Laura Blacklow is the author of New Dimension in Photographic Processes: A Step-by-Step Manual for Alternative Techniques (5th revised and expanded edition, 2018, Focal Press, an imprint of Routledge/Taylor and Francis Group, New York and London). Her work is based in photographic printmaking, but is altered through the addition of text and the creation of limited edition artists' books and unique collages. She has been a professional artist for decades and has been volunteering at Fotokids Original in Central America for many years. Her handmade prints and artist's books have been shown internationally; reproductions of her work have appeared in numerous books—most recently in Cyanotype: The Blueprint in Contemporary Practice, 2019—and her prints have been collected by museums such as the Fogg at Harvard, corporations such as Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, N.Y., and individuals, such as Lucy Lippard and Sol Lewitt.
Laura is the recipient of a New England Foundation for the Arts/National Endowment for the Arts Regional Fellowship for Works on Paper, Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Photography; St. Botolph Club Foundation’s Morton C. Bradley Award, and the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Research Grant, Harvard University, to name a few. Selected exhibitions include the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; Royal Museum, Australia; and Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. She was on the Board of Directors of the Photographic Resource Center, president of the local Artists' Call Against U.S. Intervention in Central America, and active in the Guatemalan Solidarity Committee.
Photo of Laura Blacklow by Jerry Russo.
My prints and books combine the antique photographic methods, Van Dyke brown printing and cyanotype (blue printing). I started this portfolio a decade ago and am attracted to using the two processes because of their history, economy, and pliability. I combine arrangements of actual plant matter onto natural rag printmaking paper that has been brushed with one of the light-sensitive coatings, expose the unit to sunlight, develop the paper in trays of water, and continue with a multitude of re-coatings. Each exposure can take hours, and each print is one-of-a-kind. Because of the directness and forgiving nature of these traditional techniques, I feel free to work in a relatively intuitive manner. In addition, this photogram method (placing objects—not film negatives— in contact with the emulsion) seems right for creating imprecise evidence of passed/past time, as represented by traces and shadows of foliage that possess their own life cycles.