Hurricane Irma || Chemigrams


Hurricane Irma

Exposing the storm

I'd pick a snowstorm over a hurricane any day, I'm also from Northern Idaho.  Being new to the South, I'm also discovering the deep anxiety and destruction that comes with experiencing hurricanes.  I was SO nervous and was struggling to cope with my anxiety watching Irma's trajectory--  I decided to use a technique my therapist taught me, to acknowledge my feelings and redirect them.  I'm an artist, so I decided to cope with my feelings of anxiety by trying to produce art.  

I coated 8 22x30in pieces of Stonehenge cold press paper with potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate-- a traditional cyanotype emulsion and placed the papers around my property to expose during the hurricane.  I secured them with duct tape, bricks, and even wedged one piece between the metal on my fence gate.  The results of the 36 hour exposure were torn and battered, but produced beautiful colors and expressive tonal ranges.  The elements (wind, rain, sun) manipulated the chemistry producing a cameraless photographic image called a chemigram. 

Some of the images were badly torn, so I collaged them with other torn pieces.  Some were whole, and I left them intact.  Finally I mounted them on cradled wood boards and coated them with encaustic (beeswax + damar resin).  This produced a final archival image of Hurricane Irma.    

The results, photographed below, are a physical representation of turning something destructive into something beautiful.

Pieces from the Hurricane Irma Project are available for purchase HERE!

Ali Lanenga