Art Exhibit by Elsa Madrigal at Whitney M. Young, Jr. Branch

Whitney M. Young, Jr. Branch hosts a Hispanic Heritage Month art exhibit featuring the work of local artist Elsa Madrigal.

Photographs from Madrigal's exhibit Chicago Double Exposed will be on display from September 15 through October 15.

Artist Statement

I have worked with both digital and film in my photography. One allows me to work fast and spontaneously. The latter allows me to slow down, take my time, process and render the moment into a print.

Simplicity of composition is my preferred technique to bring out the essence of my photography. I am both a digital and analog photographer. Unfortunately, I seldom print digital photographs. The analog process, however, is entirely different. I have been doing it for over three years. Although I’m past the learning curve that film and analog printing demand, I still learn something new every day. Starting with the process of shooting, where the number of exposures is limited and the instinct of slow, selective composition becomes second nature, to eventually culminating with a finished print that was selected and developed with a technique and vision in mind. A piece turns out well when I combine both: intention and trust. Intention is the vision I have for the final rendering of the print. Trust is an element required for analog, since the process tends to render plenty of surprises and frustrations. At a time when photographic development is moving toward spec wars and more pixel editing in front of a computer, I am moving in a different direction, backward in time, into a more loose, tactile and physical process. Ideally, I’d like to go further back in time and explore more alternative photographic processes. In this body of work, I employ several techniques, most of which include traditional darkroom film and print development. Some exposures have been double exposed (either by accident or on purpose), using a variety of film cameras such as Holga, Blackbird Fly, Mamiya medium format and 35mm film. From time to time, I also use cameras with a pinhole lens that provide an infinite depth of field, where all elements in the photograph are in focus. The printed medium may be on fiber paper or light-sensitive, liquid-emulsion coated paper. Special development techniques such as solarization, dodging or burning may be employed. Some prints are also further treated with selenium, bleached or color-toned. The dimensions of the majority of the prints are 8x10, which could be matted to larger-size frames.

This body of work encompasses the city of Chicago architecture, local art and landmarks in medium format photography. The city is quite unique in its beauty and diversity. These prints for me have been a form of meditation over the course of the last year trying to get through tough times. Getting out was the safest and most peaceful place for my mind. Immersing my mind in composition, technique and the art of ‘foreseeing’ the print before it was shot was a primal way for me of appreciating the here and the now.

Hispanic Heritage Month Art Exhibits

See the list of artists exhibiting at CPL during Hispanic Heritage Month.