Bryony Bedggood is an artist residing and working from her home studio just outside of Christchurch, Aotearoa, New Zealand. A deep fascination with flora and fauna has always been present in her work, a passion cultivated through childhood foraging expeditions on beaches and hill walks with her Dad. Even now, pockets filled with found treasures and the car’s footwell littered with nature’s bounty, Bryony’s connection to the natural world persists.
Nature seamlessly weaves its way into the art she creates, particularly evident in the wild alchemy of cyanotype printing. This process compels her to relinquish control and embrace the unpredictable journey it unfolds. Despite the inherent unpredictability, Bryony introduces elements of structure, utilizing watercolor, graphite, ink details, or modifying the printing solution and light exposure. The remaining outcome is left to the natural chemistry of the plants involved.
Guided by the ebb and flow of the seasons, both in terms of light and available specimens, Bryony embraces the fragility of time. She revels in the notion that each piece is time-sensitive, allowing for unexpected directions and revealing endless possibilities within the original cyanotype she produces.
Artrepreneur: What considerations do you take into account when working with natural light versus artificial lighting setups? How does your choice of lighting affect the mood and atmosphere of your photographs?
Bryony Bedggood: Cyanotype printing can be done using both natural and artificial UV lamps, but I love the unpredictability of natural light — when that sun goes behind a cloud anything can happen!
I also love the fact that I’ll get very different results in the different seasons; watery Wintery light versus the strong Summer rays. The difference in light intensity can produce either a highly defined image or one that has a more ethereal quality. Interrupting, limiting or extending the amount of time in the sun can all manipulate the exposure of the print.
So, for now, I’ll keep to using the sun — working outside in the garden is definitely the best studio workspace!
ATP: How do you find inspiration and maintain creativity in a world saturated with images?
BB: There’s a lot of visual stimulation out there, and I’m definitely someone who likes to remove themselves from too much buzz.
As far as what is out there in the creative world, it’s very easy to get seduced into scrolling through online art spaces. There are so many creative folk out there doing amazing things, but I do try to limit the time I spend viewing otherwise it can overwhelm me, and I lose sight of my own thing.
I think it’s a fine line; looking at what others are doing to get inspired and energised versus getting lost and discouraged with your own trajectory.
It’s way too easy to feel like there’s no room for one more, but there so is.
We all have something different to share.
ATP: How does your work contribute to the ongoing dialogue and evolution of the medium of photography?
BB: Cyanotype was actually discovered way back in 1842 by Sir John Herschel and has been used as a way of developing prints since then.
I love that, even though it’s kind of a great-grandfather to modern day photography, cyanotype can be used to creative original images every bit as contemporary as the those created with a camera.
ATP: Can you share some insights into your post-processing workflow? How do you enhance your images to achieve the desired aesthetic?
BB: Cyanotype printing is quite an unstable medium so a print can come out looking very different to what I have imagined or planned.
Tone and transparency of the subject changes radically throughout the process so often I won’t know what I’ll be working with until it has fully developed.
Once I have the finished images I sometimes I like to leave the print raw, only adding cold wax to bring out the colours and to protect the print.
Other times I like to add ink work, watercolour graphite or even work the print in with other forms of printing and stitchwork to create a mixed-media piece.
ATP: How do you overcome creative blocks or find inspiration when you’re feeling stuck in your photography?
BB: I try to be flexible! Sometimes it can be as simple as going for a walk and foraging for botanical specimens or just observing plant texture and shape. Other times it can simply be something unexpected that helps to give my focus a nudge. This year I had a disappointing yield of prints after a very wet, sunless Winter, but it made me experiment more and has triggered ideas to use these pieces in some mixed-media works. Cyanotype printing is never stagnant, it’s unpredictable always can change just like that!
ATP: Are there any specific features or resources on artrepreneur.com that have been particularly valuable in advancing your artistic goals?
BB: I was drawn to Artrepreneur after seeing so many open calls being offered globally. It can be really hard for artists to get their work seen, especially if you’re fresh to the art world and self-taught! The articles that are posted to keep artists informed are also a great feature. With the advice that is on hand from a very knowledgeable team, I’m very much looking forward to leaping into more artistic challenges!
To view more of Bryony’s work please visit her Artrepreneur profile.