Ojai Photography Community Welcomes Fine Art Photographer Lindsey Ross
Presenting “Guided by Shadows” October 15, 2019, 7 p.m.
Photo by Photographer Lindsey Ross.
Photo by Photographer Lindsey Ross.
Photo by Photographer Lindsey Ross.
Photo by Photographer Lindsey Ross.

The Ojai Photography Community welcomes fine art photographer Lindsey Ross, presenting “Guided by Shadows” on October 15, 2019, at 7 p.m. in Help of Ojai’s Kent Hall, 111 W. Santa Ana St., Ojai. The event is free and the public is invited to attend.

Ross represents a new generation of photographers who are seeking contemporary artistic possibilities in nineteenth century photographic techniques. Like the slow food movement, the vintage photography revival is a shift away from the culture of instant gratification and disposability. In her illustrated presentation, Ross will cover her work in the wet plate collodion process, one of the earliest methods of photography, invented over 150 years ago.

Not for the fainthearted, this demanding process uses a glass plate coated with a light-sensitive emulsion. There is only a ten-minute window to expose and develop the plate. The photographer must have immediate access to a darkroom, and only one image can be created at a time. In addition to these challenges, extremely toxic and potentially explosive materials must be expertly handled to complete the process safely. These one-of-a-kind photographs, with their detailed, haunting beauty, cannot be reproduced and there is no possibility of post-processing. Each one is both a unique image and a tangible object of art.

In her current work, which forms the subject of the presentation, Ross seeks to create a new archetype of the American West and to reimagine its reality in the light of contemporary history. She says, “The conventional interpretation of the American West views the landscape as rugged, masculine and something to be tamed or commodified. The presence of the feminine renders the landscape as fragile.” In Ross’s hands, guided by her passion for authenticity, the collodion process produces images that have a mythic quality and a feminine spirituality that connects all things.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Ross moved west after graduating from college in 2003 to follow her love of independence and sense of adventure. In British Columbia she worked on a self-sustained cattle ranch, and like the photographic process she would eventually embrace, the ranch was grounded in a way of life from the nineteenth century. It was off the grid, and she herded cattle, grew vegetables, cooked meals, and strengthened her sense of autonomy.

Her photographic career began with five years of photojournalism in Wyoming; then she moved to California in 2008 to pursue an MFA at Brooks Institute, graduating in 2012. Upon viewing a collection of early prisoner mug shots, she began working with wet plate collodion in 2010. This process has become her ideal format in a lifelong search for independence combined with a sense of connection. In her artist statement she describes herself this way: “She finds freedom in taking raw materials and transforming those into photographs. The slow pace of collodion requires a presence and intimacy that connects her to both the physical and spiritual world.”

Ross’s images have been exhibited in galleries from Santa Barbara, CA, to Telluride, CO, and most recently, in Budapest, Hungary. She has been Artist in Residence from 2016 to 2019 for art organizations and festivals in Santa Barbara, Telluride, and Budapest. Two documentaries about her work were featured at major film festivals: “Alchemistress” at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2013 and “Lindsey Ross: A Less Convenient Path,” at the 2017 Banff Mountain Film Festival.

For more on Ross, see her website: https://www.lindseyrossphoto.com

The Ojai Photography Community, which is devoted to inspiration, camaraderie and education, meets on the third Tuesday of each month, February – November. Monthly free presentations are part of the group’s community service and education outreach. http://www.ojaiphotographycommunity.com/index.html