In 1962, Long Island housewife Joan Archibald upended her life by fleeing to the warm and creative climes of Southern California where she reinvented herself as a photographer and took the name “Kali” after a Hindu goddess.
Kali soon moved to Palm Springs and spent the following decades experimenting with photography—while becoming increasingly withdrawn and eccentric. It was only in 2019 when Susan Archibald discovered an astonishing trove of images hidden in her late mother's home that Kali became recognized as a significant innovator in alternative photography.
Kali developed approaches that used the classic tools of analog photography, but she manipulated her images in strikingly original ways suggestive of the psychedelic aesthetics of the time. Shooting on black-and-white film, she placed the prints in her swimming pool, physically agitating them as she applied dyes, paints, spray developer, and even organic material. After achieving the final mix of colors and textures, she left the prints to dry in the sun—creating truly one-of-a-kind images.