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Carol Panaro-Smith | American, 1954 -

James Hajicek | American, 1939 -


Over the last four years we have been working collaboratively using the process known as photogenic drawing – one of photography's earliest and most beautiful. It is also one of the most simple and direct processes that defines the very core of photography without recourse to the normally thought of requisite equipment and materials.

Plants or other organic objects are exposed in contact with hand-coated light sensitive paper. This organic material withers under the intense heat and light of the Arizona sun as it completes its final act of participation in the creation of its own image.

As we continued to work with variations of William Henry Fox Talbot's basic chemical formulas, we discovered that altering the variables of the light sensitive solutions, the chemistry in the paper, the intensity and accompanying heat of the light, and the chemicals emerging from the organic material, a color palette and physical presence emerged in the final print creating an 'organic artifact' beyond the imagination of anything previously thought of as photographic.

Each unique print will continue to transform with minor color shifts and the development of surface patinas as it remains alive, in a sense, changing and responding to its environment. This organic nature of the print, as it continues a process of transmutation over time, is a major conceptual component of this work.

In trying to strip everything extraneous from the photographic process and get to the very magic at its source, we have found ourselves in an arena ruled by serendipity, elusive mysteries, fugitive images, and the ruling master of all – the ultimate impermanence of everything.

We believe that photography - born in part out of our collective desire for permanence, a final proof, perhaps, for our own existence - presents us with only fleeting images, momentary reflections, and finally, our own impermanence. The closer one tries to get to the sacred nature of photography's source, the more one is asked to accept that irony. This conceptual irony is, however, combined with the beauty, rarity, and luminance of newly completed works with colors, the nature of which we have yet to fully understand.


Currently an Art professor at Arizona State University, James Hajicek received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and School of Design in 1970 and a MFA from the University of New Mexico in 1978. He has received numerous grants and awards including the National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowship, the Lacoste School of Arts in France Photography Research Fellowship, and multiple grants for photographic research through Arizona State University in Tempe.

Carol Panaro-Smith studied Art Education at the State University College at Buffalo, New York then attended Arizona State University for graduate work in both Photography and Fibers. In 1998, she completed her MFA in Photography from Arizona State in Tempe. Carol has been an art and photography instructor since the late seventies, teaching at numerous institutions throughout Arizona, most recently at Arizona State University where she was a faculty associate for the School of Art. Carol has been the recipient of awards and grants such as the Surdna Arts Teachers Fellowship, the Kodak Photo Educator Award, and a fellowship from Columbia College Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts.

Their work can be found in various collections such as the Manfred Heiting Collection in Los Angeles, The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, The International Museum of Photography in Rochester, The Museum of Fine Arts in both Santa Fe and Houston, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art among others.