Alice Grace Woosey’s photographs of ducklings developing in and hatching from eggs are dramatic and captivating. The images in Imprint document embryonic life from conception to emergence, the luscious black of the background and glowing warm hues and bright whites of the embryo and egg creating a seductive contrast. While focusing on the fragility and evanescence of the process, Woosey draws a comparison between the subject of the pictures and the practice of photography itself.

From the artist’s statement: Light reveals the interior of the egg, the porcelain-like shell shifts from opaque to translucent, but the embryo appears only as a shadow, indistinct, fleeting and elusive – resisting being pinned down and immutably fixed in an image. Light is also the substance of photography – its alchemical reaction with photosensitive emulsion leaves an imprint of the referent, but also reveals the image in the darkroom, through projection. Without light, the embryo is concealed, the film records nothing – no imprint is left, and nothing can be projected. There is only primordial darkness.

The darkroom is a maternal, womb-like space in which prints develop and negatives have life breathed into them, turning from immaterial projections into physical, material prints. These creations are fragile like the first shadows of existence they represent, too much light and they fade out into over-exposed darkness, too little light and they barely exist at all.

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