Coffee and ink

Where does the photo end and the painting begin? Is the bark a pictorial material or the meaning of everything? The same forest from multiple points of view.

This composition is based on an anthotype made with coffee that has been intervened afterwards with a wooden stick and Indian ink. I have kept the photographic positive on the side of the composition, but the results on coffee have been camouflaged under the paint.

Artistic intention: this work stems from a photograph of a forest I took. I chose coffee as the organic material because of its brownish colour, close to the tones of soil and wood. I decided to intervene it with Indian ink because of its similarity to the original photograph, in order to continue the «drawing» of the forest. I did this with a wooden stick, because it is organic in itself and because of its expressive capacities. Finally, I added a piece of bark, so that the work literally contained the tree. Several approaches to the same natural element.

detail of the anthotype
Detail of the tree bark

This work also seeks to recover the technique of anthotype (invented in 1842), nowadays very much in disuse, and to give it a contemporary look through interventions after the results obtained from exposure to the sun. I am particularly interested in this technique because it is environmentally responsible.

Malin Fabbri in the book «Anthotypes: explore the darkroom in your garden and make photographs using plants» says that with this technique “you could be producing photographs making virtually zero impact on the environment. Picking flowers, grown without pesticides. Grinding the plants with a pestle and mortar, using no electricity. Printing on reclycled paper, cutting down no trees. Exposing them in the natural sunlight. What could be better? Your impact on the natural environment is virtually non-existing, and you can carry out your art with a clear conscience. Anthotyping is the ultimate environmentally friendly photo process”.

Close-up of the three layers of coffee on the watercolour paper
Coffee anthotype intervened with black ink
Coffee anthotype intervened with black ink

You can learn more about sustainable photography on this article from the blog!