Images & Text By Emma Backer
As a 12-year-old, I chose to spend my summer in the basement of a supposedly haunted building to work in the darkroom for the first time. Being in the dark with the potential of angry ghosts should have been scary, but that fear immediately went away at the first sight of my image floating in the chemicals. My love of photography and the darkroom only escalated from there. However, years of classes, endless camera repairs, the smell of chemicals that I could never truly get rid of and sleepless nights staring at a computer screen caused me to become desensitized to the joy that photography initially brought me.
It wasn’t until years later after working in photography-adjacent positions and shooting on occasion in New York City that the isolation of Covid had me reminiscing about my connection to photography and the solace that it provided me. I quickly re-immersed myself in analog photography experimenting in historical and alternative processes. The fluidity and flexibility that these new techniques provided me enabled me to reconnect with my artistic process and provided me escape I desperately needed during the pandemic.
Four years later I’m back to the all-encompassing joy that photography brings while providing a necessary outlet for my anxieties, fears and unease. The desire to capture my emotions in imagery is what spawned Premonitions on the Avoidable. As the impact of climate change becomes more apparent in our daily lives my moments of awe are interspersed with anxiety, despair and frustration that we are letting our environment collapse. I can’t appreciate the beauty surrounding me without questioning what this view will look like in 5, 10 or 20 years. Appreciation for the flowers blooming, leaves changing, or birds cawing is met with flashes of decay, destruction and lack of life.
Premonitions of the Avoidable captures that anxiety and despair of climate change. Images are taken on Polaroid 600 round frame film and then submerged for up to 6 weeks in materials to simulate the effects of climate change in the environment.
Photographs from ‘Premonitions/Avoidable Series’
All images and text © Emma Backer
Edge of Humanity Magazine
Photography & Philosophy
The freezing of a moment is a magical event. Images can make us feel love, rage and every sensation in between.
Photographers, whether partial or impartial to their subject matter, consume a massive amount of insight. Their participation cannot be substituted nor replicated. The moment is gone! The experiences will live in their minds and those encounters are immortalized in their photographs.
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