September 2017

Featured Artist

Nadezda Nikolova-Kratzer

Solvitur Ambulando

Solvitur Ambulando consists of wet plate collodion photograms of flora I collected during walks. The series considers two perspectives. One explores ecological themes by drawing on the herbarium tradition and connecting to the dawn of photography. I am thinking of Anna Atkins’ cyanotypes of algae and Cecilia Gleisher’s photogenic drawings of ferns. Like Atkins and Glaisher, I am fascinated by the richness of the natural world. I am also deeply concerned about its survival in light of anthropogenic impacts. These rudimentary photograms, created by directly placing ordinary plant objects on light sensitive emulsion, ask the viewer to pause and to notice; to connect and to care; to consider the significance and beauty of a humble weed.
This series also explores a personal inward journey, which speaks to the second perspective. By manipulating chemistry, timing and light I create artifacts that suggest mystery and drama, evoking a spectrum of psychological interiors. Forms combine with textures to create moods and associations. Plant materials and arrangements hint at symbols. The herbarium becomes a catalog of “psychological specimens,” tethered to a time and place yet also existing outside of time and place; the biological specimens returning to the viewer as personal memories. In this manner, the natural form becomes inseparable from the artifact; the image inseparable from the hand; the objective inseparable from the subjective.
Born in the former Yugoslavia, I emigrated to the United States at the age of 18, where I obtained a BS in Environmental Sciences and MA in Public Administration. After discovering historical photographic processes at the age of 35 I haven’t looked back, pursuing photography through tutorials, workshops, and countless hours of darkroom experimentation.
My inclination is to always push the boundaries of photography, using chemistry and light to “paint” artifacts that conjure moods and metaphors. I have been particularly intrigued with the possibility of using wet plate collodion as a lens-less medium, sharing my discoveries through workshops and lectures. I often look to natural forms for inspiration, which reflects my connection to nature and concern for its survival. I am particularly drawn to illuminating forms that are seemingly mundane and easily overlooked, seeking to highlight their intrinsic significance as well as to impart new meanings.
My work has been exhibited internationally and nationally, featured in magazines and online publications, and recognized with awards. I currently live in the Bay Area with my husband and artist, with whom I share a passion for avant-garde photography, and my son, two dogs, and a fish.