david o'mara

the point of disappearing...

From amongst my hoard of found negatives emerged another series. This is a collection of abstract images that have been produced through a process of deterioration; the original image captured by the camera has been erased as a result of its exposure to the environment, the delicate layers of emulsion that formed the photographic surface scratched and scoured away by pedestrian and motor traffic. Dirt and debris also attach themselves to the surface of the negative, further obscuring the original image, while shapes and colours blend into indecipherable washes of obscurity that refuse the illusion of depth. It is photography ‘degree zero’, no camera and no photographer, which results in no image; a volatile exchange between the negative and the street.


There is alchemy to the process of taking an object from the dirt and debris of the gutter and investing it with new significance. The photographic image is released from the strictures of its mnemonic function and enters into a direct dialogue with the ‘real’. The abstract image paradoxically becomes a bearer of meaning, a vehicle with which to articulate the perceived limitations of the photographic medium within an accelerated visual culture.

all images on this site are (c) David O'Mara