Developed over three years of intensive experimentation in the studio, Iterations is Eaton’s most ambitious and technically complex body of work to date. It builds on a previous series in which Eaton constructed the colors in her final photographs through a laborious, analogue process, repositioning photography as a correlative of perception rather than of sight. In Iterations Eaton pushes this line of inquiry further, using a system entirely of her own creation—one that harnesses the additive color process in conjunction with the zone system—to test the limits of film’s potential.
Eaton makes each photograph by layering dozens of individual exposures onto a sheet of 4 x 5 film—a precise registration process that she completes in the dark, blindly, before building the final image. What appear in the photographs are nested arrangements of three-dimensional geometric objects that are painted in a range of tonal grays. Eaton methodically adds, removes, substitutes, and moves pieces in between each exposure. The vibrant colors in the final prints are made using a mathematical equation—developed by Eaton from her earlier experiments—that guides her use of RGB color filters to carefully build up the desired hues in-camera. Each photograph compresses a series of actions and interventions made over time (combining the studio and the darkroom) into a single image that cannot be replicated in physical space. The pictures appear seamless but are not fully abstract; close looking reveals blurred edges and lightly textured surfaces—real-world traces of their construction.