Ronald Cowie Statement
My work is about simple truths. I view the world from a place of hope, faith, and love.
Leaving Babylon was born from the exhaustion of an anxious life and the successful casting out of murmuring demons. I began a journey from the devil’s territory to a place of acknowledgement and acceptance. The first step began with practicing a life of faith was better than one based on the ego and intellect.
I made the images in Leaving Babylon to understand the question of how to live with faith and fear. Leaving Babylon is the visual record of a landscape that exists inside and among us. Leaving Babylon is about saying “yes” to darkness, “yes” to the unknown; “Yes” to love, “yes” to sorrow, and “yes” to that ultimate reality which is God’s kingdom.
I used a Deardorff 8x10 inch view camera with a variety of lenses and filters. I prefer the view camera because it allows tremendous control in perspective and focus. I can correct for any and all distortions or, in the case of this work, intentionally shift the field of view to create a more personal interpretation.
The lenses I used ranged from a Nikon 210mm (wide angle) to a 300mm Heliar (standard portrait lens). Each lens has its own “personality” and was used to create the desired mood. All focus manipulations were made “in-camera.”
My primary film was Efke 25; I also used Ilford FP-4. As a general rule, I wanted to use the slowest film possible to capture the greatest detail.
After the film was exposed and developed (in either Pyro PMK or XTOL), hi-resolution drum scans were made of each sheet of film. Creating a digital file of each image allows me to preserve the original film negative from the potential damage inherent in the platinum printing process. It also allows me to interpret the images as I “saw” them during the moment of exposure.
I did any and all manipulations of tone and contrast using Photoshop.
I then created a new negative suitable for the platinum printing process.
The platinum printing process involves creating an emulsion of platinum and palladium metal salts, mixed with a light sensitive iron-based solution. This solution is hand coated onto specially made paper. I then place the negative in direct contact with the paper and expose it using high intensity ultra violet light.
The printed image is then developed, cleared, and rinsed. At that point, the image is dried and inspected for proper exposure and image quality. If it “passes” inspection, the print is signed, dated and given an appropriate edition number.
Framing is done following strict archival procedures. I’ve consulted with museum curators and use materials that preserve the integrity of the finished print for future generations to enjoy.