Jessica Eaton's Beautiful Photography Is a Little Hard To Explain

The Photo Blog
Nov. 5 2012 9:30 AM

Jessica Eaton's Beautiful Photography Is a Little Hard To Explain

Behold is Slate's brand-new photo blog. Like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @beholdphotos and on Tumblr. Find out more about what this space is all about here.

Jessica Eaton's polytopes at M+B gallery in los angeles.
Tri/Colour/Angles 07, 2012

Jessica Eaton/Courtesy of M+B.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, Jessica Eaton’s current work Polytopes cover a lot of territory with only 25.

On display at M+B in Los Angeles until Dec. 22, 2012, the press release for Polytopes states that Eaton “incorporates experimental analogue-based photographic techniques including color separation filtration, additive color theory, multiple exposures, motion blur, in-camera masking, cross polarization and lighting techniques.”

Advertisement

Sounds like a lot of work.

The truth is Eaton’s work is stunning and worth about 975 more words; they’re just somewhat difficult to get out. There are plenty of reviews and explanations of Eaton’s processes, but her techniques can end up seeming more complicated the more you investigate.

Jessica Eaton's polytopes at M+B gallery in los angeles.
cfaal 222, 2012

Jessica Eaton/Courtesy of M+B.

Jessica Eaton's polytopes at M+B gallery in los angeles.
cfaal 115, 2011

Jessica Eaton/Courtesy of M+B.

Eaton uses 4x5 large-format film, creates the work without the aid of Photoshop, and isn’t afraid to make mistakes. She’s a fine-art throwback to the days when you would drop off a roll of film and wait to see if any mysteries or happy accidents were discovered in the lab.

Eaton’s titles for her work are often literal, though it might take a bit of research to get the entire meaning of her techniques and references.

Jessica Eaton's polytopes at M+B gallery in los angeles.
Additive Colour Wheel in 12 parts: swatches mixed in camera via filtration of the primaries Red, Green, and Blue, Triangular Pyramid base paint 9% Grey, 2012

Jessica Eaton/Courtesy of M+B.

Jessica Eaton's polytopes at M+B gallery in los angeles.
cfaal 260, 2012

Jessica Eaton/Courtesy of M+B.

If you’ve ever listened to a Cocteau Twins record, you can relate to the mystery between the song titles and the music. Eaton's titles aren't as abstract, but like the Cocteau Twins, Eaton’s work has an ethereal quality that is better felt than described. Looking at her images allows your mind to wander, about not only the processes Eaton uses to create the images but also the simplistic beauty of the images; it’s easy to get lost in them.

Jessica Eaton's polytopes at M+B gallery in los angeles.
cfaal 74, 2010

Jessica Eaton/Courtesy of M+B.

Jessica Eaton's polytopes at M+B gallery in los angeles.
Interpolation Dramatization 9, 2010

Jessica Eaton/Courtesy of M+B.

Jessica Eaton's polytopes at M+B gallery in Los Angeles.
cfaal 78, 2010

Jessica Eaton/Courtesy of M+B.

More Photo Features You May Enjoy

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?

Big Problems With the Secret Service Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century

Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM This Gargantuan Wind Farm in Wyoming Would Be the Hoover Dam of the 21st Century To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 12:58 PM Why Can’t States Do More to Protect Patients From Surprise Medical Bills? It’s complicated.
  Life
Lexicon Valley
Oct. 2 2014 1:05 PM What's Wrong With "America's Ugliest Accent"
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 2 2014 12:37 PM St. Louis Study Confirms That IUDs Are the Key to Lowering Teen Pregnancy Rates
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Behold
Oct. 2 2014 1:09 PM Are You Enjoying a Picnic on a Dumpsite?
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 1:22 PM If Someone Secretly Controlled What You Say, Would You Notice? What cyranoid experiments reveal about how people act.  
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 2 2014 12:53 PM The Panic Virus How public health officials are keeping Americans calm about the Ebola threat.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?