Kellogg Community College, photography

Sherry Bonner




Sherry Bonner
Art 295, Special Topics (Alternative Processes)
Digital Negatives used to make Cyanotype and Van Dyke prints
Mixed media combining Digital Inkjet print on canvas with Cyanotype prints toned in Eggplant Black

Cyanotype and Van Dyke prints sized 3″ x 4″ (2 images)
Mixed media installation 36″ diameter (1 image)

The cyanotype is done on vellum from a digital negative printed on Pictorico. Image is of the Rocky Mountains just east of Livingston, Montana.

The Van Dyke is done on watercolor paper from a digital negative printed on Pictorico. Image is of Pompeys Pillar, 25 miles east of Billings, Montana and contains the last physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

The mixed media installation is titled “The Modern Warpath” and is intended as a social statement on the current ecological battle taking place between the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and their supporters/allies vs. proponents and the corporations involved in the Dakota Access Pipeline project. The center image was shot in the heart of the Standing Rock Reservation in the South Dakota section. The surrounding cyanotype images were toned in Eggplant Black and shaped to resemble tears in recognition of the suffering of tribal nations at the hands of both government and corporations that started with the founding of our nation and continues today. They are also a visual documentation of the natural beauty and life giving aspects of nature that the Water Protectors are fighting to maintain for not only themselves, but future generations. The mandala is topped with a ‘tree of life’ symbol done with turquoise chips to symbolize the “Water is Life” slogan used by the Water Protectors. The bottom of the mandala is adorned with a glass bottle containing a small amount of grass and soil collected from the site of the Protector’s camp in Cannon Ball, ND.

My journey that led to this camp and my experiences there had a profound impact on me and reinforced my desire to use my art to highlight and inform viewers on matters of social importance that are close to my heart. Overall, this class on Alternative Processes has been my favorite thus far and gave me an incredible opportunity to combine digital photography with photo processes over a century old, and I look forward to continuing my experiments in future classes.

7 thoughts on “Sherry Bonner”

  1. All three pieces look amazing. The cyanotype is clear and full of details. The van dyke image is well composed. I am happy to see that you are using art to make a statement about environmental justice issues in our society.

    1. Thank you very much. There are several social and environmental issues that are close to my heart, and I try to give voice to them through my work. I have a deep love of landscape photography and on top of the consequences for humanity if we continue laying waste to our natural resources, it is also deeply painful to contemplate the loss of such natural beauty to greed and reckless behavior.

  2. I appreciate that you have found a subject that is so deeply personal to you. The texture seen on the eggplant died cyanotype is intoxicating, and the use of the dream-catcher pulls the theme together, and informs the viewer. I also appreciate how technically sound the images are because alternative processes can be tough to master.

    1. Thank you. I struggled with suitable papers and did a lot of experimenting before finding ones that worked for my aesthetic intent. The mandala is something I weighed carefully, because I wanted to balance the symbolism of unity by the coming together of so many tribes without causing offense. It’s a blend of Nez Perce and Sioux styles, and intended to make a pointed statement about the enmity of generations being put aside in defense of this world that gives us life.

  3. I love the cyanotype of the rocky mountains! Reminds me of this photographer Carlton Watkins who would photograph the american frontier as a way to romanticize nature. Beautiful print

  4. I really enjoy your second photo. The texture of the photo is amazing. I also enjoy the color you used on the photo. I like the dark shadows and the space of the plains in correlation to the mountains. Its blurry in the front and clear when it comes to the mountains. Great job.

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