Statement of Intent

Climagram is a tool widely used in meteorology to represent seasonal variations of precipitation, temperature, and sunshine duration amongst other variables. My intent behind this project is to provide nature with a canvas to create its own climagrams; visual records of the ever-changing climatic conditions in Singapore.

By de-privileging modern day photographic apparatus, I have used cameraless and lensless techniques to explore a photographic style freed from its “traditional subservient role as a realistic mode of representation and allowed instead to become a searing index of its own operations, to become an art of the real” (Batchen 2016: 5). I believe both the physicality and uniqueness of the photographs this genre creates will represent the very ‘real’ impact changing climatic conditions are having on our planet.

Climagrams consists of photographs that are a direct trace of their referent. What is depicted in the images, was, and is, simultaneously. Most photographs made by use of a camera will typically be a copy of their referent; the image that is captured was there, and relies upon something having been there even if non-representational. As Barthes famously said, the photograph is the “that-has-been” (Barthes 1993: 77). However, with these camera-less photographs this changes; the images recorded are invisible to the eye but brought to light through the process of photographic materials and chemicals. The images shown did not exist as such, but through the magic of chemistry they have become a reality, “an emanation of [the] world, rather than it’s copy” (Batchen 2016: 47).

Concepts and theories surrounding the cameraless medium appear to have “often been subordinated or seen as marginal” (Barnes, 2018:8). Perhaps difficulty in assigning meaningful subject terms to nontraditional formats has denied its vast range of conceptual and physical abilities, explaining why cameraless photography has found difficulty in acceptance. My use of the definition climagram whilst adding to the plethora of cameraless nomenclature, is also a demonstration of it’s inherent breadth. Using crude apparatus and various light-sensitive surfaces, the unique and unpredictable nature of each image serves as a metaphor to describe how our planet, unlike a print from a photographic negative, is not something we can make another copy of. Such exposures are not only unpredictable, but also unstable in that they are permitted to continue changing. In this sense they become alive and evolving, subject to the transforming processes of nature, just as our world is.

I believe that opportunities were missed at the conception of photography that could have allowed it to be a genre recognised in its own right. As the work of cameraless photographers both past and present demonstrates, with traditional processes and materials we can challenge “human perspective, rationalised space, three-dimensional illusions, documentary truth and temporal fixity” (Batchen 2016: 47). This return to the fundamentals of photography provides a way for mysteries to be uncovered, not by accident but through discoveries which are unforeseen.


BARNES, Martin. 2018. Cameraless Photography. London: Thames & Hudson Ltd (In association with the Victoria and Albert Museum).

BARTHES, Roland. 1993. Camera Lucida: Reflections on photography. London: Vintage Classics.

BATCHEN, geoffrey. 2016. Emanations: The Art of the Cameraless Photograph. Germany: Prestel.

To visit the exhibition Climagrams, please click the link below.

Using Format