MILLENNIA: Images from Greece, Turkey and Sicily
In the summers of 1998 and 1999, my husband, Eric Renner, and I were fortunate to teach workshops on the Greek island of Samos in the eastern Aegean, close to Turkey. The darkroom was very primitive — we washed our film with a hose in the yard of an elementary school and hung our negatives up to dry in the school's outhouse. Because of the working conditions, I knew my negatives would have many scratches and dirt embedded in them. Rather than fight the less than ideal conditions, I decided to enhance the scratches and dirt to create images intentionally manipulated to contain those flaws. I also briefly poured a small amount of exhausted fixer on my negatives as the first step in the developing process, creating unpredictable aberrations on the film.
I made "Millennia" with a Finney Field Camera, a 4"x5" camera with a bellows and a rotating turret with four pinholes, three zone plates and a viewing pinhole. The different size pinholes and zone plates are intended to be used at specified distances. I often used pinholes and zone plates at the "incorrect" distances, resulting in images that were more out of focus than if I had used them at the "correct" distances.
In 2006, I traveled to Sicily with my mother for two weeks. These images were made with a Russian Lubitel 120 camera with a zone plate in place of the lens. I also manipulated many of these images in the darkroom.
All of these factors worked to create images of Greece, Turkey and Sicily, ancient lands that have seen both the heights of civilization and the demise of those civilizations amidst much turmoil and unrest. I attempted to capture the undercurrent surrounding their foreboding history — an undercurrent that has permeated their remains.