As a child in Poland, Dr Renata Buziak would collect plants from her family garden and the nearby forest to create all kinds of natural remedies.
It was part of life – knowing which plants were useful for healing.
It sparked a passion that would eventually lead her to the Queensland College of Art, working at a unique intersection between art and science.
Dr Buziak creates biochromes – images that form as plant matter and photographic materials decay together over time.
“Science and art were one discipline in the past, before people and industry separated them,” she said.
“There are many similarities in the way artists and scientists work. We experiment, we look at results, we keep developing processes. We have questions we want answers to.”
Dr Buziak began creating biochromes when she was studying a Bachelor of Photography.
“I experimented with different processes, but I specifically chose this one because nature has always been my inspiration.
“The reactions (between the organic matter and photographic material) take several weeks, allowing for micro-organic activities to develop.
“The photographic emulsion itself has layers of colour and gelatin, so it’s perfect for microbes to thrive on.”
The process is hard to predict, with a range of variables affecting the final image including the plants and materials themselves, as well as the season, sunlight and exposure to oxygen among other things.
“I love the serendipity of the process because I’m genuinely interested in what happens. I think that because I learnt photography in my childhood, while playing and experimenting in the darkroom, I’ve always been attracted to the surprise in the work. I still like experimenting.”
Dr Buziak’s PHD focused on local Australian healing plants significant to the Quandamooka Peoples of Minjerribah/North Stradbroke Island.
As part of National Science Week, she’ll give an insight into that research as well as a current collaboration with Professor Catherine Pickering, who developed the GroNative app.
Dr Buziak is also about to launch her first solo exhibition overseas exhibition in Amsterdam, before returning for a show closer to home, at Onespace Gallery in Brisbane.
Join Dr Renata Buziak and Professor Catherine Pickering on Friday August 11 in the Learning Space at Westfield Garden City.
2.30pm – Professor Catherine Pickering: The benefits of going local in your gardens – GroNative
3.30pm – Dr Renata Buziak: Medicinal plants in experimental photography