The projects I create are motivated by a story, message, or educational element. They require extended periods of time and focus on subjects that are delicate and perhaps overlooked, discarded, forgotten or underappreciated. In Foreshadowing, it is the endangered and threatened plant species of Michigan. I have photographed the shadows of these plants and printed them on paper made from invasive plant species.
For me, it is the shadows that speak to the fragile, ephemeral nature of endangered and threatened plant species and their struggle to survive in a dynamic environment. Many of these plants are disappearing from their natural habitat due to invasive plant species.
The shadow images are transferred onto invasive plant paper using an alcohol gel process. The images appear somewhat transparent and, because of the paper, irregular. This coupling of shadow and paper speaks to the complex relationship between invasive and endangered plant species.
The process from beginning to end is labor intensive and unpredictable, as each invasive plant, and therefore paper, is different. As a result, I am forced to abandon my need for control over the materials and instead allow the organic matter to determine the outcome of each piece.
The shadow images were taken at Welsch Nature Preserve, the W. J. Beal Botanical Gardens, the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, and other various Michigan nature preserves. The invasive plants Phragmites australis Subsp. australis, garlic mustard, and reed canarygrass were carefully harvested from nature reserves and roadsides.
~ Jane Kramer
More information about the project and process can be found here.
Foreshadowing was made possible in part by a donation from Michigan Nature Association.