Corey Allen is one of the co-owners at Hidden Light LLC and has been printing in the darkroom using silver gelatin, platinum palladium and other alternative process techniques since 1987. His new body of work will be showcased at the Aspen Avenue Gallery in Flagstaff, AZ.
These photographs were made in Goesan, South Korea in an area where some younger people with the help of some older are trying to save agriculture and people of South Korea from industrialized agriculture.
I was amazed to witness the first harvest of people from the city who have perhaps never even had a garden. They are brave souls from the arts communities, film industry and non-profits based out of Seoul, one of the most densely populated cities in the world. These people are full of passion for a healthy planet, healthy food and a love for Korean culture.
In the summers of 2011 and 2012 I was lucky enough to travel and spend time with these amazing people trying to recover South Korea’s traditional farming practices. I was able to photograph them entirely on film with my 70 year old Graflex Super D, a 4×5 inch SLR and Hasselblad Xpan (panoramic camera). During the summer of 2012 I shot more than 100 sheets of 4X5 film, processed them in the bathroom at night and made cyanotypes for the people I took photographs of. I have represented this type of photographic print in the show with the prints of “Woman Chicken Farmer” & “Grand Mother, Neighbor”.
Other prints in the show are of a few different types, all wet darkroom prints, Palladium & Silver Gelatin. The Palladium process was developed in the 1870’s, these photographs are made up of Palladium metal in the hand coated paper. These are very beautiful and very permanent. It is a contact printing process which means the negative is the same size as the print itself. These prints are a bit warmer in tone and have been made on Japanese Washi or Korean Hanji (traditional hand made paper).
The Traditional Silver Gelatin prints are the same black and white prints from the past 100 years, made in a wet darkroom by hand. These are projected from smaller film with manual manipulation in the darkroom. With digital processes and the profession of time even this 100 year old process is slowly going by the wayside. It is unfortunate because it is a beautiful and simple way to make prints.
We have been making hand made photographic prints at Hidden Light since we formed in 2001. It wasn’t until 2007 that we really began to focus on the process. The platinum prints in the show are made on a traditional Japanese Gampi paper. They have a luminance that is unrivaled in my eye to any other B&W photo. Platinum Palladium prints are known for there beauty, permanence and long slow graduation of tone, from dark to light. Working in the darkroom with the process is a lot of fun and challenging too. We take a regular piece of paper and turn it into something at is sensitive to light. It is a process of creating something out of raw ingredients.
Corey’s show will display in the Aspen Avenue Gallery during the month of August. Join us for an opening reception during First Friday Artwalk on August 1st at 6pm!