Over the past decade, photographer Robert Burley has traveled the world documenting the abandonment and destruction of film-based photography, namely, the factories where film was produced and the labs that developed it. Burley's atmospheric large-format photographs transport viewers to rarely seen sites where the alchemy of the photographic process was practiced over the last century-from the Polaroid plant in Waltham, Massachusetts to the Kodak-Pathé plant in Chalon-sur-Saône, France, the birthplace in 1827 of photography itself. As both fine art and documentary, The Disappearance of Darkness is an elegiac reflection on the resilience of traditional art forms in the digital era and a vital commemoration of a century-old industry that seems to have disappeared overnight.
About the author
As an artist working in photography, Robert Burley in his work often explores the transition between city and country. He’s completed a number of long-term projects that investigate the presence of nature in an urban setting, including; Viewing Olmsted: Photographs by Robert Burley, Lee Friedlander & Geoffrey James (MIT Press 1996) and An Enduring Wilderness: Toronto’s Natural Parklands (ECW Press 2017). His photographs have been widely exhibited and can be found in numerous museum collections around the globe. Robert lives in Toronto with his family, teaches at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts, and is represented by the Stephen Bulger Gallery.