Thursday, June 5, 2008

In the Darkroom...

I’ve been creating photograms lately. I’ll attempt to explain as best I can what photograms are for those who don’t know & may be interested. If a long-winded description about the process doesn’t appeal to you just scroll down to look at the pretty pictures ☺ Photograms are a form of photography in that they use sensitised photographic paper, a light source (lamp or sunlight) & conventional photographic developing chemicals. The difference between Photograms & Photographs is that no camera or film is used to create photograms. It’s camera-less photography! Images can be captured by placing objects (botanical specimens being most widely used) directly onto the sensitised photo paper, exposing them to light & then developing in the conventional manner. More abstract images can be produced without the need for objects, simply by experimenting with light sources/exposure times and painting with the developing chemicals directly onto the sensitised paper. This is followed with the remaining steps of the print-developing process. It’s a little like painting with invisible ink as the final image isn’t revealed until the paper is developed, therefore the final result always has some element of surprise. Photograms can be fun to make because they’re part mad scientist, part child-like messing about, and part attempting to find ways to get more precise control of the process of layering photogram images & chemical painting. The first documented photograms were by Henry Fox Talbot dating back to the 1830s and are hailed as the invention and foundation of photography. Many artists and photographers have experimented with photograms over the years. Possibly the most famously made were by Dada/Surrealist artist Man Ray during the 1920s. Rayographs being the clever term coined by Man Ray for his photograms.

I’m planning on offering some of my photograms as ACEOs & listing them in my shop as soon as they're mounted & photographed. Photographing them is proving to be very tricky. Grrr! All of my photograms are black & white with some having nice soft sepia tones. Here are two that I’ve attached to black mountboard (cut to 2.5 x 3.5 inches as per ACEO size) & I’ve trimmed the photograms slightly smaller so as to give them a slim black border once attached to the mountboard. The first photogram shown is one of my botanical ones & the second is one of my experimental abstract style ones.




I started experimenting with photograms a few years ago & really enjoy making them. However, what I don’t enjoy are the horrid headaches that I usually end up with caused by the fumes from the developing chemicals. Very annoying. Sigh...

16 comments:

Tizzalicious said...

That's pretty cool!

donat said...

these are fantistic harriet! the second one looks very sci-fi. never heard of photograms before so found the post really interesting. great stuff harriet & i'm looking forward to seeing more of your photograms!

re previous post i missed playing 'shadow shot sunday' because of the weather over the weekend. wasn't very shadow inducing. fingers crossed for this sunday & i'll load to flickr. still haven't started my blog. love your shadow#2 photo!

take care. and take panodol ;)

Rosebud Collection said...

They are beautiful..

High Desert Diva said...

Well these are flippin' awesome. Hadn't heard of this technique before...the chemical/headache reaction bites, though.

Victoria said...

Oh my gosh, these are gorgeous!
Hope there is something you can do to provide some better ventilation for yourself, as you definitely have something magical here!
Thanks for sharing!

RainbowMom said...

Wow! Those are truly inspirational! Amazing, amazing art! I love the leaf. Glad I was able to see your work. Beautiful.

Marie Louise said...

These are absolutely beautiful. I would love to see more. I know what you mean about the fumes. I used to spend hours in the dark room with my ex the photographer. A bit obsolete now in the age of all things digital unfortunately.

Karen from A`Musements said...

I LOVE that you are doing this!!! I want to see pictures, now! How fun (except for the lousy headaches... can you wear one of those oh-so-fashion-forward little paper painter's masks?) Dying to see what you have done with this... post some pics soon!
xoxo
Karen
p.s. Move Sophie up!!! ;-)

Sandra Ree said...

How amazing is this?! I adore black & white pictures, played around also with the sepia tones. Definitely consider me one of your customers when you list them in your shop Harriet. I'm already a fan. :)

M.KATE said...

Hey T, I've got to read this post 2 times to try to understand what you are writting...must be my old age hehehe, but really, no idea what is phtogram, and still fumbling over the entire process. However, i must say the end result is awesome. I'll pass on the fumes, been inhaling too much rabbit poop fumes nowadays.
I'm off to the central market, a place of art with the kiddies today..its their last weekend b4 school starts (thank god!! hehe)

Happy weekend and guess what, my fav baby rabbit is now called harriet and my children kept saying ..what a funny name cos no ones name harriet in Malaysia :) Will you send u a harriet pic soon, cos you are her/his godma now hahahahahaha

Sarah McBride said...

those are amazing. i LOVE them.

Lisa B. said...

Gosh Tracy, those are beautiful!! I've never heard of the art medium before...thanks for the education. It's very interesting.

K.C. said...

Very creative. I am not in the slightest way gifted in this area, so I am blown away by your pictures. Very niced! KC

Ali said...

Beautiful images - especially the leaf one - and so fun to experiment with and make! (I made some at college, years ago, loved it!)
... keep playing (but watch those fumes!!)

XUE said...

The photogram work looks amazing & that leaf is beautifully ghostly! You are so much more talented than you let on!

AlasMyDear said...

it's such a pity about the headaches, because those photos are freakin' awesome! so ethereal and surreal looking, yet they're of real images. cool indeed.