Dead Hiroshima Flowers, 2008 (Cyanotype)
A Bombed Bark, 2008 (Cyanotype)
(Not pictured)Bottle Deformed by the A Bomb, 2008 (Cyanotype)
Elin o’Hara Slavick completed an MA in Photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has had solo exhibitions in the USA and France and has exhibited in Hong Kong, Canada, Italy, the UK, Cuba and the Netherlands. Her writing is widely published and she is the author of Bomb After Bomb: A Violent Cartography (Charta, 2007). O’Hara Slavick is Distinguished Term Professor at the University of North Carolina.
Evoking the nineteenth century botanical photography of Anna Atkins, Elin O’Hara Slavick’s vibrant cyanotypes exude an immediate beauty. The deep blue of the paper and the gentle, ghostly apparitions have emerged through the historic technique of laying objects and natural forms onto paper impregnated with cyanide salts and exposing them to sunlight. This process of exposure, however, reveals a violent horror. O’Hara Slavick’s ‘specimens’ are objects borrowed from the vaults of the Peace Museum in Hiroshima; fragments and remnants of lives and places, ruptured by the American atomic bomb which was dropped on the city in 1945. The objects, already exposed to the effects of the atom bomb, are rendered as white silhouettes. Their presence alludes to the searing light released by the bomb and the haunting ‘shadows’ left by incinerated victims which the artist refers to as “negative shadows, erased things, imaged absences, atomic ghosts.”