Cameraless Images "Naturally Modified"

Ajay Malghan Photography

A wise man once said, “If everyone is doing it, then surely it can’t be right”.  This is an ethos I’ve taken to heart while forging a career as an artist over the past decade.  If art is the filter through which we see the world, I figure it’s best to try to see our surroundings in a different way than we’ve been exposed to.

Naturally Modified Corn

Naturally Modified Corn

Isolating myself from trends (megapixels, digital manipulation etc.) in the photography world eventually led me to bypass the camera in making “Naturally Modified,” a series of cameraless images created in the darkroom that uses food as the medium.

The process basically turns the photo enlarger into a microscope with color filters.  I begin by slicing the fruit, vegetable or cheeseburger and placing it between two 8x10 pieces of glass.  After placing them into the enlarger, I project the object onto an 8x10 piece of paper and insert it into the color printer.  The printer does all the work!  This print is later scanned at a high resolution, which allows me to print the image at 40x50 inches.  This takes the imagery into a realm that has more to do with painting than photography.

Naturally Modified Banana Peel

Naturally Modified Banana Peel

The textures of the various foods, engage me throughout the process.  By no means would I have ever thought that a banana peel or corn stalk could be so interesting or complex in structure.  I think there’s something to be said for taking food items that we typically discard and making a beautiful piece of art with them.

Photography can have an interesting way of stripping its subject matter from its context.  The abstract takes that to another level.  These images aren’t trying to prove anything about food, art or science.  The process uses color as an instrument to show us how many different ways there are to look at one object.