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Group Exhibition Curated by The Halide Project Features Contemporary artists utilizing Alternative Photographic Processes

PHILADELPHIA, PA — The Halide Project is honored to present Second Nature, featuring the handcrafted photographic work of contemporary artists Barbara J. Dombach, Scott McMahon in collaboration with Ahmed Salvador, and Amanda Tinker, grand prize winner of THP’s most recent annual juried show. Second Nature, the Halide Project’s third annual small group invitational exhibit is the first to be presented in THP’s new gallery space at 1627 N. 2nd Street in Philadelphia. The exhibit will be on display from April 6-May 12, 2018 with an Opening Reception and Artists Panel Talk on Saturday, April 7th from 5-9PM. A series of interactive and educational programming is offered in conjunction with the show, taking place at The Halide Project and other locations throughout the city.

The work will be on view Thursdays through Sundays from 12pm to 6pm, or by appointment, throughout the duration of the show. Educational events and activities offered include a visit to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Study Room, Thursday, April 19th from 2-4pm, to view a curated selection of traditional and alternative process photography from the collection; a hands-on pinhole photography workshop with Alexandra Orgera, on Worldwide Pinhole Photography Day, Sunday April 29th, from 12-4pm, where participants will learn how to create and operate their own pinhole camera; a one-night pop up pinhole photography show at Gravy Studio & Gallery the following Wednesday, May 2nd, from 6-8pm; and a photographer’s meet-up at Bartram’s Garden, Satuday, May 5th from 12-4pm. A full calendar of Second Nature programming detailing event and registration information can be found on The Halide Project’s website:


The artists featured in Second Nature employ alternative photographic processes that allow them to transform common, natural forms into otherworldly images, decontextualizing and reassembling their subject matter in new and provocative ways. The images on view touch upon themes of nostalgia, the sense of self, and our relationship with the natural world and exemplify the contemporary possibilities in historic photographic practices.

Drawing upon childhood experiences with a physical disability that left her unable to walk as a toddler, Barbara J. Dombach celebrates the mysteries revealed in specimens from the natural world in her Spiritus series. Responding intuitively to each specimen, Barbara makes her selections mindfully, recognizing that as in her youth, “each step I take in my life now must be a well-chosen one.” The imperfections and sense of spirit contained within each object she photographs mirror Barbara’s perception of herself, the sum of a lifetime of experiences. In creating tintype photograms, Barbara has chosen a process known for its serendipity and unrepeatability, as well as a method of image creation that allows for “subject depth and echo of abstractness.”

Scott McMahon and Ahmed Salvador challenge the very definition of photography (“drawing with light”) by utilizing techniques that push the boundaries of traditional photographic materials. Their experiments capturing the bioluminescence of fireflies on 4×5 color reversal film simultaneously acknowledge a nostalgia for both an individual and a collective past, pay homage to the camera-less images from photography’s early days, and create dioramas of “something invisible, except in memories.” In their Letters project, the two mail each other film and photographic paper—sometimes pre-exposing them or subjecting them to purposeful light leaks—allowing the light sensitive materials to be exposed along their journey. By pushing these factory-created objects to the “end of their silver tether,” Scott and Ahmed create images that represent a “vestige of the first 150 years of traditional photography’s innovating grasping, but not gasping, for relevance.”

In her Small Animals series, Amanda Tinker selects everyday objects from her family garden, children’s books, and vintage identification guides and photographs them behind large, glass panels. These carefully constructed ecosystems represent a fantasy world created solely for human observation, in which, “nature’s small beauties” inspire contemplation and inspiration. The ground glass in the back of Amanda’s 8×10 view camera serves as a projection screen for her interest in both nature and photographic history. In contrast to early landscape photography, where the grand was transformed into the diminutive, thus providing an intimate interaction for viewers, Small Animals “reflects a more ambivalent, if not estranged, experience of the natural world.”


The Halide Project was founded in Philadelphia in 2015 to foster the continued practice and appreciation of traditional and alternative-process photography. Its mission is to be a local and global resource for artists working in film and alternative processes, as well as to (re)introduce the public to the beauty and magic of pre-digital photographic techniques. THP is thrilled to now be operating in its new space in the South Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia where they are in the process of building a new community darkroom, slated to open to the public in fall 2018. Prospective future programming includes open darkroom hours for public use, continued workshops and exhibtions, mobile darkroom outreach, an artists residency program, and a city-wide photo festival in fall of 2020.


  • What: Second Nature, an exhibit featuring contemporary alternative process photography by Barbara J. Dombach, Scott McMahon in collaboration with Ahmed Salvador, and Amanda Tinker
  • Where: The Halide Project, 1627 N. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, 19122
  • When: On view April 6th – May 12th, 2018
  • Open Gallery hours: Thursdays – Sundays, 12 – 6 PM or by appointment


  • Friday April 6th, 5-9PM: Preview during First Friday
  • Saturday April 7th, 5-9PM: Opening Reception and Artists Panel Talk
  • Saturday, April 14th, 12-4PM: Wet Plate Collodion Demo (Postponed)
  • Thursday, April 19th, 2-4PM: Visit to the PMA Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Study Room
  • Sunday, April 29th, 12-4PM: Pinhole Camera Workshop
  • Wednesday, May 2nd, 6-8PM: Pop Up Pinhole Show at Gravy Studio
  • Saturday, May 5th, 12-4PM: Photographers meet-up at Bartram’s Garden