contact: landscape as image

physical contact: there are many ideas that i want to develop further from my ‘landscape and lens’ residency. i have been sitting at my desk for the last few days writing my paper on the lens as an embodied practice so was looking forward to getting back to some physical image making. as well as lens, i have been thinking about the idea of image as a point of contact with landscape. so now that my written work is completed, my contact series seemed like a place to start and work through some of the ideas i touched on during my residency.

preparing for printing: i was looking forward to getting back to the messy job of screen-printing after all this computer work but of course my preparation for screen-printing the images requires photoshop screen time. i have been trying to generate a contact sheet in photoshop without the numbered frames but as it doesn’t seem possible i have had to create a contact sheet by inserting resized images into a master canvas. i have a few reasons for not wanting the frames numbered although i always like to see them on contact sheets – first, they will probably cause problems in screen-printing as very small and likely to breakdown and print evenly across an edition. another reason is because the print is not a contact sheet like the ones made through contact with a developer so why pretend. but i think the real reason i will remove the numbers is because i want to focus on landscape as image  – a point of contact visually, haptically etc and i think the numbers might distract from that. so here are the contact sheets with unnumbered images – i think ‘unnumbered’ as a word is interesting as refers to something that is not there so exists on some level. when resizing the images into the master canvas i decided to stick to the 35mm format – that turns out to 36mm x 24mm and not 35mm as i always thought – even got my ruler out to measure some developed film i had in a box to check. i decided to start by preparing 2 contact sheets for print  – the tree contact sheet and the horizon from bishops wood. i decided to only print 2 transparencies for each because this is exploratory and i want to get a feel for the image first. i intend to extend the black and white images by using one other colour each – a tonal colour as opposed to the CMYK as this might suggest other places to go next rather than continue the CMYK process.

horizon contact sheetunnumbered contact sheet, bishops wood

contact sheet  trees unnamed.jpgunnumbered contact sheet, towards lake muskry

printing day 1: no major technical problems as i worked through a two colour print of this tree image. as usual, colour choices are infinite but went with a tonal green with black overlay. i kept the edition really small – only 5 for exploratory making but i did use fabriano paper as that’s the only way to assess how it prints especially if i develop it  further. once i had started printing i was thinking that this format of image using small  frames might work well as a multiple – a continuous strip of grid of the framed landscape. i also think i could scale up in terms of image size.

 printing process: contact – towards lake muskry


IMG_4678 cropped

finished print: contact – towards lake muskry

printing day 2: as with the trees, i wanted to use a tonal colour with black and went with a grey/blue because i think if i deviate i need to know what the natural tones would look like first. i have gotten so used to working through the CMYK colour process that it was a little strange to be back mixing colours. again, no major technical difficulties but i suppose with such a small edition (5) there is less likelihood of things breaking down.

printing process: contact – bishops wood


IMG_4690 cropped .jpg

finished print: contact – bishops wood

reflection: i think that there is potential to scale up in terms of a continuous series of frames – a sense of stopping to look and experience the landscape through the lens, like a way to capture and make contact with it through my lens. there is something about the still versus moving image at play too and of course the multiple gaze and compound framing of the landscape…. i’ll let this sit and germinate for a while before deciding my next making step and all the while with audience in mind.

further reflection: during a recent tutorial, KF suggested that the trees looked like bar codes – i suppose images are made up of pieces of information – digital or otherwise: ink and physical matter that also represents something else (sign, simulacra, simulation etc). which brings me back to landscape as experience and its translation into landscape as image through its framing. KF also suggested i think about time lapse and the notion of panorama which also links to landscape experience/image and my still and moving image processes. turns out i will be doing a stop/go animation cpd course over the summer which might suggest other things too. i really feel there are a million things i want to explore – it feels like i am on to something which lies underneath all my making … and i kinda know what that is.


2 thoughts on “contact: landscape as image

Add yours

  1. HI Elaine, you said you’re trying to make contact sheets without including the image data in the frame. I show my clients contact sheets \ image grids.I asked on a blog I use a lot and a programmer wrote me a script (windows10) so that I can literally drag a selection of images onto it and it makes a contact sheet in whatever grid I want (I normally do 5 x 3). Usually I produce at 4890 pix wide but that’s adjustable – is that something that would be useful?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nigel that sounds really convenient … in the mean time I realized I could just cut the image data out in photoshop when I open as a new image . thanks so much for the info and I’ll get back to you if this doesn’t work


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