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Katie McCabe's captured photons

"A moment came in the history of the universe where the first star burst into life. The death of this great star was a gift to the universe. It gave us all the atoms and molecules we needed to form other stars. Time moves forwards as entropy increases and heat cools. Our source of time is our own Sun. However, the first sun set time in motion in a way never before seen by that hot ocean of density.

The first Egyptian god, Atum, set the waters of Nun into motion. Before that there was no time. I work in the darkroom where I hear only the swirling of my drum in the black water of my processing tank. I capture pieces of time filtered through the light of my enlarger, who is to me, my source of both light and time. A halogen glow akin to the first sun - Atum Re."

See more of Katie's work on instagram at: @_katieloumccabe_

Katie's website is at:

A/A: Your photos are very otherworldly. Is that intentional?

KM: I am never satisfied with a photograph if I'm pulling it out of the water and I think 'the photo looks how it looked in real life.' I am only satisfied when I look at the photo and think, ’The photo feels how it felt in real life’.

For example if I behold the river that I have laid beside and told my secrets to, the river that has seen me on my good days and my bad, the river that kindly whispers its wisdom and nourishment to me. An accurate photograph would not, in fact, accurately describe all of that. It would describe in a clinical fashion the exactness of the place.

When describing and capturing an emotional, spiritual and mystical plane, you cannot use preciseness. You must use colours and form as a painter would.

There is always a question of photography - is it to document what is or to create something surreal.

I would answer that my photography documents the story of my spirit very accurately. If my spirit exists in another world then my photographs are indeed otherworldly, but I believe my spirit exists in this world and therefore my photographs too are of this world, this emotional, soulful and delightful world.

A/A: Can you explain the photogram process used to create the flower image? KM: The subtlety of light is appreciated mutually by both the flower and the photographer. The word 'photograph' comes from the greek roots ‘phōtos’ meaning light and ‘graphé’ meaning to draw. To draw with light is ultimately the process of photogrammetry. You lay objects over light sensitive paper and catch their form on exposure. Everywhere the light touches burns black. Every piece of the light sensitive paper that is protected by the shadow of the flower leaves a white silhouette. Light creates dark and dark creates light. This is surely the most beautiful thing in all photography.

A/A: What role do you think abstraction plays in photography? KM: Abstraction in photography plays the same role as it plays in all the arts. It is to describe the indescribable. Though we have our language and symbols, there is so so much that is left out of the reach of words. Any monk or DMT wizard knows the truth of abstraction. Abstraction is the mineral realm, it is the dream realm, the biological realm, it is where anything is possible and can be created from the very origin parts of existence. There is a woman who sits outside of time watching all that passes in the universe (of course there is not, but this is the only language I have to offer you and is an example of the limitations we all must work with). Everything that is and ever was is all happening inside her cauldron.

I use my photography to explore her ingredients mixing in that cauldron, she stirs in, light, colour, time, friendship, death and sex. And I am inside it trying to catch it in order to show you what is happening. What I come back with on paper - is abstraction.

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