Above: body print, my chin on your shoulder from behind, 2023
“151” is a multi-faceted ongoing project by Katherine Hubbard that stems from making photographs with her mom at her home in Philadelphia, PA since 2021. Hubbard’s mom is currently experiencing serious memory loss which was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has become her responsibility to become a mother to her mom as she is increasingly less capable of doing things for herself. Hubbard has been experimenting with Vaseline as a photo emulsion resist while making experimental body contact prints in the darkroom.
Left: body print, bifold, 2023
Right: body print, rear pressure slip, 2023
This method builds upon the seminal body printing techniques developed by David Hammons. This process allows Hubbard to work directly with her body as a printing tool, creating photograms which correlate the final image through forms of touch and pressure. With the support of the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund, she brought her mom to Pittsburgh in January, 2023 to work together in the darkroom at CMU for one week making experimental Vaseline body prints together on large 30″x40″ silver gelatin darkroom paper.
Left: body print, hawk, mother, 2023
Right: body print, fold hold, 2023
Contact printing is an essential part of Hubbard’s practice— offering an immediacy and directness of the body, less focused on the identification of an individual person yet picking up on the movement, texture, and quality of the skin surface and all that it reveals. As unique experimental contact prints these images are one-to-one scale with the body and allow the proximity between her mother and herself to materialize intimacy through their physicality with the photographic paper and touch.
This project was made possible in part by the Frank-Ratchye Further Fund microgrant# 2023-007. Additional images can be found here.