by Clare Patrick
Working in the photographic darkroom is like a ritual, a meditative process that requires focus, care, and time. It is a collaboration of delicate synchronisation between the photographer, materials, machines, and chemistry. Tracey Derrick’s work holds the residue of ritual and time, understood through her commitment to darkroom processes and manifested in the themes of her photography. Water recurs throughout her images and across her years of working, as a subject, as a theme, as a surface and as a tool in the darkroom. Her considered use of water exemplified in three series: Basic Necessity, a series of portraits focused on her days spent with sex workers, images from Liquid Life which are drawn from projects throughout her career, and The Waters of Life series that is situated within the ritual of baptism amidst ocean waves. Water is a central component to each of these works, mediating the way figures interact with each other, with their surroundings and with Derrick as the photographer.