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During three decades as a photographer, Grace Taylor, whose work is currently featured in a small retrospective at Glen Echo’s Photoworks Gallery, has moved restlessly between techniques.
In a 1999 series, Taylor photographed the people and places of rural Tibet in straightforward black-and-white prints; she captured everything from delicate stacks of papers to a monk walking half in sunlight and half in shadow. In another series, Taylor photographed smooth, circular rocks against an inky black background, making them look like celestial orbs as viewed through a telescope (pictured).
But her more eccentric techniques prove to be most absorbing, especially her use of Van Dyke brown, an old photographic process that’s the coffee-hued variant of cyanotypes, the process used to make blueprints. The technique works best when rendering simple objects that you can imagine being photographed more than a
century ago, such as a still life featuring a pitcher and a bowl. Of these, her finest is an image of stacked metal pots, in which the reflective portions of the pots’ round surfaces are rendered as winningly abstract splotches.
Through Jan. 6 at Photoworks, Glen Echo Park, Bethesda, Md.