stereograph landscape (testing boundaries on making day)

testing the framing of landscape: as a follow on from my stereo landscape i bought a stereoscope with the idea of exploring landscape as image through a compound eye – rather than a single fixed perspective associated with gender, which is something i have been exploring and challenging in my making and research. the composite, dual or stereo image also suggests something about actively looking and building an image through the eye and develops from some of my other works (incomplete landscape, made up landscape etc.). so as an image of 2 parts that suggest they must come together to make a whole, viewer (myself and/or audience) is active in its framing, understanding, engagement and act of looking at landscape image.


the stereograph image: one thing i noticed is the slight shift in framing that the pair of stereograph images have – one slightly more to the right than the other or one slightly more to the left of the other, which ever way you start to look at the pair of images. another aspect that i notice in the framing is the shape and dimensions of the frames – almost square in proportions and some having a rounded or arched top boundary. colours are mainly black and white positives which result from the technology of image making at the time. and of course the quality of the paper which are generally laminate cards, in whites yellowed to cream or in dark grey.


stereograph series:one of the ideas that has arisen out of my ‘boundaries task’ was to address the ‘open call’ tendency for one offs by developing a series of work although i guess all my one offs have been part of my ‘landscape and i’ series which continues to preoccupy me. i am not sure how to approach a series just yet – maybe exploratory series using the stereograph image format and then experimenting with screen printing images in either black and white positive bitmaps or maybe looking into taking a more contemporary approach through CMYK processes or? once i get started i know if series is relevant.

stereograph image making and audience: once i get started i will also decide where audience is in this making – will it become part of making with a specific audience in mind, will it find an audience after making, will it be exploratory making and not seek audience beyond tutors and peers, will audience be online – perhaps my online community of print artists? but as for starting, my first step will be exploratory image making on making day, for myself as audience to test this making, extending to audience of tutors and peers and their feedback.

making day preparation: prior to making day, i spent an evening preparing an image for screen printing. i went through lots of my landscape images and selected an image that echoed some of the stereograph cards i have which contain an avenue of trees. for my first exploratory making i felt i needed the image to echo these images so that i can learn something about them before i can make informed decisions about how to deviate and make relevant to the contemporary landscape and ideas that are floating around in my head about landscape and image. i have lots of ideas in possible ways to explore image; either using colour or the CMYK process of applying the black and white positive format to a contemporary perhaps urban landscape. i also like the idea of exploring the black and white negative or colour negative. with so many possibilities that is why i feel the need to first attempt a black and white positive like the original stereograph images.

pre-printing image exploration:

image cropped for stereograph image, full colour: positive and negative

stereograph image, black and white: positive and negative

bitmaps for CMYK process

making day: i started by exposing my cyan screen on a small screen as the emulsion on the larger screens was still wet. i kind of knew that the transparencies were over saturated but was happy enough with the cyan printed image. because it was so saturated i decided to go straight to black as an overlay because this layer was more defined in terms of colour. as i was working, i started to realise that the possibilities of different colour mixes using some, rather than all, of the CMYK colour range might lend itself to a series of images – something that i have been thinking about since my boundaries task. there could also be the potential to shift in frame on these different images and so act as stereo or compound series of frames on one position in the landscape.  

making day continues: this is as far as i have got for ‘official’ making day but will continue to work through the afternoon seeing as i am all set up.

making day continues ….

methodical approach to colour: following on from making day, where i went through the C and K of the CMYK screen printing process for a landscape image to test on my stereograph, i spent the rest of the day and weekend working through the MY of the CMYK process in a very methodical way. this is not something i usually do as i tend to go on instinct when it comes to colour. i guess if  am going to develop a series (perhaps 3  editions) i want to be fully informed as to what colours choose for this. there is an immediacy to the 2 colour processes and more depth to the 3 colour processes. i went through the full 4 CMYK colours also but for technical reasons i laid down the yellow last so this really does not give me a real impression of the image in full colour. suffice to say, i do not intend to use the full colour range as i have found before that all colours give all information and loose some of the dynamics of the print in terms of texture and colour.

following through in the MY of the CYMK process

C,M,Y,K colour separation prints

 2 colour variations of the CMYK process

3 colour variations of the CMYK process


full CMYK process although laid down in the order of CMKY so Y bitmap texture prominent.

testing the landscape image through the stereoscope: not to lose sight of the stereograph framing which is a dual image with a slight shift, i cut my first print from making day and tested it in the stereograph. the stereograph is a lot clearer than i expected as i only ever remember my grandparents one being impossible to find the correct distance to focus – i am sure there is a lot of replaced parts to this ‘antique’ stereoscope that i bought on ebay and perhaps my eye sight has deteriorated since my childhood attempts which now brings the image together easier. i love the way these 2 images come together as one through this device and i love how the glass lens magnifies the print’s bitmap texture. not exactly 3d though but perhaps the image has added depth as a dual image.

reflection and going forward: i am reminded of the way 2 eyes see something at a slight shift from each other – it has a technical term which i can’t remember but must check this out – as image and body being so relevant to my work on landscape. i think this process would lend itself to a series where 3 or 4 stereograph images play off each other in terms of different frames of the same landscape and in terms of colour variations of the CMYK process. i also think i would like to develop a contact sheet print edition – a grid of frames of the one landscape at various distances of near and far and various colour combinations – it might be quite technical to prepare on photoshop but maybe worth a try sometime in the future. of course even the name ‘contact’ in contact sheet says something to me about landscape, body and image – lots to think about which is always good… i think the term is ‘binocular stereopsis’.

further work and developing a series: 

developing a series: i just spent the last few days working on 3 editions of screen prints which uses a dual image to create a single image through a stereograph – like the way the human eye uses binocular stereopsis – a slight shift in the framing from left to right. this is all part of me questioning the single fixed perspective on the landscape – historically, a gendered (and class) perspective. it also responds to my research on lens as an embodied practice which is the focus of my written paper. while i am very happy with the quality of the colour, i think that these images have become increasingly dark and have lost some of their detail so i am thinking of adding a third white over layer of detail to the images – each has roughly 12 issues so i could try it on one of each to see if it works with the image and still have an edition of 11 or 10 if it doesn’t.

stereograph view one

stereograph view two

stereograph view three

finished prints

reflection on making & audience: started on making day, this development of a small series  of stereograph images began as exploratory making with no audience in mind (except myself/peers). this was something i felt i had to return to as i had been working towards an audience for the last while and was wondering if i needed more free exploratory making rather than working towards a finished piece. but, as i had just completed ‘view one’ of the stereograph series i felt the need to see if i could find an audience, because if i am making editions which i feel are working on some level, i feel i need to test it with an audience. first i posted about the series on ‘printmakers unite’ facebook group and got lots of positive feedback about developing a series, one suggesting a solo show (which this series and my video could be part of). i have been looking into other options for sending this work off to. there are a few ‘open calls’ for print exhibitions, mainly in the US which might require framed work. part of me does not want to rush this as the prints could be part of an installation with the stereograph apparatus. another part of me has a huge need to send the work off – whether fully formed or not and see what happens with an audience…. to be decided.

postscript: i submitted these stereograph screen prints to a print biennale in ireland and have been told i have been short-listed BUT they just want one of the images! that’s so funny, considering i thought this would be a great way to start developing and testing a series! they want it framed (which i might do without glass to avoid glare? not sure though) and include a hand held stereograph which i purchased recently with instructions to mount beside it for viewing the print. delighted to be short-listed all the same.

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