Rik Garrett is a photographer who uses alternative and outmoded techniques to infuse his images with symbolism and dark surrealism. We featured Symbiosis in 2013, a series wherein Garrett applied paint to images of coupling nude figures in order to make them resemble a single, intimate unit. Last year he published Earth Magic, a book of images that depict nude women stalking through shadowy forests, engaged in strange and arcane ceremonies. The highly detailed yet slightly deteriorated look was created through Garrett’s use of the wet plate collodion process, a photographic method introduced in the early 1850s.
According to the project statement, Earth Magic seeks to explore “historical and personal relationships between witchcraft, femininity, and nature” (Source). Channeling the legends and embedded superstitions about the feminine occult—the woman in tune with wild, decentralized, and hidden powers—Garrett’s images are haunting and empowering. He meshes bodies and woods together in unsettling contrasts of soft skin and jagged, dead trees. The black and white tones resemble moonlight, conveying the hours of witches and ritual. With their faces blurred and eyes shadowed, the women resemble beings crossing over from the other side—part human, part goddess, part ghost.