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Searching for the Florachrome 
We work with analogue photography, studying nature through natural physical and chemical processes. Since 2015 we focus on analogue photographic research projects in which they aim to give a voice to nature and – in particular – the plant world.

As a duo, we work on long-term projects that depict the colours of plants (through the use of colour dyes) and their habitats. In so doing, our work seeks to gain an understanding of the influences of outside factors on the tonality of plant based colour dyes, their specific compounds and what this means. The resulting images are determined by the nature of the material rather than our perception of it. Observing, identifying and analysing their surroundings provides insight into what happens under the man-made layers of constructed reality.


'Searching for the Florachrome' was specially created for the exhibition Life of Plants. We gathered plants from the area around the VU ART SCIENCE gallery in Amsterdam’s Zuidas district. From these plants – with Dutch names like bezemkruiskruid, zomerlinde, grauwe wilg en beklierde duizendknoop – they extracted the natural colour dyes to convert them into photographic images (dye residues). These dye residues are presented in a matrix on one of the windows of the gallery, transforming the window into stained glass that will color the interior of the gallery during the day. Alongside the dye residues, also presented are the research process a number of extracted dyes on watch glasses a complete index with the scientific and english names and photograms in silver gelatine on fibre-based paper and developed in a technique in which the surface remains exposed to oxidation, Together the work presents an alternate understanding of the Zuidas district, showing the variety of plants that have managed to thrive within this rigid urban landscape. Moreover, in bringing them back to a chromatic essence, the work opens up questions about how man-made landscape and nature interact.


© Arja Hop and Peter Svenson 2013
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