Allmuth Lenz uses techniques that contain an unpredictable element in her lyrical photographic works. Her photographs with the Camera Obscura appear abstract and picturesque due to the blurred contours and the soft lighting effects. Especially with wind and storm from the moving ship.
Sometimes, images full of yearning arise from being on the move to the horizon. In another self-developed method, she puts analogue photographs into a hand-made lye. These works are based on the interplay of several levels: from the photographic motif, to the chemical changes and scratched signs in the surface.
Allmuth Lenz moves between photography and painting in her works. She looks for a combination of both, playing with the possibilities of painting with the camera in order to approach inner images of atmospheric landscapes. That’s how she found the pinhole camera, or camera obscura, with its blurring charm, as an intuitive and unusual way of working. The pinhole camera is the oldest form of photography. The picture is created solely by light coming through a small hole on a light-sensitive panel. The deliberate blurring of the photograph is because she works freehand, without a tripod, and uses very long exposure times. She is fascinated by the unpredictable element of this technique.
The main motive of her work is the level line that represents the horizon and thus refers to landscape. Through years of trying she has a feel for interesting subjects, but there still remains a lot of room for surprises. So, the developing of the films becomes very exciting. Fuzzy contours and lighting effects make the works as they are, which are very different from technically perfect, digital photography. In all works she has made the development process with the pinhole camera visible. We can see her way of working through the sharp edge which surrounds the photos, and the recognizable filmstrip.
In the series ‘Lavazza’, analogue photographs of the artist are processed in a very unusual way. The Lavazza coffee can is filled with water. The metal turns the water into lye. She puts the photo prints into the resulting mix, and leaves the process for one week to progress. Then the images are processed by scraping and dabbing, further editing the image until hardly anything is left of the original photo. The warm color mood – reminiscent of rust – and the multiple layers of photography, chemical modification and graphic scratching all resemble technical etching, which is typical of the series.
With Allmuth Lenz you can feel her joy of discovery and her patience as an abstract photographer.