Artists Annie Reynolds and Jessica Chappe bring together the architectural blueprint with a photographic one: the cyanotype. Blueprints are the designs used by architects, engineers, and urban planners to plan the built environment. The cyanotype process, a photographic technique using sunlight to develop prints in various blue hues, is known as the original method used to create architectural blueprints (and has been used to print botanical photograms).
Reynolds and Chappe created cyanotype portraits of Hudson area residents to express the impressionistic, relational, and incomprehensive nature of the city’s blueprint. Through a collection of elements–botanical and digital–found in the city, the artists reflect the overlapping individual, social, and environmental dimensions of this place.
Reynolds and Chappe met each Hudson resident through public encounters at Henry Hudson Riverfront Park and the Hudson Farmers Market, and by word of mouth. As part of the portrait process, residents were invited to design questions about the past, present, and future of Hudson (which was featured in the exhibition and can be read below*).
Requiring improvisation and adaptation, the cyanotype method destabilizes what may be considered fixed. The artists recognize that questions can reveal as much about a place as answers; “past,” “present” and “future” are not distinct categories, but layered aspects of a place’s existing blueprint; and that interpretations of any place will be incomplete. As such, blueprint is an incomplete collection, seeking not to represent a city or its residents, but the questions and contradictions that the two artists encounter as they continue to learn the area they call home.
Basilica Hudson's "Hudson As Muse" Artist in Residence Series supports the creation of site-specific work centered on Hudson’s unique geographic location and community. The series invites artists to explore the location itself as muse and to create work with the eclectic present and past of this river city as central inspiration, working in partnership with neighboring cultural institutions and organizations.
* Each Hudson-area resident was asked the following questions:
- What is one question you have about Hudson’s past?
- What is one question you have about Hudson’s future?
- What is one question you’d like to ask another Hudson area resident?
- What is one question you wish someone would ask you?
Annie Reynolds lives in Philmont, NY. She works in a variety of forms–from writing to interviewing to listening–to invite co-created narrative, particularly around themes of beauty, loss, and belonging; and explore new forms of attention and eros. Her work is deeply influenced by collaborative ethnographic methods, oral history ethics and praxis, and trust in the art of listening.
Annie currently works for Oral History Summer School, an oral history training program in Hudson, NY; and as a freelance storyteller. Her most recent piece for Times Union Hudson Valley covers the history of deep listening and sonic arts in the Hudson Valley; in 2021, she co-wrote a story covering various local perspectives on the mass migration to Hudson during the pandemic. She holds a BA in anthropology from Lewis & Clark College and has received certification in Sound Design and Podcast Production from UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.