Photograms are the oldest type of photography – and you don’t even need a camera. By arranging objects on analogue photographic paper and exposing them to light, you obtain a permanent “after-image” of the items. It is this combination of analogue craftsmanship and the unique result that makes photograms most suitable for Irina Ruppert’s current work “Vegetable photograms”. It arose from her project “Erz. 7139” for which she portrayed seasonal farm workers in the region of Pfalz in Germany and worked with them in the fields for several months. When picking the vegetables, she had to remove the outer leaves of the lettuce, cabbage and herbs, since they were considered not pretty enough to be sold in supermarkets. Irina Ruppert collected over 100 of such leaves, using clamps to dry them in between newspaper pages.In the dark room she experimentle with basil, mangold, rhubarb, parsley, lettuce, pumpkin and cabbage leaves. The results are fascinating with regard to their content and from an aesthetic point of view. Besides the simple silhouette of a vegetable leaf, its fine structure with its veins and shades of colour also become visible. Appearing both natural and artificial at a time, the “Vegetable photograms” reflect our alienation from nature as well as they do homage to the beauty and uniqueness of it. Damian Zimmermann, 2020

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