‘Flesh, Purple Fungi Veins’ By Alice Campos

**NEW ARTIST FEATURE** Researching the potential of Pestalotiopsis Microspora Mushrooms I have grown Oyster mushrooms from spores and buried resin photographic waste papers beneath the soil. Carefully dissecting and observing the potential of the Mushroom's ability to break down the resin coating on the surface of darkroom papers such as Ilford and Foma, once the paper turns to smaller particles and the Mushrooms begin to die, I will pick them to eat and reuse the paper filled soil for Rosemary plant beds. The buried photographic resin print will live on through the veins of the Mushrooms. The concept of burying photographic prints such as test strips, is to explore a literal and spiritual life cycle. Which is the fundamental weight of my research, to find beginnings to an end and place those back into the earth to be regenerated in the form of Mushrooms, which will finally be transformed into new photographic prints. The soil underneath the resin veined Oyster Mushrooms contributes to the growth of neighbouring Rosemary, which I will pick and boil to create a natural sustainable Rosemary developer. Exploring a full life cycle the resin eating Mushrooms and paper waste will exist within my final photographic prints. It will exist within the shards of Rosemary giving purple hued veins to the Portrait Liquid Emulsions. Chemigrams made from mushroom skins and Phytograms from phenol filled plants. ‘Our bodies full of natural bacteria, digestion, breathing- our feet stomping on fungi veins, in the riddled underbelly of the soiled grounds. Similar to the touch of our skin, plants and flowers offer us a touch not dissimilar to our own prickly textured elbows and soft hairs.’ I accumulate findings from varied areas of existence, an existence that is birthed from the lens, under the idea of ‘light research’, immaterial and situational based research that is undertaken within each unique photograph. This work focuses on my fascination with romanticizing human encounters by staging fictitious scenarios and capturing the immaterial nostalgic touch and impermanent human presence in the forms of dancing and fleeting golden light on wrinkled skin. The blushes of purple flesh, curled wet porous hair and softened eyelashes resting on silver nitrate riddled cheeks. I tinker these staged scenarios with alchemical formulas and organic handmade photographic developers. Through distilling these moments with handmade Rosemary developers these photographs investigate a spiritual life cycle of death and rebirth. The material and immaterial are married, existing through the physical discolouration of the photographic prints and fantastical molecular regenerated entities and energies into the other realm that these prints now hold. The subjects of the photographs both exist as a romantic and grotesque scenario that I indulge in developing and dipping into waters that are fantasized and fantastical by spiritual rebirth and factual scientific methodology. Bouncing between sustainability within the darkroom, fictitious romanticism, scientific molecular technology and spiritual energies, this research considers ideas of an artist's fantasy, factual nature and spirituality. The act of fixing a print that holds the molecular weight of past waste photographs, resin sucked through mushroom veins and shards of Rosemary photographic blood. The molecular weight brings the fantastical to the photographic print alongside the Rosemary photographic blood blushing through it. All the while the figure captured and repeated throughout my photographs are either me or my closest relation. This research uncovers a deeper analysis of sustainability, recycling in the form of factual burying and fantastical spiritual rebirth. Photography here stands in as a visceral medium and suggests an exchange between the immaterial and material existence of death, decay and rebirth through the eyes of a romantic artist and a fascination with decomposition and the last/first stages of existence. The sublime feeling of romanticism and grotesque intrigue gives perception of obsession and dreamlike states of mind, repeating and existing within our physical space through its birth from the darkroom. Liquid Emulsions, Chemigrams and Solarised photographic prints form the stages of birth, in between and final degradation of collapse. Liquid Emulsions give presence to the birth of liquid light, whilst Solarisation separates and slices in betweenness, visible when you move with the print and finally the collapse of Chemigrams made from dying mushrooms. https://www.originalmagazine.uk/flesh-purple-fungi-veins-by-alice-campos