Fernanda Larraín's charisma and sweet appearance are reflected in the soft charming beauty of her new exhibit of floral photos, Jardín Negro (Black Garden), currently on display at the Corporación Cultural Las Condes.
The photographer and Santiago native used a specific technique called "collodion wet plate process" to create the photographs of Central Chile, with the collection taking three years to fully complete. Larraín believes nature is a perfect image to represent Chilean society.
Along with Jardín Negro (2015), her most recent works likewise focused mainly on nature and have been published in individual books: El Otro Viaje: los niños de la Teletón (2003), Hotel Valdivia (2009) and AguaTierra (2012). Larraín has also won two awards from the Foto Cine Club de Chile in 1999 and in 2000.
Jardín Negro was special to Larraín because as a self-proclaimed perfectionist, this work taught her that perfection is not necessarily the most important thing in a photograph; what's important is what lies behind it.
The images did not need to be perfectly focused, centered and displayed in order to transmit the essence and the art of each piece. The imperfection added to their aesthetic and portrayed who she is as an artist. Larraín feels she can now apply this idea and value to other aspects of her life.
She first began studying photography with Luis Poirot which was an invaluable opportunity as she knew nothing about photography beforehand. She said she learned "el rigor y el respeto" (the rigor and respect) and "tener una ética de trabajo, ser consecuente con lo que dices, lo que haces y lo que muestras" (to have a work ethic, to be consistent with what you say, what you do, and what you display). Larraín keeps that knowledge in her work and in her life today.
The collodion technique used in this exhibit has contributed to her self-defined role as a historian in photography as an art and a practice. She aspires to promote the history and tradition of photography and how it all started. Larraín believes many photographers now consider photography as purely a digital endeavor and are unaware of past styles and techniques.
The collodion wet plate process is a technique rarely used today which requires the photo to be coated, sensitized, exposed and developed in a portable dark room--all in a matter of minutes. The exhibit consisted entirely of photos produced in this manner and allowed for black and white pieces with a fabulous level of detail.
Larraín says it is hard to say if collodion could have a more prominent role in Chilean photography because of the complicated procedure and most of the chemicals and materials must be imported from other countries such as the United States and England. However, it undoubtedly left a stunning outcome in Jardín Negro.
Exposición Jardín Negro
August 25-30, 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Corporación Cultural de Las Condes