Unmown: a series of iron-silver photographic prints •

When grass is allowed to grow as it wants, there is not a single right angle about it. Not a hint of uniform height, not a smidge of ordered formation. When grass is allowed to grow as it wants, it catches the wind and makes it visible in great liquid ripples, it sends up its seed stalks, formal or scrappy, without reserve, flinging its seed up or out before drying into an autumn rasp, falling and feeding the future.

A weed is a plant that grows where a human being does not want it to grow. It is a plant that defies control. A wild plant, a wanton plant, worthless plant. But that is only through familiar eyes, cultivated, upstanding, overseeing eyes. Unmown fields, plants independent of the idea “weed”, independent of human control, untrimmed, unedged, unmanaged, offer us a place to get lost, an unknown place. The tall untidy interlace beckons with a dangerous wink, offering a place that frees the mind to branch, to bloom, to seed, to fall and feed the future.

Unmow, it says. Let your foot be hindered, let your self be tangled. You, human being, are a leaf of the living earth; be a weed–endlessly mysterious, infinitely complex, constantly churning, wild, wanton, worthless, alive.


These prints are made using the Vandyke Brown process, in the family of iron-silver printing processes with the agyrotype, kallitype, and argentotype. The Vandyke gets its name from the deep brown pigment used by the famous Flemish painter Van Dyck. I use my own version of a Vandyke formula that was originally developed in 1885. After mixing the chemicals, I brush the emulsion onto watercolor paper and then place a large negative that I have specially crafted for this process directly onto the paper. These are then pressed tightly together under glass and exposed to UV light. After the exposure, I take the print down to my old farmhouse basement darkroom where I do the processing and washing. Due to the sensitivity of the chemicals to temperature, humidity, tap water composition, and method of coating onto the paper, every single print has its own unique character. The frames are made by hand from locally sourced maple and birch, and each print is mounted using archival materials and techniques.