Impressions is a series of composites made from photos of wilting flowers & used blotting paper, and small torn pieces of vintage newspaper. Within the set are two collages made from the newspapers, a girls annual from the 1950s and a 1984 National Geographic Traveller magazine.
The day before the UK’s lockdown in March 2020 I was given flowers for my birthday. As they dried out I photographed them, their decay seeming more significant than usual.
Having recently decided to recycle an old wooden flower press, I changed my mind when I saw the paper inside it. The newspaper and blotting paper which had preserved the flowers for more than forty years was more colourful than the flora. Designed to soak up excess moisture, the blotting paper was imprinted with stains and had deep creases. The newspaper had become discoloured around its edges caused by exposure to light.
Newsprint turns yellow after meeting air and sunlight because of the presence of lignin in the paper. Lignin binds cellulose fibres together, and when oxidised becomes more brittle.
This is a natural substance found in wood which is removed when finer paper is manufactured. However because of the need to manufacture cheap newspaper, wood pulp does not go through a chemical process to remove the lignin.
The finished work is characterised by its yellow tones.
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