The essence of photography lies in its seemingly magical ability to fix shadows on light-sensitive surfaces. Normally, this requires a camera. Shadow Catchers, however, presents the work of five international contemporary artists – Floris Neusüss, Pierre Cordier, Susan Derges, Garry Fabian Miller and Adam Fuss – who work without a camera. Instead, they create images on photographic paper by casting shadows and manipulating light, or by chemically treating the surface of the paper.
Images made with a camera imply a documentary role. In contrast, camera-less photographs show what has never really existed. They are also always ‘an original’ because they are not made from a negative. Encountered as fragments, traces, signs, memories or dreams, they leave room for the imagination, transforming the world of objects into a world of visions.
The V&A commissioned a short film on each of the five international artists featured in the Shadow Catchers: Camera-less Photography exhibition, showing their studios and the places that inspire them. This is a revealing and evocative look at their working environments and an insight into their creative ideas.