Rachel Wolf is a professional photographer who specializes in camera-less photography, alternative / antique processes, and creates immersive environments through light-based installations.
Growing up in Alaska, the presence and absence of light has been profound in Rachel’s life and work. The aurora borealis gave her a direct experience of light as both transcendent and embodied. Since then, light has been Rachel’s muse, and her work is devoted to exploring and expressing it’s multivalent qualities in the field of photography and beyond.
Rachel Wolf’s images draw on a core principle of alchemy. The art of alchemy is the transmutation of matter, a process wherein something is changed from one state to another in order to achieve a higher or more valuable form. Rachel’s work is informed by this alchemical idea of transformation, which she achieves through color and chemical action. She explores how light is expressed through the use of different elements, leading to a symphonic play with color.
While the images are photographs, the principle method Rachel uses to create them is without a camera. This involves directly exposing photographic materials, paper and film, to light and chemicals. She works with these fundamental elements, which are the invisible tools of analogue photography, in order to produce new, tangible photographic subjects. The images that result from this transmutative process invite us to consider our notions of what a photograph is, must or can be. For Rachel, camera-less photography is a distillation of the essence of the photographic process. Thus, medium and object become one, an idea that challenges common perceptions about the nature and subject of photography.
Rachel’s photographic career spans over two decades, encompassing the commercial and fine art worlds. She loves to inspire others by sharing her passion for light and photography as a professor and speaker. She also believes in the power of art as a collaborative endeavour and its raising of community. She is a founding member of FO(u)RT Collective, a multi-disciplinary arts collective that creates/ curates exhibitions and events. Rachel has exhibited across the United States including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Seattle, Portland, and in Europe. Her work is held in both public and private collections. Rachel earned her BA from Hampshire College and her MFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art, and can be found playing in her darkroom.