Where is the limit of what the camera can capture? Can the paranormal be pictured? So asks Alexander Gehring’s series Messages from the Darkroom, exploring photography’s ability to portray paranormal phenomena.
Crank your brain into gear; this one takes a wee bit of explaining. The project is based on photographs by the early 20th Century psychologist Dr Albert von Schrenck-Notzing, also known as the “Gespensterbaron” or the “Ghost Baron” (I promise you I haven’t made this up). He tried to use photographs to give solid evidence of spiritual phenomena, taking pictures of séances and mediums.
Gehring’s images draw a comparison between photographic technique and occult practices; his camera acts like the medium in a trance, enabling the viewer to see a certain side to reality, just as the medium allows the participant to experience another dimension. His dark room and mysterious blanketed statues, pervaded by a red light, are much more sinister than Whoopi Goldberg’s séance room in Ghost. Even his cloaked camera takes on a spooky appearance. Have a look; test out your spiritual sensibilities.