There is a magic and mystery in early photographic processes, and it is this fascination in the physical and experimental nature of photography's origins that inspires Ben Cauchi's work. Using exclusively 19thcentury wet-plate processes, Cauchi recalls a time where the invention of photography was seen equally as a scientific achievement and a mystical wonder. Creating scenes and situations in his studio, Cauchi works with 100-year-old wooden and brass cameras creating direct positive images on either glass or metal wet plates. Cauchi states that 'the mechanical side of photography has never really appealed to me anywhere near as much as the alchemical.'
If photography is about truth, Ben Cauchi's body of work disproves the notion that the camera never lies. Cauchi's photographs are rendered as objects, where absence is oftentimes the subject. Luminescent compositions of floating orbs are devoid of any narrative hidden within the mysterious images. Crumpled paper is portrayed on a glass negative, creating an abstracted composition out of the light and shadow of the creases being photographed. Each unique image the artist creates is more about the very fabric of the photograph itself rather than about the subject it initially sought to record. Cauchi's work echoes the magic found within the very origins of image making, using processes seemingly long-forgotten by modern advancement.