© S. Gayle Stevens, Walking, from the series Calligraphy, 2011

© S. Gayle Stevens, Cornucopia, from the series Calligraphy, 2011

Calligraphy: beautiful writing or drawing
photography: light drawing
taxonomy: the science of the classification of living things
Calligraphy consists of a series of wet plate collodion tintype photograms of plant and animal specimens I have collected on my daily walks. Inspired by cabinets of curiosity, my collection contains diverse specimens such as leaf skeletons, snakeskins, wings and many toads, frogs and insects. I have always been inspired by the overlooked and these objects, which would normally be passed over, are found and cherished for the unique beauty of their sparse remains. Often all that is left is a “skeleton,” a drawing of a being that no longer exists.
I have rendered my drawings as wet plate collodion tintypes. my hand coated plates, collected specimens and light complete these drawings. Black marks of the photogram are similar to brush strokes in Chinese calligraphy, sparse yet expressive. The plates themselves are unvarnished and therefore changeable. The silver rich plates will tarnish with age; the speed and degree will depend on their environment.
These images are my memento mori; an acknowledgement of lives passed, a rendering of fleeting shadows.

more of Gayle’s work here

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