Dragons & Horses – An exhibition of photographs by Liam Lynch
An intrepid nature-lover and image-hunter, Australia’s Liam Lynch goes far from the beaten track to create his images. Lynch is also a devotee of the palladiotype photographic process, which requires another excursion far beyond the norm. This painstaking technique shows a dedication to the labour of printing that is rare today.
After weeks underwater communing with these unique animals, Lynch is soon elbow-deep in alchemy: paper stocks are hand-coated with emulsion, and chemicals mixed from scratch. As a result of the 19th century process used, the images look genuinely antique in many ways, reminiscent of Joseph Banks’ catalogues, or Darwin’s specimen collections. Each image is composed using underwater backdrops that are carefully manoeuvred behind the subject and lit to create a “studio like” feel.
Yet these works have a modern edge… Lynch combines the ancient palladiotype method with new technology and equipment to produce the final result. Using a contact printing method which requires a negative the same size as the final print, Lynch brings the raw files into a computer, then prints them out at the required size at high resolution on transparent sheets. The result is a high-quality negative ready for printing. The negative is then laid directly onto the paper and exposed to light, after which the paper can be developed into the finished print.
For Lynch crossing the line from machine-made to hand-made does necessitate a substantial commitment, and the work is certainly labour-intensive. But in the end, what unfolds before the eyes is no ordinary photograph. Each is a true work of art.
–Maree Coote, Author, The Art of Being Melbourne