Developing World

Still photographs and sculptural objects by David Emitt Adams, Binh Danh, and Denis Roussel. Short films by Skye Mitchell and Isidorus Shalom. Curated by Rupert Jenkins

July 10 – August 23, 2014

[slideshow_deploy id=’11820′]

Developing World considers culture through the metaphysical perspectives of alternative and interdisciplinary photography.


“In the Eclipse of Angkor” by Binh Danh pairs chlorophyll prints with Daguerreotypes. Danh’s subject is the 1975-79 Cambodian genocide led by the Khmer Rouge, an offshoot of the Vietnam People’s Army. The artist was born in Vietnam in 1977, two years after the fall of Saigon. The experience of displacement and his eventual trip back to Vietnam inspired him to create work exploring his homeland’s history.

His original medium was the chlorophyll process, which he invented and refined over several years. Danh’s portraits of Khmer Rouge victims, printed on the leaves of tropical plants, are permanently imprinted into the leaves’ molecular structure.  More recently he has made Daguerrotypes in situ at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and elsewhere in Cambodia.

Binh Danh currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He and his family immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s. He earned a BFA in Photography, 2002, at San Jose State University, CA., and an MFA in Studio Art, 2004, at Stanford University, CA. About his mediums, Danh states “I am using these tools of science to help me articulate complex concepts… science for me is truth and knowledge and history is about preservation.”

(Text adapted from “Imprint: The Historic Work of Binh Danh” by Amy G. Moorefield. A larger version of “In the Eclipse of Angkor” was exhibited in 2009 at the Eleanor D. Wilson Museum at Hollins University, Roanoke, Virginia.)

David Emitt Adams was born in Yuma, Arizona. Yuma is located within a once-pristine area of the Sonoran Desert, parts of which was famously documented by Timothy Sullivan and other Western landscape photographers. As Adams puts it, as long as people have lived in the American West they have found its barren landscape to be “a perfect environment for dumping and forgetting.” In his celebrated series “Conversations with History” Adams takes advantage of the artistic legacy of the West as well as its ubiquitous trash by printing wet-plate collodion landscape images onto the discarded cans he finds in the desert, some of them decades old.

His labor-intensive process creates objects that have both a history as artifacts and a visual connectedness to their locations. He writes that “[t]hese cans are relics of the advancement in our culture, and become sculptural support to what they have witnessed.”

Developing World showcases two recent series by Denis Roussel. Inspired by William Henry Jackson’s life and 19th century photographic landscapes, Roussel substituted a motorcycle for a mule pack to create “Wandering Colorado,” a series of wet-plate Collodion plates and prints. Though similar to Jackson’s documentation of the American West, “Wandering Colorado” does not represent the same exhaustive documentation of the land and its untapped wealth. Rather, it illustrates Roussel’s own adventurous fascination for the mythical western landscape he now inhabits.

Much of Roussel’s work emanates from his concern about the deterioration of the environment. His second series on the show – “So much beauty…” – is a series of cyanotype images created by the shadows of recycled containers. The various scientific elements needed to create alternative process artworks offer a metaphor to composting, as each involves numerous chemical and physical reactions.

Born in 1976 in Nantes, France, Denis Roussel studied Chemical engineering at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Chimie in Rennes, France. He then went on to complete an MA and MFA in Photography at the University of Iowa, Iowa City. His interest in scientific imagery has continued throughout his projects, extending from content into the various chemical-based media he uses.

f295 interview with Denis Roussel here


Inspired by medical imaging processes, Skye Mitchell creates short animations of composting fruit by using an interdisciplinary combination of lumen printing and digital manipulation. His short, repetitive films relate to ideas of conservation and the cyclical life and death of an organic being. As with Binh Dahn and Denis Roussel, the various scientific elements needed to create alternative process works provide a metaphoric and material avenue for documenting his subject.

Mitchell is a member of the Denver-based artist collective Totally Totally. He received his BFA from Metropolitan State University of Denver with an emphasis in photography.

Indonesian artist Isidorus Shalom primarily works with time-lapse videography and motion photography. His short video, “Joged,” refers to the classical Balinese dance of that name. The piece, which features dancer Irma Indriyani, clearly references early ethnographic films – such as those by Margaret Mead and early Dutch ethnographers – that document traditional Javanese culture.

In his interdisciplinary digital/alternative process version, the original video frames were reprinted into more than 600 individual Van Dyke prints, which were then rephotographed and transferred back to video. Every one second of video represents 10 Van Dyke prints. “Joged” is a collaborative project made with artists of KOPPI, who made the hundreds van dyke prints needed for the work.

Isidorus Shalom studied photography at the Indonesian Art Institute in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, where he lives. KOPPI – Keluarga Old Photographic Process ISI/Old Photographic Process Family of Indonesia Institute of Art – artists are Husain HAH, Aprillio Akbar, Arfi Darmawan, Dimas Parikesit, Afusa Nidya, Aloysius Assyu, Syaura Qotrunadha.

Rupert Jenkins (curator) is the Executive Director of CPAC.