Ron M. Saunders: The Secret Life of Plants

Terminal 3

February 2013 - April 2013

Ron M. Saunders: The Secret Life of Plants

“I capture a moment of indescribable beauty and magic that exists within us.”
–Ron M. Saunders

Saunders creates photograms—photographs that are made without the use of a camera. Photograms are a nineteenth-century process that magically attaches shadows onto light-sensitive surfaces. The images are always ‘an original,’ given that they are made without a negative. Photograms, unlike images made with a camera, are not concerned with documentation. Experienced as fragments, traces, memories, or dreams, they captivate the imagination.San Francisco-based photographer Ron Saunders was born in the Jamaican neighborhood of Queens, New York. He moved to San Francisco in 1982 after earning his master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. Between the years of 1983 and 2001, Saunders studied photography with renowned photographers Ruth Bernhard, Cole Weston, Mark Citret, and Frank Espada.

Saunders layers natural and artificial elements, such as plants or rope, onto the surface of silver-based, gelatin-coated photographic paper. The paper is exposed to light from an enlarger, producing a silhouette image. This process normally means the final image is the size of the actual object. To achieve larger size images, he projects the plant material onto photographic paper, which gives the photogram its unusual scale.

The Secret Life of Plants focuses on the essence of life by exploring the hidden dimensions of plants and humanity’s connection to the natural environment. Saunders’ gelatin-silver print photograms have an immediacy and rawness that allow him to express the full range of his emotions and life experiences.

©2013 by San Francisco Airport Commission. All rights reserved