Joyce Campbell
Crown Coach Botanical

18 September - 18 October 2008

Two Rooms presents the latest body of work by photographer Joyce Campbell. Campbell demonstrates an insistence in recreating the antiquated technologies of photography as a means to examine the collision of natural and cultural systems.

She has, amongst other techniques, experimented with daguerrotypes, where the image is exposed directly onto a mirror polished surface of silver; and ambrotypes, where a negative photographic image is created on a sheet of glass using a wet plate collodion process. Campbell uses the ambrotype as the negative to handprint her current photographic works on paper.

“Crown Coach Botanical” is a series of twenty-eight photographs comprising a botanical survey of a polluted industrial Brownfield in downtown Los Angeles, previously the site of the Crown Coach School Bus manufacturing facility.

The wet-plate negatives were poured, sensitised and developed in a field darkroom in the back of a truck using nineteenth century technology. The series is part of a larger LA Botanical project, massive and perhaps unachievable in its full potential scope, to document each plant that grows in Los Angeles for which there is a documented use – be it food, medicine, weapon, abortive, analgesic, fuel, stimulant, building material, deadly toxin or mind altering entheogen.

LA Botanical operates simultaneously as map, inventory, and survival guide to the city of Los Angeles. It has the potential to reveal who lives there, from where they originate, what they value, how they eat, worship, heal, harm, travel, clothe themselves, seek insight or achieve oblivion. “Through this project I have attempted to reconcile my own rural background with my life in Los Angeles, one of the most sprawling and unsustainable metropolises on earth”.