I contacted Binh, asked questions, received a generous response, and a collaboration began. At my urging he began reading Walt Whitman (What is the grass?…the beautiful uncut hair of graves…) and, in turn, he instructed me in the art of chlorophyll printing. Later, when he came to Virginia for residencies at Hollins University and Washington & Lee University, we were able to work together in person.
My interest in Whitman and Binh’s in early photographic techniques converged at the U.S. Civil War, and we’ve driven together to battlefield sites in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, taking photographs, doing research, collecting leaves from “witness trees.” Along the way, we hatched the idea of a joint exhibition. He concentrated on daguerreotype and cyanotype photography and generously taught me his chlorophyll print process and assigned to me the project of making leafprints of Whitman portraits and the Civil War photos in the remarkable Liljenquist Family Collection at the Library of Congress.
Out of this work has emerged a joint word and image exhibition, War Memoranda: Photography, Walt Whitman, and Renewal, which appeared at the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia in 2015 and will travel next to the Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York in Fall 2016.”