Ernesto Esquer is a photographic artist and printer from Tucson, Arizona. He actively works in all aspects of traditional darkroom photography and various alternative processes including instant film manipulations, lumen prints, and has recently delved into photo collage.
He received his BFA in Studio Art, Photography Emphasis from the University of Arizona and is currently the Laboratory Specialist of Photography at Pima Community College. He is represented by the Peter Fetterman Gallery in Santa Monica, California and the Ryan Gallery in Gilbert, Arizona.
The prints in this exhibit are all emulsion lifts using Polaroid film I-Type film or in some cases vintage Polaroid material. For the former, Ernesto used iPhone photos with the Polaroid Lab to make my images and with the latter used a DayLab with 35mm slides.
To create the prints, he starts by taking a freshly exposed Polaroid, cuts it open before it fully develops and dries, peels it apart carefully from the acetate, and then submerges the positive in boiling water. This releases the exceptionally delicate material from the negative. He can then manipulate it into any shape or form onto an array of substrates. These photos in particular he placed them on pieces of paper which have been pre-painted with iridescent and interference acrylic paint.
This arduous process saturates the colors even further and adds a layer of dimensionality to the pieces. In short, these prints are a combination of curiosity, patience, finesse, and one’s ability to let go of expectations and to be surprised by the results.
Demonstration of emulsion lift process, by Ernest Esquer (no sound)