saltlines 1 saltlines 2
saltlines 3 saltlines 4

Salt lines 1-4     (photographic salt prints on watercolour paper)

Each image shows the white lines of salt which are formed on coastal rocks in the hours following high tide. As the rocks dry in the sun the salt in the seawater crystallizes out in varying patterns, often emphasizing natural contours or fissures in the rock which would otherwise remain hidden.

As a means of linking the photographic image to the natural process, the exhibited prints have been made by using the salt printing process.

Salt printing is one of the earliest photographic printing techniques and dates from 1833. This is the process by which photography pioneer William Henry Fox Talbot produced the first photographic images on paper. The process involves first soaking a sheet of plain paper in salt water before brush coating it with a silver nitrate sensitizer. When dry, the paper is exposed to intense light through a full size negative and the image slowly begins to form over a period of 10-15 minutes. The print is then made permanent by washing in a conventional photographic fixing solution.

all images © martin winfield 1990-2007