Mary Kocol
Photography

 

 

Anthotypes are ephemeral prints made from plants, a Victorian-era process

Portraits and Photograms


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From a Vanishing Garden


© Mary Kocol
Concord Grapes, End of the Season.
Concord grape anthotype



Wild black raspberry anthotype
© Mary Kocol



Iris anthotype
© Mary Kocol


Japanese iris anthotype
© Mary Kocol


Rose anthotype
© Mary Kocol



Portrait of an Artist with Hydrangeas
Iris anthotype
© Mary Kocol



Japanese iris anthotype
© Mary Kocol



Turmeric anthotype
© Mary Kocol



Rose anthotype
© Mary Kocol



Violets anthotype
© Mary Kocol


Rose anthotype
© Mary Kocol


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Garden Photograms

Queen Anne's Lace, Hyssop, Thyme
Wild black raspberry and pansy anthotype



Morning Glory, Ferns, Asters, Oregano
Butterfly pea flower anthotype


Mallows
Wild black raspberry anthotype



Violets Bouquet
Violets anthotype


Mallows and Queen Anne's Lace
Iris anthotype


Delphiniums
from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Wild pansy anthotype

All images © Mary Kocol


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Test Palette, plant colors from 2022,
mostly from the artist's garden
© Mary Kocol


Select pages from 70+-page Anthotype Process Notebook
:











© Mary Kocol

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CV

Scientists Sir John Herschel and Mary Somerville experimented with plants to produce color prints they named Phytotypes during photography’s early days in the Victorian era. Eventually, the fugitive process was relinquished for better known Cyanotypes and other more permanent printing methods. Now this abandoned artform has found renewed fervor and a new name, Anthotypes.

To me, a garden is a contemplative haven, a place of remembrance. Did the flowers within come from a special person or from a garden of the past? In my small urban garden, the limited number of flowers harvested is precious to me, endowing my anthotypeswith special meaning. I'm amazed by this mysterious technique - that common plants with their luscious and sublime colors can produce light sensitive emulsions at all.
 
One anthotype emulsion is made from blue irises that only bloom for a few weeks and then they’re done. The rhizomes originally came from my mother’s garden a long time ago. Then I wait for the fragrant dark red roses of June, wild black raspberries to forage in July, September’s morning glories and Concord grapes. Spring returns eventually with whispers of colors from violets, grape hyacinth, and squill.

After the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were lifted, I finally saw friends and family in person again and rejoiced by making their portraits. The pandemic was a reminder of life’s fragility, reiterated in the fleeting presence of my friends before my camera and the evanescent emulsions I use to create my prints and photograms. When I layer the portraits with images of flowers, I allude to an eternal spring, a time of hope, with the worst behind us.

-Mary Kocol

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Learn more about the anthotype exhibition I co-curated with Jesseca Ferguson
at the RI Center for Photographic Arts in 2022:
Making Pictures from Plants: Contemporary Anthotypes

 

 

All images are copyright Mary Kocol. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be copied without permission.

contact: marykocol [at] gmail [dot] com