This week's Investing in Art article gives an insight into Jo Bradford's innovative cameraless photography.

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Colours have always fascinated people, but few have devoted decades to understanding how they interact with each other, and even fewer have tried to portray rays of light on paper.
Jo Bradford is a self-proclaimed colourist who traps and documents colours at her studio in Devon, England, using a practice referred to as cameraless photography .

Since her debut print series titled 'Autogenesis' launched in 2016, Jo Bradford is the most successful new artist represented by Eyestorm' in the past years. First exhibited in London in 2016, her colourful and energetic series of work has excited both collectors and photography enthusiasts.

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Last month her latest work 'Continuum' was released in London and New York and has instantly become an almost iconic edition. The series of six pieces explores the relatively unknown colours that lie in-between the main colours of the rainbow.

This week's article on 'Investing in Art' gives an insight into Jo Bradford's work; through her striving for perfection and her passion for the exploration of colour, to creating beautiful and intriguing pieces of art.

Jo Bradford has gained a sterling reputation in the art world for a very unusual and specialist art practice; experimental cameraless photography.
She works with ‘alternative’ modes of photography where she doesn’t utilise any conventional equipment, lenses, or mechanised apparatus, nor does she treat her work with any digital, post-production or computerised intervention. 
In an age increasingly defined by technology, her approach is fundamental and pioneering in how we view and experience the intangible.

From her darkroom on Dartmoor in Devonshire, this precisionist, recorder of light and self-proclaimed colourist, successfully traps and documents the colours present in rays of light. She directs beaming colour to light-sensitive paper during fleeting exposures made in the pitch black and has honed her cameraless practice over a career spanning two decades. With a Masters (Distinction) in the Critical Practice of photography, her work celebrates photography in its most simple and rudimentary form albeit via a highly intricate process of creation.

Jo Bradford’s inspiration is colour theory and geometric abstraction which has roots in the lessons of Josef Albers who famously noted ‘there is no difference between science and art when it comes to creativeness’. Bradford’s photograms nod to Albers as they are nonfigurative rather than representational of any given object and draw on the laws of physics as well as art for their inception.  In Bradford’s work with the prismatic colours contained within light that aren’t visible to the naked eye until ‘captured’ onto photographic paper, Her goal is to reveal the inner glow of the colour spectrum. The glorious hues achieved in Bradford’s work as well as the honesty of the technique have helped this artist become Eyestorm’s most successful newcomer since her debut with us in 2016.

The methodology behind the hues, intense saturations and graduations of colour in her work is brilliantly comprehensive and not at all straightforward in practice. In fact the visual simplicity and clarity of Bradford’s works almost contradicts the complex process in which they’ve been created. To take the medium of light as the working practice and the subject of the work takes a steady hand, an intuitive sense of how long exposures should be as well as immeasurable patience and experience. The technique alone is a unique show of honed skill and dexterous flair as masks are placed where the light should not reach and make its mark on the paper during each distinct exposure period. By hand, Bradford will gently peel away these masks at various intervals in time which gives the distinctive graduation and merging of colour that has become so typical of her work, as well as the sharp delineations that strike through the compositions like visual accents. Processing the images with a very particular set of chemical formulae and light-sensitive emulsions follows, in combinations which are continuously tweaked and adjusted.

Bradford is always seeking to perfect her working methods in order to gain the upmost purity and luminosity of light, and her feat with the completion of her first exclusive series with Eyestorm, Autogenesis, has been a huge accomplishment for the artist. Autogenesis are among the most successful editions of 2016 and in 15 distinct hues and a small run of 15 editions, their breadth and colour-range covers more than double that of the standard rainbow spectrum. The series has been widely collected internationally. These painstakingly-made works bring the worlds of art and physics together and can be collected as a full set or individually. To own them is to partake in the artist’s mission to retain visual documentation of rich prismatic colour, for posterity, for the future, as much as for now.

First exhibited in London, in March 2017 and then at an art fair in New York two weeks later, Continuum is a series of 6 works which develop on from Autogenesis, by recording the colours of the rainbow that lie in-between the main colour bands. Between emerald green and turquoise blue lies Continuum Verdigris and between turquoise and cobalt blue lies Continuum Cerulean, and so on. When placed in the desired order, each work contains a colour that is an exact hue of one in the adjacent work and a special paper has been utilised for this series which has light-reflective metallic and pearl mica embedded in its surface, to really show off the shimmering vibrancy and tonality in the work. In its larger format to Autogenesis, the Continuum series has been exceptionally well received by collectors who appreciate its bold presence and who’ve helped some shades to sell by almost half within the space of two months. The energetic and positive work regularly features as the most popular work on the Arts Trends page and has been the fastest-selling series of 2017.

Camera-less photography is an art form that when created well, shows experience, deftness and persistence and we believe Jo Bradford is on a path which will establish her among the most skilled in her field. Her dedication, attention to detail and ability to achieve perfect execution are all evidence of her staying power in the art world. Her two stunning series with our gallery are not only pleasing on the eye but also have such strong conceptual credibility and her approach is recognised in the numerous accolades and awards already under her belt, including Arts Council England’s Creative Development Award and a Grants for the Arts Award, 2016.

Josef Albers - Sunny Side Up

Managed to find time on my London trip to see the Josef Albers show that was in town at David Zwirner gallery.  Quite a treat for a die-hard fan like me.

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New work underway in the darkroom

Work is well underway on my new series.  I am planning to create 6 new cameraless photographs, continuing my exploration of the hue continuum and prismatic colour. I spent the last three months of 2016 sketching, reading and making copious notes. By December it was time to put some chemistry in the tanks and let the alchemical wonder of the darkroom take over my life. After a painfully slow and difficult start, where my chemistry and stencils just wouldn't do what I wanted them to, and after several trips back to the drawing board to perfect my masks, my ideas are finally being realised, perseverance is key in my line of work!  

Lutyens Launch Party

We had a party in London to launch the three Elements works for Sir Terence Conran and Peter Prescott's Wine Bar, Lutyens, last night.

Jo Bradford in front of the Elements Series at Lutyens Wine Bar, June 2016.

Jo Bradford in front of the Elements Series at Lutyens Wine Bar, June 2016.

Jo Bradford (right) with Angie Davey, Eyestorm's Creative Director 

Jo Bradford (right) with Angie Davey, Eyestorm's Creative Director 

New commission for Sir Terence Conran and Peter Prescott's wine bar, Lutyens.

I was commissioned by Eyestorm to create new cameraless photographs for Sir Terence Conran and Peter Prescott’s wine bar and restaurant, Lutyens, on Fleet Street in London in May 2016.  The work is on display at Lutyens Wine Bar, 85 Fleet Street until May 2017, along with previous works, Autogenesis and Lensless Molecular.

The compositions feature circles that were produced by shining light through glasses of Conran & Prescott’s Albion Wines to create the coloured orbs in the final pieces. The opposite colours are captured onto light sensitive paper in a completely dark room. Subjecting the paper to a process of chemical baths develops the latent image and fixes it for permanence.  The geometric lines and compositions are inspired by the modernist, art deco era architecture of the building, which was designed by the great British Architect, Edwin Lutyens in the 1930’s. The artworks are available to buy from Eyestorm

Autogenesis is in New York at the Affordable Art FaiR

If you are in New York this weekend then you can see my new work, 15 cameraless photographs, exhibited at the Eyestorm stand at the Affordable Art Fair New York, in the Chelsea District of Manhattan. Show is open from the 28th April to the 1st May 2016

Autogenesis featured in The Times Newspaper today

My Autogenesis series of cameraless photographic prints appeared in the Times this morning in an article about the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea, London, which is on this weekend.

The partial face sculpture being held in the foreground is by Shaun Brosnan.

Proofing for AUTOGENESIS, my new cameraless works

Photo Copyright Angie Davey @ Eyestorm

I have been at Tapestry in Soho and Goswell Road printing and proofing my new cameraless works this week.  

This new body of work titled Autogenesis consists of 15 luminograms inspired by "Interaction of Colour", the iconic book on colour theory by Josef Albers. 

The work will be exhibited by Eyestorm at the Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park, London from the 10th to the 13th March 2016. 

The Photogram Open 2014 Opens 25th January

My work "Deep Sky Objects II" from my Photogram Series "Constructing Space" is included in this show, 30 artists were chosen to exhibit from over 300 submissions. The show will showcase the Photogram as an artform and there are many different types and processes included in the show. The show moves to Silverprint in London to be shown there from the 18th February to the 15th March 2014.

Asian Geographic publishes An Article about My "Natural Killers" Cameraless project

You can read the article from Asian Geographic Issue-2-2013, which features many of my artworks from the project and has texts from both myself and Dr Alice Brown by buying yourself a copy or by accessing it on scribd

The Beautiful Science exhibition opens in London tomorrow

I have made 2 separate bodies of work for this show. Supported by a Wellcome Trust People Award for ‘Beautiful Science’

"Natural Killers" was made in collaboration with Dr Alice Brown

"Lensless Molecular" was made in collaboration with Dr Rhiannon Holmes White.

Beautiful Science is a collaboration between 12 Imperial College scientists with artists from many different disciplines, each working to the same brief, is their beauty in raw scientific data? Can it be Beautiful Science?

The archetypal scientist, rational, white-coated, methodical, is generally thought to work in non-creative linear ways, while the archetypal artist, emotional, impulsive and unconventional, holds the monopoly on what is ‘creative’. But both ways of working rely on creativity and method, and both produce visual outcomes that reveal something about human perception of the world.

Supported by Imperial College as well as by a Wellcome Trust People Award ‘Beautiful Science’ presents images and original data drawn from the research of Imperial College scientists alongside artists’ interpretation of this information.

By bringing these laboratory images into the gallery, the exhibition becomes an experiment that encourages visitors to consider whether science can, in fact, be considered in the same terms and context as art. ‘My research has always tended towards preparing high quality images that represent a scientific fact. I have always been interested in the aesthetics of the images produced’, says Dr Alice Brown, a post-doc at Imperial researching immunology. 

The scientific data on display encompasses photography of worlds invisible to the naked eye and the graphs, charts and records that are part and parcel of scientific practice. The artworks range across media, encompassing film, photography, painting and design. The relationship between the raw data and artistic interpretation vary across a spectrum from literal and direct engagement to highly abstract, evocative works that bear only the echo of scientific inspiration. Biologist Martin Spitaler, who runs the light microscopy facility at Imperial, says of his participation, "I hope this initiative will manage to make science accessible to the world outside, through the pure beauty of its images, through a glimpse at these wonderful hidden worlds, through interaction with more familiar forms of art."

Featured artist:

Jo Bradford’s work blends photography with painting and printmaking, using lensless media such as luminograms and photograms. Her work has been exhibited widely in the UK and US and she has been artist in residence at Plymouth College of Art and Design as well as benefitting from an Arts Council Creative Development grant. In 2011 one of Jo’s meteorite photographs was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour as part of ‘Flux Face in Space’ celebrating the space shuttle programme. Jo’s direct photographic method in her project ‘Lenseless Molecular’ stays close to the source, adding one layer of interaction between data and artwork.