For over a decade, British artists Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey have been using grass as a living photographic medium, using pigment chlorophyll as a replacement for darkroom chemical processes. The results are as stunning as they are short-lived:
Exploiting the light-sensitivity of young growing grass, they imprint photographic images onto grass grown vertically, so that the image is on the length of the blade, rather than dispersed over the tips. As the grass grows, the image becomes sharper. The further away you stand from the image, the higher the resolution – the more distinct it is. But time is, of course, embedded in the fragility of these chlorophyll apparitions. We know that the image will fade, the grass will yellow and die. The gradual disappearance of the image from vision, memory, life, is implicit in what we are looking at.
— Tracey Warr
Yes, but how’s it really done? Here’s a recent behind-the-scenes video produced by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, where Ackroyd & Harvey recently completed a guest faculty residency: