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Published on March 22, 2021

Susan Gamble and Michael Wenyon

Floored in the Covid Era, 2020: Pills & Bottles

“There are three pills to be seen in each image. The glass photographic-emulsion coated plate has to rest on these pills for the duration of the exposure.  Three points of contact with three pills offers stability. Without stability there is no inteference pattern to be bounced of the objects and recorded, any movement would prevent this. The container is carefully rested on top of the plate. All of this is precise. We tap the plate gently in the dark, and listen to make sure it is stable with no vibration.

Looking at the image it is in-itself precise, the details are sharp, as is any dust on the floor, or grout between the tiles; all in 3-D. The shadow of the containers in the laser is sharp edged. Moving glints of light on the pills or floor are recorded. The process has a high resolution a steely quality like a daguerreotype. It is a precision process that developed out of a Cold War electrical engineering laboratory. It is not a soft-edged form of photography.

Typically, practitioners of the medium aspire to physics laboratory standards with a ‘vibration isolated table’ for ambitious and ‘clean’results; but here we have subverted the process. In the Covid Era lockdown we were forced to experiment with limited means.

We chose the bathroom for being the smallest, most boxlike and therefore stable place---where one might likely survive an earthquake.

But even we were surprised that these holograms functioned at all, and were completely taken aback (even after working with this medium for over 20 years) by the image of the containers––as seen from the rear.” Susan Gamble & Michael Wenyon, 2021.

Susan Gamble and Michael Wenyon are a duo trained in the contrasting disciplines of art (Gamble) and optics (Wenyon), which influences their choice of media as well as subjects. Since 1986 they have worked as artists alongside scientists in a variety of science laboratories; the resulting artwork has often come out of an artistic process that parallels their research. The artists live and work between the UK and the USA.