Shadow Catcher: Explorations in Historical Photography

Moira McIver (Other)

Research output: Non-textual formBody of Work

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In this solo exhibition in the Sunburst Gallery, Ards Arts Centre, Newtownards,
(6th November-26th Nov 2016) McIver exhibits a body of wet plate collodion photography as prints, ambrotype and tin plate and also a video artwork entitled "Dark Box" (2016). Some of the work in the exhibition was produced during artist residencies at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, Annaghmakerrig (2014) funded through the James Kilfedder Award (2014) and Cló Ceardlann (2015) in Donegal and in 2016. Wet plate collodion is an historical process invented by Frederick Scott Archer in 1851 and involves the coating of glass and tin plates with light-sensitive silver nitrate suspended in collodion emulsion. This early photographic process is well recorded within American, British and Irish, social, military and photographic history. McIver responds to research into the history of this photographic process through this series of photographic and video artworks. Two of photographic prints, included in this exhibition, relate to Irish historical photographic prints by Lady Clementina Hawarden taken in the grounds of Dundrum House, Tipperary, (c.1858-1861). McIver is interested in what is visible in these images and what remains invisible within Hawarden’s photographic images and readings of these images in relation to Irish colonial history. The medicinal uses of collodion suspension as a surgical dressing to heal the wounds of soldiers in battle during the American Civil War are well documented. McIver’s research explores wet plate collodion's significance within photographic and corporeal history through a video work (Dark Box, 2016) in which she incorporates multiple wet plate images to make an animation based on flaws and accidents occurring during the exposure and development process. McIver's current research explores the physical qualities of the wet plate collodion process and how the material qualities of this process are significant within interpretations of particular Irish histories.
Original languageEnglish
Place of Publication Newtonards
PublisherArds Arts Centre
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Nov 2016


  • photography
  • Irish history
  • photographic history
  • corporeal
  • video art
  • American history
  • military history


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