“Ghost Ship” is a series of unique, large-scale cyanotype prints by Brian Buckley. Through the use of a 19th-century photographic process that pre-dates silver-based practices, the artist employs its naturally rich, blue tones to endeavor to express his thoughts on the beauty and mystery of the vast seas and his long-felt fascination with the power and danger of deep waters.
Incorporating aspects of Greek mythology into the project, the artist uses these stories to express his own personal experiences at sea. Loosely drawing from the narrative and imagery in The Odyssey—a text taught by Buckley’s father at City College in New York City—the artist’s prints reference ghost ships and sea monsters, sirens, and Sappho.
Brian Buckley sources his chemicals and mixes them by hand in small batches before applying them to watercolor paper. Often creating layers of multiple coats, the artist covers his sheets with light sensitive chemicals using a variety of tools from sponges to brushes and glass rods. Buckley plans specific types of applications appropriate for particular subjects, and his hand is evident in and integral to subtle variations in the final artworks. Employing more straightforward photogram techniques in concert with digitally enlarged negatives, each cyanotype is distinct and one-of-a-kind. Exposures range from a single hour up to three full days.