Plant-based photography workshop at Cove Park with Edd Carr


On 28 January 2023, Edd Carr, a visual artist based in Leeds and co-founder of The Sustainable Darkroom, conducted a plant-based photography workshop at Cove Park for children and young people aged 7 and over.  Edd’s practice examines our relationship to the ecological crisis and the nonhuman world which served as a starting point for group discussions around how we relate emotionally to climate change, the ecological crisis and our connection to the wider living world.

Over the course of two sessions, Edd led the participants in creating photographic animations and chemigrams from sustainable and natural materials. Chemigrams are typically made by painting a mixture of chemicals onto light sensitive paper; however, in this workshop, Edd shared a process which uses plant-based developers instead of harsh chemicals. The participants then took a walk outside to gather some plant material to use in their pieces. He then asked the participants to think about how the subject of climate change made them feel, and they talked a little bit about these feelings. What came up was a mixture of anger, frustration and fatigue about the subject. The participants then tried to replicate those feelings and emotions in their work. 

The chemigrams were made on photographic (light sensitive) paper. Marks were made using a variety of resists such as oil, lemon juice, coffee, jam, syrup and marmite. These substances all created different textures and tones on the paper. Once the resists were applied, participants could either spray on the developer or submerge their paper in a bath of the plant-based developer. They were then washed in a clean water bath and set out to dry.

This workshop was devised and developed by Edd Carr with support from Cove Park’s Curator of Engagement Emma Henderson and will form part of NAARCA’s pedagogy toolkit that will be published and publicly available from Spring 2024.

  • Chemigram

Chemigram images provided by Edd Carr; workshop images provided by Emma Henderson and with parental consent.

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