Celebrating Revolutionary Photography 150 Years On


 Ode to Anna, an exhibition of contemporary photography by Phrame, opens at Llantarnam Grange on 24 April 2021.

 Ode to Anna is a celebration of the legacy of Anna Atkins, not only highlighting the lasting impression she has made on the photographic world and its history but celebrates the important and multi-faceted presence of women and the work of women in the history of photography.

Artists in the Phrame Wales – Photographic Collective seek to champion active and emerging female photographers in south Wales, and do so through exhibitions and events. As part of Llantarnam Grange Art Centre’s commitment to supporting emerging artists, Ode to Anna is an apt celebration of the collective’s amalgamated talents. Anna Atkins was one of the earliest female photographers, championing the cyanotype (created by exposing the chemical solution to light with an object on top, creating a deep blue image with a white silhouette of the object's shape). In 1843, she bound the collection of the cyanotype impressions that she had created and produced the first ever Photo book, entitled “British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions”. On the 9th of June 1871, Anna Atkins passed away, making 2021 the 150th anniversary of her death.

Members of Phrame Wales - Photographic Collective, showcase work that has either been inspired by Atkins and draws attention to her innovation and the themes surrounding her images. Ode to Anna presents a variety of work from the use of alternative processes such as chemigrams and cyanotypes, to botanical examinations and work exploring women’s photographic and object history.

Ode to Anna features the work of Phrame Wales: Molly Caenwyn, Savanna Dumelow, Faye L-Griffiths, Kate Mercer, Sharon Magill, Jane Nesbitt, Tess Emily Seymour, Catherine Yemm, Patricia Ziad.

Louise Jones-Williams, Director of Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre said:

“Anna Atkins revolutionised the fields of botany and photography, so we are thrilled to be welcoming Phrame to Llantarnam Grange, who are spearheading the appreciation, celebration and advocacy of photographic artwork by women in Wales today.”

Kate Mercer, artist and member of Phrame, said in praise of Anna Atkins:

Ode To Anna is as much a tribute as contemplation of Anna Atkins and her work. Her cyanotypes have encouraged generations to study the world around them - not just photographically - evidenced by the diversity of responses shown in this exhibition. As Anna inspired us, Phrame Wales aims to inspire others to make work they are passionate about making and to share this with others. The world is full of wonder - let's celebrate it.”

Dr Celia Jackson, founding member of Phrame concurred:

“ “Projections… of objects that dream, and talk in their sleep.” Such was the lyrical description of Man Ray’s photograms by the Dadaist poet, Tristan Tzara, in 1931. It could well be applied to the luminous and intricately detailed studies of aquatic plant life published by Anna Atkins in 1843. She would be delighted to know that her legacy as a pioneer of photography lives on in the bold and innovative imagery created especially for Ode to Anna.”

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