The global award in photography and sustainability

Lisa Oppenheim

The presence of smoke indicates the existence of fire, even if it remains, as in these photographs, unseen. Smoke can be thought of as a metonym, standing in for and even obscuring a wider set of events and occurrences. Smoke obfuscates its source. Therefore my titles are often hyper specific. I use the full caption of the source image, whether the source is from the archives of The Guardian or Instagram, shedding a different kind of light on the meaning of the image. The titles often include two dates, the date the source photograph was taken and the date was “reprocessed” in my darkroom. Instead of using the light of an enlarger, the light of a match is used to expose a negative and also to solarize it. Fire lies outside the frame of the photograph, cropped out of sight, reemerging in the ignited match in the darkroom in which the image is made.

Lisa Oppenheim