Photography is entangled in the inner workings of Lindsey Ross’ entire being. As an eight-year-old, when her classmates were donning skeleton and princess costumes, Ross dressed up as a camera for Halloween. She wobbled down sidewalks in a giant black box with a round homemade lens on the front and called herself the “Lindslens.” Throughout her childhood, her father was constantly snapping pictures with his Nikon or Hasselblad. At 10, he gifted her a Nikon FM and she has not stopped taking photos and leaning into her artistic curiosity since.
“I wanted to enlarge a photo of my 5th grade class to a poster-sized print and my dad helped make it happen in our basement darkroom,” Ross recalls. “He had cool Annie Leibovitz books and records with amazing album art. He bought me subscriptions to Rolling Stone. He has always empowered and encouraged me in my craft and we have always been able to talk about photography and art.”
Ross attended Ft. Hayes School For The Arts in Columbus, Ohio, where she spent half the day studying composition, studio lighting, and silver gelatin printing, and the other half of the day daydreaming about when she could return to her love of pictures. In a self-described “attempt to be normal,” Ross shelved photography for four years but returned to it when she was 23. ” It was totally forced,” she says. “I eventually found myself back and more committed than ever. Photography is really how I work out problems or concepts, and it’s how I get those solutions out of my head and into the world.”
Her work is as aesthetic as it is varied. Typically, Ross’ photos are naive, kind of dark, seemingly haphazard, experimental, and referencing the sublime. But her work as a collodion photographer, or wet platting (think old timey western photos), is much different. Collodion photography takes time and thoughtfulness and a lot of planning. The camera is heavy and enormous, and capturing a single image can take all day. “I have to be much more rigid as a collodion photographer,” Ross describes. “The camera has limitations. I am thinking about 100 factors and how they could all influence my image. It’s much more technically demanding than other processes and there’s a stride or a flow that is more difficult to find in such a technical process. Surprises and spontaneity are more difficult.” However, because of this lengthy process, we the audience are gifted with deeply emotive, ethereal, contemplative, and emotionally gripping photos.