Sophie Byerley’s work employs an expanded notion of photographic capture in order to create visual histories that are empathetic to their subjects – through uncertainty, layering processes, shifting color tones and textures. In these images, the moment of capture loses its centrality, giving way to layers of decisions concerning paper, sizing, individually chosen pigments, and the tonal range and contrast of analog printing processes.
She uses nineteenth century printing processes in order to create images that are always in flux. All of the decisive moments and straight photographs that pursue the purity of an instant in the course of our global photographic history deny that images continue to change once they are taken. Or that images contain information that may not be initially legible at the time of their capture. Even as modern imaging has trended towards crystallizing sharpness, and removing uncertainty, the image does not reveal its meanings until much later. The image at the time of exposure is incomplete — the recording of light as it is reflected off our world changes with it.