Photosynthesis uses light to produce glucose while photography uses light to produce images. Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey bring the two processes together in their living grass portraits, using chlorophyll as pigment.
The British artists combine sculpture, photography, architecture and biology in their photosynthesis photographs, creating huge-scale portraits out of living foliage. By projecting a negative image onto a patch of grass under controlled light, Ackroyd & Harvey use grass's photosynthetic abilities to create living images.
In an e-mail to The Huffington Post, the artists explain they manipulate the light-sensitive chlorophyll in order to produce different shadows and shades of yellows and greens; in other words, each blade of grass produces chlorophyll molecules that emit a certain tone depending on the intensity of the light they receive. From up close the resulting grass patches look like your average park, while from far away they look like a tinted photo. Like real photographs, the grass images attempt to immortalize a moment but eventually fade into oblivion. Although the portraits last for months if not years, the works fade from their crisp and green state over time, like a vintage photograph. Tracey Warr explains in her blog "Passing Presence": "The image is on the length of the blade, rather than dispersed over the tips. As the grass grows, the image becomes sharper. The further away you stand from the image, the higher the resolution –- the more distinct it is."
See their work on view until September 30, 2012, at the Domaine de Chamarande.
Check out the works below:
Ackroyd & Harvey
Correction: A previous issue of this article stated the works were on view at National Estate of Chambord. We regret the error.