Lisa Tyson Ennis Biography
Lisa Tyson Ennis is a photographer who works with historical processes—large and medium format cameras, black and white film, handmade toners and oil paints, and most recently cyanotypes.
Ennis shoots what the eye can not see. Over time, with extended exposures, film collects changing light, and as the light passes across the landscape, the film gathers a composite of light as it travels with time.
In the field, Ennis works in extremely low light situations, searching for that ethereal but fleeting unison of light and landscape which appears simultaneously both representational and symbolic. In the darkroom, she hand prints each piece, painting with light to enhance and intensify the image collected on the film. It is this resulting quality of light that so interests her and which seems to suggest a certain timelessness.
Cyanotype is a beautiful nineteenth century photographic process whereby two benign iron salts become light sensitive when mixed together with water. Ennis combines these salts in her darkroom and gently brushes several coats onto heavy watercolor paper. Plant material is then laid onto the wet paper and taken outside to be exposed to the elements for many hours, sometimes days.
Together, the sun, wind, humidity, type of plant etc. create the image—a true record of time and place, as the landscape literally imprints itself on the paper. Petals, seeds ,or colorful extracts from the plants themselves often remain, embedded into the surface of the paper. For this reason Ennis does not fully process the prints with water, and so they remain mildly responsive to the environment in which they live.
The cyanotype prints are mounted and framed without glass, so the tactile surface of the print can be thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed. As with any photograph or print, direct sunlight on the work should be limited. No other care should need to be taken with the cyanotypes. If the bottom of the frame collects dust, simply wipe it with a soft cloth.