Mariah Robertson

Mariah Robertson, 113

Unique color print on metallic paper 76 x 4998 cm

 USA 2012


“Mariah Robertson’s abstract images show traces of their making as large color prints. While this chemical and mechanical process is usually hidden from view in a finished photographic print, Robertson’s streaky, multi-cultured darkroom productions foreground photographic chemicals and processing technology. In one ongoing series, she uses entire rolls of photographic paper, each work taking the form of a single ‘photograph’ about 50 meters long that is displayed as a draped installation. The patterns and images on the paper in a work like 113 were produced without a camera in the darkroom with a combination of photographic negatives, the shadows of actual objects and areas of masking tape, the surface worked by hand with various mixtures of developer and fixer to produce a spectrum of alchemical effects. […] [A] work like 113 also evokes the romance of the darkroom: the smell of the chemicals, the unpredictability of the processes, the inevitable accidents caused by working in darkness and the skilled care involved in handling a long strip of paper without mangling it. At a moment when digital printing has separated the final photographic image more than ever from its means of production, Robertson’s works turn attention to the materiality and labor of chromogenic print-making.” (Soutter 2016: 39–40)


Mariah Robertson, born in 1975 in Berkeley, California; lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.


Lucy Soutter, “Expanded Photography: Persistence of the Photographic,” PhotoResearcher 26 (2016), pp. 36–43.

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