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Breaking Barriers (Ode To Dorothy Vaughan) Photograph

Chloe McCarrick

United Kingdom

Photography, Cyanotype on Cyanotype

Size: 33 W x 45.3 H x 2.2 D in

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About The Artwork

This artwork is inspired by American computer programmer and mathematician Dorothy Vaughan, who made significant contributions to the early U.S. space program. She was also the first Black American supervisor at NACA, a role she would continue to hold up to and beyond its merger with NASA, spending her entire career helping America stay ahead of the curve during the space race. Dorothy Vaughan became an expert FORTRAN programmer, and she also contributed to the Scout Launch Vehicle Program. Vaughan demonstrated outstanding talent, dedication, determination and sacrifice in advancing both computing activities and racial and gender equality, her actions and inspiration paved the way for NASA’s diverse workforce. A brilliant, dedicated, trailblazing pioneer, she represents what is possible with guts, determination and an indomitable spirit. Breaking Barriers (Ode To Dorothy Vaughan) was created by constructing a hand-cut collage using female photographic portraiture, a halo made from an illustration of mathematical apparatus and an astrolabe, photographs of the moon, overlays of FORTRAN computer punch cards and photographs of antique jewellery. After coating the handmade paper with light-sensitive chemistry, it is left to dry in a dark room. The large scale negative is then contact printed onto the paper by exposing to daylight (UV rays). The print is then processed by thoroughly washing in water to remove any unexposed solution. It can then be hung to dry, developing to full density Prussian blue after 24 hours before hand finishing with 6-carat white gold leaf and hand stitched natural pearls.

Details & Dimensions

Photography:Cyanotype on Cyanotype

Original:One-of-a-kind Artwork

Size:33 W x 45.3 H x 2.2 D in

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Delivery Time:Typically 5-7 business days for domestic shipments, 10-14 business days for international shipments.

I am London based artist and mixed-media printmaker. My work is a visual celebration of female trailblazers and (s)heroes past and present using alternative process photography to create an illuminating memorial honouring these fascinating and often overlooked figures. Shining a vital spotlight on these extraordinary characters, I aim to place women’s history firmly within current historical and cultural narratives by pushing the boundaries of how female photographic portraiture is viewed in the modern world. Through rule breaking and blending mediums, I use traditional photographic techniques with a contemporary, technological twist- A fusion of science, history and darkroom alchemy. By examining and developing innovative ways of reworking photographic, painted and illustrated images, I use the medium of hand-cut collage, mixed-media print techniques, and the monochromatic colour palette of Prussian blue cyanotypes to create otherworldly, surrealistic portraits suspended deep inside the paper’s surface. Seeking to record and interpret the perspectives and human experience of my subjects, I shape their stories to construct a layered whole. Using rigorous research rituals- (my methodology of collecting and interpreting data) I document their voices and their visions- their authority, knowledge, struggles and wisdom to create compelling narratives. A rich and resonant means to honour the lives and legacies of women, whose individual and collective accomplishments have enriched our lives. In rendering them visible, they serve as a totem of strength, these inspirational and empowering figures symbolise emerging hope. The portraits are chronicles of enquiry, evolving through the dialogue between myself as the artist, the subject and the viewer, with an aim to start conversations, break barriers and appeal to intellect and emotion.I hope to inform and inspire by creating narratives that capture the richness, complexity, and dimensionality of human experience in a social and cultural context. Each one leading toward a quest for new understandings and valuable insights, as well as instigating a societal sea change. “I hope my visual storytelling ignites imaginations and rouses a curiosity to delve deeper and discover more about the lives of these remarkable women. I want people to feel connected, connected to their stories and to notice the unnoticed.”

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