After spending several months constructing a personal photographic family archive, I attempt to materialize the tensions between presence and absence in the reconstruction of my own genealogy. Each photo was turned into a 4×5 negative, which was then developed in the darkroom through a process of extreme solarization. This process was documented and the resulting video is projected onto a development tray full of water, as the audience hears factual biographical information about the subject in each image.
A collection of dark portraits resulted from this process. Each frame contains a portrait of a member of my direct family tree, the oldest being my great grandmother’s grandmother. While the images appear completely black from afar, faint and blurred faces appear under closer inspection.