About Photographic Alchemi and Mara

Leaping Hare Original Cyanotype Work in Progress

So you’re curious about Photographic Alchemi, Mara Louvain, and what is going on? That’s great, let’s see if I can answer a few questions.

Mara Louvain

Who is behind Photographic Alchemi?

Well, that would be me, Mara (artist, creator and dogsbody), my dog Pebbles (aka ‘Madame da Woof’ and expert listener to my crazy ideas), Salem the cat (aka ‘His Lordship’ and studio supervisor from his cushion by the radiator), and last but not least my husband Ian (master of moral support and packing boxes).

How did it all start?

As a child I simply adored the magic of photography, my greatest delight was to get into my father’s darkroom which was full of the most wonderful amazing things. This led to a fascination with photography and eventually to formally study for a Master of Arts Degree in Photography. I now work professionally with many forms of photography from the latest digital techniques all the way back to some of the earliest forms. I love them all but there is still a special place in my heart for darkroom work. If you check out my YouTube Channel you can hear and learn more about how a photographic darkroom is an experience and my love for it.

What’s all this Photographic Alchemi bit?

As you’ve probably guessed by now I might just have a weeny bit of an, ahem, obsession with photography. Especially old analogue techniques which have always felt like some form of sorcery where the magi or magician takes some paper, and chemicals, then uses skills (plus some specialist weird apparatus) to make images in a photographic darkroom. So I decided on the name Photographic Alchemi for this part of my art and photography practice.  

Where does this magic happen?

I’m based out of my own studio in the northeast of England on the beautiful Durham Heritage Coast. Fortunately for me, I only share my studio with Pebbles the dog and Salem the cat meaning I can play whatever music I like whilst working, (although I frequently lose my comfy chair).