Friday, July 27, 2007

Les Chambres Noire

   © Michel Campeau, All Rights Reserved
Michel Campeau's Les Chamres Noire (or Darkrooms) is a fascinating and idiosyncratic examination and tribute to the demise of the chemical darkroom. Reminiscent of Peter Fraser's work, Campeau explores the detritus strewn corners and the wonky analog contraptions of darkrooms throughout his native Canada. As Campeau writes,
As an agent in and witness of a pivotal moment in the history of art and technologies, squeezed between the dual procedures of analogical and digital recording, I find the utmost importance to invest the iconicity of the darkroom with the connotations of ruin and post-industrial debris . . . My investigation, iconoclastic and sacrilegious, scrutinizes the “surrealizing” incongruity of darkrooms and throws the spotlight on the bric-à-brac of plumbing and electricity, the ventilation-system engines, the posted iconography, the weirdness of “planets” envisioned at the bottom of chemical trays, the splattering of silver salts, the wear of equipment and the countdown of timers that defies the disappearance of the panchromatic spectre.
   © Michel Campeau, All Rights Reserved
Nazraeli Press is releasing a monograph of the work - selected and edited by Martin Parr. The book is the first in a series of what promise to be excellent books edited by Parr for Nazraeli.
   © Michel Campeau, All Rights Reserved
Looking at his work, I can't help but be reminded of the remark by master printer, Richard Benson, "Making art in a room in the dark is the stupidest thing imaginable." Working in the dark may be stupid, but it often yields magical results.
You can see more of his work here.