Live Photographs Created By Manipulating Grass Growth

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Well, most of us never really pay any attention to the way grass grows. However, Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey are two British artists who have not only been mesmerized by grass and the way it grows, but have also discovered a creative way to incorporate it into their art. They have literally printed detailed photographs onto a living wall of grass by controlling the way grass grows. This living wall of grass develops in accordance with the amount of light it receives.

Live Photographs Created By Manipulating Grass Growth

First of all, these two artists covered a large canvas with water paste and rubbed germinated seeds all over it. After this, they covered the windows of their studio in order to turn it into a dark room, thereby ensuring that the only light that reaches the canvas is projected through a slide of a negative photograph. They then let photosynthesis run its course, and in a few weeks the grass-covered canvas grows into a living print of the photograph. The amount of light shining through different parts of the negative determines which parts of the canvas turn out a vibrant green, and which remain yellow and undeveloped, making the details of the image clearly visible from a distance.

Live Photographs Created By Manipulating Grass Growth

Ackroyd and Harvey have been manipulating the light-sensitive chlorophyll in the blades of grass for the past decade in order to create various shades of green and highlight the details of the projected negative image on the canvas.

Dan Harvey told Great Big Story,

“Where the strongest light hits the grass it produces more of the chlorophyll, more of the green pigment, where there’s less light, it’s less green, and where there’s no light, it grows, but it’s etiolated and yellow. So you get the equivalent of a black and white photograph, but in tones of green and yellow.”

Live Photographs Created By Manipulating Grass Growth

These living works of art are capable of surviving for an indefinite period if they are watered regularly and kept in low light conditions. However, they fade from their crisp and green hues over time exactly like vintage photographs.