photograms: landscape without lens

setting up a darkroom: i managed to get some equipment together here in tipp so i can start developing images using analogue and non-lens photographic processes. as we are in highest level lockdown restictions, i am happy with anything at all. i just have the chemicals here for paper developing so that means working with pinhole images and photograms. i decided to start with photograms as i had been out walking earlier and collected some large grasses and branches. it has been so long (decades!) since i developed photograms that i forgot how exciting and immediate the process is. the excitiment comes from watching an image emerge in the trays – like magic. it also comes from the unpredictability of the process as there are a lot of stages in the process that can vary and go wrong – the duration of exposure to light, the duration of developing, stopping, fixing, rinsing time, the concentration of chemicals, possible contamination of chemcials with eachother and also the position of objects to the paper and light source. anyway here are some images of my session last night.

reflection: happy with the images, especially as a first attempt. i liked the contrast between light and shade and the half tones inbetween – the grasses worked well as a stencil. the distance between the object and the paper caused a shadow on the paper and created these half tones. i should try and place a sheet of glass or perspex on the objects also to test a sharper object outline. this would probably be better for the more delicate stems of branches that need a sharper profile. i think my light source also effected the image, as the lamp is a single flourescent tube which is linear rather than evenly diffused. i counted the exposure times in my head – very unscientifically and am surprised that my exposure and development times created a readable image. i should really get more precise especially if i want to develop a series. i am using what paper i have and this is high gloss – i would like to explore the images on matt paper also so must try and get some. i have a box of family slides up in the attic here, so i tried developing a few also. as i am working without an enlarger the images are 1:1 but i am surprised by what details developed in the slide images – maybe worth exploring images, objects, texts into some kind of narrative collage about connections of family to place. i have a feeling i should also scale up, but for my set up in the shed here, this scale is fine for exporing. this is definitely a process i will continue to explore. it may become a process for down here – an immediate response to this landscape and this time.

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