Laurie Beck Peterson, Swarm Section, 2019. From the series We All Fall Down, Cyanotype on ash wood, 10"h X 10"w X 8"d inches. Matted and framed.
Laurie Beck Peterson writes of her work: "The work for We All Fall Down begins as a photographic survey of the pre-spring leafless landscape - the trees marked for removal, the spaces left behind from the felled trees, the tree stumps that remain. The single unframed prints are bold in the classic Prussian Blue of cyanotype and serve as sketches of history. Using this 19th century process - whose origins began as means of documentation of flora and fauna - I present a series of prints that records the time when affected ash trees were intentionally removed due to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. The tree sections printed with cyanotype are record keepers of a different kind. The wood stumps take on a new form as totems marking a significant point in environmental history when the emerald ash borer was introduced to the western world through infested shipping containers. Reflecting the ever changing landscape of The Schuylkill property, they are impermanent in that the wood can retain latent chemistry and as a result may be subject to fluctuation. Although the ash trees are no longer integral to the forests, their remnant stumps are now colluding with the cyanotype for the remainder of their existence."
Laurie Beck Peterson (Philadelphia, PA, USA) is an alternative process photographer primarily working in gum bichromate, cyanotype and platinum palladium. Her work explores impermanence and the growth and decay of the natural world, as a result of invasive species or through natural life cycles. Laurie’s current work focuses on cyanotypes on ash wood stumps and she has recently started using the sustainable plant-based processes.
Most of her images are film based, using a holga or pinhole camera. Her cyanotypes on tree stumps and work in sustainable plant-based processes, are ephemeral which provides the viewer with an experience that can be transient. Her gum bichromate and platinum palladium prints on paper are archival. Laurie teaches alternative process photography at Tyler School of Art + Architecture. It is there that she started a collaborative project between photo and architecture students to build a giant walk-in camera obscura on wheels. Her work is exhibited nationally and internationally. Two bodies of work were awarded at the 15th Annual Julia Margaret Cameron Awards on view in 2021 at FotoNostrum in Barcelona.