Deep inside an idle iron mine, below the ancient hematite rock formations of northern Minnesota, a tiny elevator rattles to a halt on Level 27. Here among dozing bats and artificial lights, people wait. And wait. This is the unlikely site of the Cryogenic Dark Matter Search (CDMS II) lab, where scientists are looking for the tiny burst that will indicate evidence of dark matter, a product of the big bang believed to comprise 25% of the material in the universe. Observations of visible structures in space suggest that their own gravitational forces are not strong enough to account for their formation, suggesting some kind of missing mass is responsible. This missing mass is believed to be dark matter, so called because it does not emit or scatter light like ordinary matter.
The CDMS laboratory, run by the University of Minnesota at the old Soudan mine in northern Minnesota, is where scientists and their carefully-calibrated instruments wait for the tiny burst that will indicate a collision. Will they find it? Does it even exist? If dark matter were easily visible, what might it look like? Since they can only guess at its nature, I decided to make photographs of this site. I’m searching the shadows of the Soudan site, where gravel roads look like inscrutable particles and stains on the lab walls suggest the cosmos. DARK MATTER is my conceptual investigation of the visual phenomenon of shadows both inside the underground lab and in the surrounding woodland.
Keith Taylor, 53 years old.
I am a British-born photographer and printmaker now living in Minneapolis. My photographs have been widely exhibited across the US and the UK, I am a three-time recipient of Individual Artist fellowships from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and my photographs are held in many private and corporate collections. In 2011 I was awarded a Minnesota Center for Book Arts/Jerome Foundation mentorship. I write for photographic publications, and also speak on and teach the historical processes.
I started my career as a monochrome printer in London printing advertising, fashion and editorial images for photographers. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s I gained recognition as one of a handful of printers in London who specialized in printing exhibitions and portfolios, and for producing prints that won numerous awards from the Association of Photographers, the British Picture Editors’ Awards and the Ilford Photographic Awards.
During this time in London I became increasingly interested in historical, or alternative, photographic processes and now specialize in platinum-palladium and polymer-photogravure, as well as gelatin-silver prints for my personal work. Although I still work with medium format film, where possible I use contemporary techniques to simplify these traditional processes; substituting safer, more environmentally friendly chemicals for the more toxic originals and using digital techniques to make the large negatives and positives these processes require.
Weekend portfolio selected by W.M Hunt