Making Beautiful Photos … Without a Camera?

Justine Varga, the winner of the 2017 Olive Cotton award, has produced an extensive body of work using 5×4- and 10×8-inch negatives — but no physical camera. Her negatives are exposed and developed using the traditional photographic process.

The result? Pure wonder.

In some negatives, she makes artistic use of scribbles.

In others, she turns her grandmother’s saliva into art.

Shaune Lakin, judge for the awards, describes his reaction to Varga’s art: “Maternal Line is a beautiful photograph. Its purple and green palette has colours and smoky metallic effects I had never seen in a photograph before. Over this coloured ground is a series of marks (ranging from light blue to dirty brown, from thick to thin) that seem at once deliberate and nonsensical. These marks had been made with a range of pens and saliva by the artist’s elderly Hungarian grandmother, in an intimate photographic exchange magically rendered in a large print.”

View Varga’s award-winning photos on The Guardian’s website.

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