My first morning in Iceland, I alternated between each of the seven windows of my studio apartment, craning my neck to look up the valley, down the fjord, up the mountain slopes and around all the other houses. It was 10am and the morning light maintained a dark deep blue. As the day carried on, the sun never broke the mountains, but circled around the peaks – gracing only the tops of the opposing ridges with direct light. I was told that the sun would only find the town again in February.
This series is an excerpt of my visual diary from January, 2015, my first month in Seydisfjördur, Iceland. I spent 28 consecutive days wandering on foot within the limits of the short daylight hours.
— Jessica Auer, Quebec & Iceland
Using the camera as a tool for recording sites, my intention is create documents that can serve as a collection or archive of places, as well as question the ways in which we experience landscape.
For this project, I attempt to de-centralize the tourist’s gaze on the city by traveling along the perimeter of Montreal Island, photographing the shores while looking outwards. While I escape to the outer edges, towards the horizon, the built environment remains in view. I observe that shores of the island are part nature and part culture.
Akin to a pilgrim following an endless trajectory, I used the camera as way to engage in discovery and contemplation. Installed on all four walls of a gallery, these large-scale images place the viewer in a re-contextualized island, eventually simulating my own photographic experience.
— Jessica Auer, Montreal, Canada
I use the everyday phenomena of light as a source material for my unconventional experimentations with 35mm film. For my ongoing Altered Landscapes series I photograph shifting streaks of light and then submit my undeveloped negatives to physical manipulations, like putting them in the laundry machine, soaking them in a lake and opening up the back of the camera to expose the film to light. The resulting imagery reveals surprising colors and lines that are inherent to the quality of film, and yet invisible without the manipulations.
These projects are similar to meditation: the goal is to reveal the previously unseen in order to make the new light become a sort of consciousness. The practice of manipulating film is an effort at locating a phenomenological presence that can only be revealed through that physical destruction. The process and result of these alterations is similar to closing the eyes when in front of the sun; unexpected lights, colors, and lines begin to form within the subconscious.
I am fascinated by the way that light moves throughout the day, and how the effort of tracking it affects our understanding of the way the natural world operates. Shifting light can alter our environments, our moods, and our awareness of physical and mental space. By harnessing the ephemeral passing of light, the altered image becomes a unique representation of a singular moment in time, a one-time combination of light, color, and chemical reaction that can never again be duplicated, except through the photograph.
— Jessica Adams, Brooklyn, New York, USA