Artist Meghann Riepenhoff’s Otherworldly Cyanotype Prints of Ice Formation – The Marginalian

Way back, whereas visiting the photographic glass plates of nebulae and constellations on the Harvard Faculty Observatory archives, I used to be overcome by the palpitations of paradox — how we predict that images immortalizes, whereas its very roots are in doing the other: making of the ephemeral an phantasm of the everlasting, razing us on the sting of our personal transience as we gasp at the great thing about long-dead flowers and peer on the mild of long-dead stars.

Artist Meghann Riepenhoff each celebrates and subverts this paradox of temporality in her beautiful cyanotype prints of ice formation, for which she spent 4 years wading into freezing waters throughout this pale blue dot — from Walden Pond to the Seine to the mountain creeks of Western Washington’s old-growth forests — to seize one of the surreal sides of actuality: the haunting alchemy of part transition.

On this singular collaboration between human and panorama, she dragged blanket-sized sheets of photographic paper coated with potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate — compounds delicate to the blue portion of the spectrum spilling into ultraviolet, developed and stuck by solely water and daylight — to emerge with otherworldly photos of crisp crystal lattices and feathery fractals: fluid turning into stable turning into marvel.

Radiating from her prints is a type of magical realism — you peer at these freezing waters, this hallmark of our blue world, and see the atmospheres of different planets, the plumage of a hen from some undiscovered paradise, the hieroglyphics of some historic civilization encoding elemental knowledge we have now lengthy forgotten.

On the coronary heart of all of it is a layered meditation on time and transformation, on the refined dance between fluidity and solidity which may be the very best artwork of life, on how one thing, in turning into different, can grow to be extra absolutely itself.

The guide companion to the challenge, titled Ice, is itself a piece of marvel and unusual magnificence, housed in an all-white slipcase embossed with the silent silhouette of ice formation, devoted “to the water, which makes up all of the beings and locations that made this guide potential,” and topped with prose by the inimitable Rebecca Solnit, whose “Seven Sentences on the Fluid and the Frozen” punctuate the otherworldly blues.

Within the first and most dazzling of those kaleidoscopic sentences, she builds upon her earlier shimmering reflections on the colour blue and writes in a single centuries-long exhale:

Stray canine whose fur had turned vivid blue had been just lately photographed wandering within the snow close to a Russian city, the reason for their coloration considered a chemical from an deserted manufacturing facility, one apparently much like the coal fuel byproduct dumped round Britain for a number of many years that was a sticky vibrant blue substance often called Blue Billy of which a report famous “acute poisonous results of Blue Billy embody lack of consciousness and respiration difficulties, as it may well restrict the absorption of oxygen on the mobile stage,” and with this naming the substance appeared to tackle the traits of a person, an unpredictable one who modified roles as he modified associates, as he usually did, for the reason that similar underlying substance, cyanide, compounded with sodium, was used to leach microscopic gold out of huge portions of pulverized earth in japanese Nevada and as soon as the toxic liquid had pulled out the gold, there have been lakes of it that the mining firms had been supposed to maintain the birds from touchdown on, however since they self-monitored, what number of birds died from touchdown in artifical lakes of poison is unknown, and hydrogen cyanide which in its pure type is a liquid that boils at 78 levels Fahrenheit was the poison in poison drugs that numerous Nazis used to kill themselves, and in Zyklon B, the pesticide used to kill greater than one million human beings in Auschwitz (Zyklon being German for cyclone, B quick for Blausäure, or blue acid, what we name Prussic acid in English), and so go a number of of the numerous lethal issues this cyanide does, however the substance isn’t solely a poison, not solely a destroyer, as a result of it’s a part of the primary artificial coloration often called Prussian blue that the Encyclopedia Brittanica notes “was first synthesized about 1704 by the response of salts of iron within the +2 oxidation state (ferrous salts) with potassium ferrocyanide,” and the identical Prussian blue may be given to human beings as a “tablet that may assist take away radioactive cesium and thallium from folks’s our bodies,” says a authorities website that additionally warns that breaking open the drugs earlier than swallowing will flip tooth and mouths blue: cyanide’s title comes from cyan, that Greek phrase for blue that I someway connect with each cynicism and cygnets (the time period for child swans), the blue of stray canine, of lakes, of poisons and cures for worse poisons, the blue of distance, the blue and blue legal guidelines, of blue mouths and harmful blue mud, of the cyanotype photograms of seaweed specimens by Anna Atkins that she compiled into what is commonly described as the primary photographic guide, and the blue of the pictures on this guide.

Complement with the nice Scottish mountaineer and poet Nan Shepherd on water as a portal to transcendence and this beautiful Japanese illustrated poem celebrating water, then revisit two centuries of nice writers — from Goethe and Thoreau to Toni Morrison and Rebecca Solnit — reverencing the colour blue.

I am Christian Nnakuzierem Alozie (Kris Kuzie Alozie). A native of Eziama Nneato in Umunneochi LGA, Abia State, Nigeria. I am an inspirational writer and a motivational speaker. And above all, a lover of charity.

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