Since the 1950s, we in the Western world have increasingly come to understand our most intimate desires and experiences, as the products of a so-called “chemical self.” We are able to explain moods, angers, and diseases both physiological and psychological through an imbalance of substances in the body.
Esther Leslie describes in her book Synthetic Worlds, how pharmacy and photography are closely linked and intertwined since their industrial birth.
In the work All You Can Feel, liquified pharmaceuticals, synthetically produced body-own substances and illegal drugs have been placed on the sensitive side of a photographic negative. After a few days or weeks, the result of a chemical interaction between the photo-emulsion and the substance became visible, which was finally enlarged in the darkroom. By integrating the pharmaceuticals into the photographic process, they have been used as an alternative exposure method. The substances "hack" the system of the negative by attacking its surface and getting deep into their structure and revealing themselves there as a kind of portrait. In All You Can Feel the possibilities of photography are explored at the frontiers of what can be visually portrayed – the interface between representation and reality.