Keiko Goto - 'Night Jewels'

Wednesday 13 November  - Sunday 8 December 2019

"I have concentrated on black and white monochrome in the past, but the old analogue printing method of cyanotype really fits these night photography images. Night photography requires its own unique set of techniques from normal photography, not to mention the lonely world of your own in dark and often cold weather. It has, however, attracted me for a long time. 

At night, the world turns to blue black with bright stars shining in the sky, reminding us that the earth is not the only place in universe. We are a part of 'a beyond'. Using this very old printing method, making my own photographic paper and developing prints by hand give a painterly and a personal feel to the photographs. With cyanotype prints, I had finally found the right tool to express the world of night photography. The blue and white represent the water, air, universe and light of the stars. The very subtle tones of mangrove in shallow waters, the reflection of star trails on the shallow waters, the different shades of night sky with the Milky Way are all captured by the camera lens and transformed into images on 100% cotton paper. Along with the texture of paper surfaces, all add up to unique artistic prints.

Cyanotype printing method was first discovered in 1842 by John Herschel and became popular with engineers and surveyors in the 20th century as a simple way of copying drawings and plans, hence 'blueprint'. The process of cyanotype printing involves three processes. One is making my own photographic paper from mixing ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide and brushing this emulsion to 100% cotton paper. The second stage is to make negatives to the size of the final print from either digital negatives or film negatives (contact printing). The third stage is to expose these under UV light in a UV box or sunlight, then develop in chemicals and a long wash to get rid of the excess. This results in a wonderful cyan-blue print. This handcrafted process makes each print a special piece and it is hard to reproduce exactly the same tone at a later date. The humidity, temperature, freshness of emulsion, types of paper, light source and water all add up to alter the shades and the colour of the prints each time. That is why the date of printing, temperature, humidity and sometimes exposure times are noted on each print.

Of course, you never place an artwork where the sun hits directly, but the frames are fitted with 70% UV block as well as anti-reflective surface for clear colour transmission." Keiko Goto, October 2019