic artworks, a film and music, housed in a traveling museum designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect, Shigeru Ban.