The Rim Fire Aftermath
The Rim Fire Aftermath is a large fine art photography project documenting the aftermath of the 2013 Rim Fire in the Stanislaus National Forest. This horrific fire, the third largest fire in California’s history, decimated 402 square miles of forested environment. What remains in the aftermath of this fire are stands of charcoal trees and scorched earth. There is an austere beauty to these images and at the same time it rips at our hearts in realizing the vast devastation that was created by the hand of a human.
I have returned to the area numerous times, photographing right after the fire as well as with winter snow blanketing the scorched forest. I am continuing to photograph the different areas that were burned.
The images are printed as platinum/palladium/gold split toned Kallitype prints. This printing technique dates back to the late 1800’s. It is a ferric oxylate/silver nitrate process, which is toned with platinum/palladium (which replaces the silver) and gold (which plates over the silver). This gives a warm, black tonality to the midtones and highlights, and a rich blue black in the deep shadows and blacks of the image. This type of alternative photographic process enhanced the desolate beauty in the images of the Rim Fire. In addition, many of these final images were further treated, by either burning the images or placing ash encrusted shoe prints onto the image surface. These additional treatments to the images serve to bring a powerful emotional connection to the visual scars of the landscape seen in the prints.
Keywords:Platinum, Palladium, Gold Kallitype, Rim Fire, Stanislaus National Forest
© Debra Small Photography