About SIDE EFFECTS by Joachim Schmeisser


Walter Benjamin attested to its „magical value,“ Susan Sontag described it „as something magical,“ and for William Henry Fox Talbot it was a bit of „natural magic“ come true.
They were referring to the analog photographic process, which, of course, has fascinated me from my discovery of it as well. Looking through a magnifying glass at a roll of developed reversal film there was the relieving assurance of having captured what you were after but also, now and then, the elation caused by something totally unexpected – an undesired exposure, contrast that was too high, motion blur, unwanted light reflections.
Those were images on an entirely different level that had nothing to do with technical prowess. They were images of a different kind altogether. Alexander von Humboldt spoke of the first daguerreotypes as „objects that paint themselves“ and of „light, forced by chemistry, to leave lasting traces“.

Some of these magical „traces“ kept catching my eye.
They appear at the beginning of a roll of film that is advanced manually after releasing the shutter several times before the first picture is even taken. These exposures are made at the exact transition to the light sensitive emulsion on the film. Usually overexposed or underexposed, they are pastel or blood-red colored blots of color that „seep out“ onto the black uncoated film surface and, with certain films and developing processes, lead to absolutely unique forms that are reminiscent of cosmic or microcosmic structures. Precursors to modern abstract art.
They are all one-of-a-kind „side effects“, so to speak, of the magical interplay of chemistry and light. They usually remain unnoticed or are cut off and discarded. More than 40 years ago I discovered these rather inconspicuous analog phenomena, experimented with them and collected them over the years until today. Since 2022 I’ve given them new life.
What remains is pure interpretation...

Joachim Schmeisser

Review by Marc Peschke, Art Historian and Curator



Click on the image to zoom
Kodachrome 25
SIDE EFFECTS by Joachim Schmeisser
37.5 x 50 cm
14.76 x 19.69 in.
Edition of 7
110 x 145 cm
43.31 x 57.09 in.
Edition of 2
140 x 185 cm
55.12 x 72.83 in.
Edition of 2

More from this series:



Cookie Notice

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By using the website you agree to our use of cookies.