Spoon Fed No.2
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Living Echo :: Rachel Sokal

I print photographs onto leaves using sunlight. This is a rare process; not many people have perfected it, the success rate is about 1 in 5 and it has taken me this long to slowly build up a body of work.

When I started this project two years ago I’d been feeling a bit overwhelmed when confronted with the enormity of climate change. I wanted to try to bring these huge issues down to a more personal level. Whether human, animal or plant, we’re all living bodies under the same sun. This was my starting point.

My first prints showed a simple echo between the shape of the stem and leaf with images of my wrist and hand. Since then I’ve been researching the science behind this process and exploring other echoes between human and plant bodies. Illustrations of brains and x-rays of bones echoing the shapes within the leaf structure; facial features for a surreal moment: ‘What if plants had eyes?’ There’s also a more obvious point here too: the way these images are made illustrates both the power of solar energy and that too much sun damages living cells, plant or human.

I’m putting on my first major solo exhibition during the Bristol Festival of Photography, showing my chlorophyll prints. Exciting! The only issue is that each leaf will cost approximately £40 more to exhibit than normal prints because they need to have a special protective display; they’re thinner than tissue paper and bleach out in the light. At present I can’t afford to show the full set of images I’ve made for the exhibition. Your support would go directly towards showing more images.

My artistic practice is very linked with my community arts work. In the coming year I hope to find some nice scientists to work with to make this project into an outreach programme for kids about solar power, photosynthesis and UV damage. Images from this series been selected in two international photography competitions, showing at the Minneapolis Photo Center and the Center for Fine Art Photography, Colorado (kudos not dosh!).

Living Echo
17–31 May 2012
The Island Gallery, The Blue Gate, Bridewell Street, Bristol, BS1 2QD
Mon-Sat 12-6pm - Sun 12-4pm

Living Echo I  

Still Alive  

Still Alive (installation view)