Michael Flomen makes photographs of things we do not see but know are there. Using light-sensitive materials, he engages with nature directly. Working at night in the countryside, the artist fixes the event on his films and papers without a camera, thus producing a document of his collaboration with the landscape. Summer Starfield is a unique photogram made with rainwater, silt, and grasses. This photograph is part of a series made in northern Vermont and the Laurentians. Working in a littoral zone, on a small body of water at night, photosensitive papers are exposed to the elements. The negative shadows ground the viewer, but the liquid and light undulations unseat the image, creating an unrecognizable void. Summer Starfield is a visual reminder of the magic we can experience under the night skies.
Michael Flomen was born in Montreal in 1952. He began making photographs in the late ’60s, and has been showing his work on several continents since 1972. He has been a darkroom printer and collaborator for many artists including for Jacques Henri Lartigue’s travelling exhibition in Canada and the United States in the mid ’70s. Flomen’s first book of “street photographs,” which followed the Cartier Bresson formalism of photographic picture making, was published in 1980, followed by Still Life Draped Stone in 1985. Flomen switched camera formats in the early ’90s, photographing snow and producing works under the title RISING. For the last fifteen years, this self-taught artist has used camera-less techniques to collaborate with nature; various forms of water, firefly light, wind, and other natural phenomena are the inspiration for his picture making. Michael Flomen’s work is in the collections of the George Eastman House, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Norton Museum of Fine Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, among others.